This blog series covers three management consulting solutions I learned from coaches in my life. I apply these solutions to my work life in management consulting. This blog explores engagement, and how to inspire your team.
When we moved to Colorado from the East Coast eleven years ago, we won the coaching jackpot! My oldest son would be coached by a former Major League Soccer All-Star. He coached players at the highest levels of soccer in the U.S.! It was clear from day one that the coach loved the game and he loved this team.
Even when it was raining or snowing, he found fields that weren’t closed so he could train them. His practices were interactive, and he was always in the middle of training, doing the drills and scrimmaging with them. He never asked them to do anything that he hadn’t already done himself.
Through his engagement with the kids, he was able to build a real sense of trust and respect with the boys. Thus, could hold them to very high standards. He held them accountable to be on time, to give their best effort, to have a good attitude and to make sure they had all their equipment for each practice. You would be amazed at how many pre-teen kids forget basics such as cleats, shin guards or even water on a 90-degree day.
Flash forward five years to when I got a new job and got the worst piece of advice from a supervisor.
I walked into a new company and inherited a very experienced engineering team and the hiring manager told me that there was no need to learn the technical ins and outs of what the team did because I was just going to manage the team. I took that advice and began “managing” the team.
While I don’t look back at that role as a complete failure (we created data-driven goals, increased productivity and mitigated some long-standing issues causing friction within the team), it certainly wasn’t my finest hour. Because I was never fully invested in my team, members didn’t have a sense of trust or respect for me. This caused a myriad of problems between me and the team.
That experience taught me that engagement is a big requirement to lead and motivate others. Which is why I enjoy the management consulting team at Perficient. We have a big focus on engagement.
Some of the ways that I try to be engaged daily are easy; simple things like:
- Making eye contact
- Shutting down my laptop during one-on-one meetings
- Silencing my phone during meetings
We also adventure outside of the office and make a real effort to be in each other’s lives and community. We do lunches, coffees, happy hours, dinners, events and community service work. All with an eye toward staying engaged with one another, even though we are spread across the country at client sites during the week.
What are some new things that you can do to increase your engagement with your team?