More and more every day – in retail stores, airports and in call centers – I see managers engaging their teams in what I would describe as a team-huddle. Those circles of standing employees – huddled around their manager – getting direction for the day or the next shift. I believe these huddles can be one of the most productive 10 to 20 minutes of the day for a frontline manager.
How huddle can be beneficial:
• It gives you face-time with your team.
• It is a great way to get a “feel” for the morale of the team before they step in front of your customers.
• It is a great opportunity for YOU to impact their attitude for the day.
• It is a great opportunity to share information in person.
• You have the opportunity to talk about a new policy or remind them to read a memo or email that may impact their level of service given to the customer
• It is a great time to recognize success. Don’t forget to recognize those that are improving and not just the top performers.
• You can also recognize something personal about team members – birthdays, anniversaries, community involvement, etc.
While the benefits are many, these huddles can also have a negative impact on the team. Planning the content of the huddle is requirement in order to be successful each day. Be very careful that you use this time to offer positive feedback. This is not a time to deliver “bad” information. Here is a good plan for a successful huddle – I call it them the Impact I’s:
• Inform – Share with the group information that will empower them to make better decisions when talking to customers. Be sure to include the “why” as well as the “what.” When a customer is not happy with a new policy or process, it is very important that employees know why the company made the change.
• Involve – Ask for their feedback and seek their questions and counsel. Several times each month pass a magic wand (a stick or hat works also) and ask them, “If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?”
• Include – Use this time to allow the team to know each other – to build relationships. Ask a silly question and have everyone give an answer. Here are some suggestions – but be creative and you will be able to build a stronger relationship with your team (see previous Lead With Your Heart blog entries to understand why this is important). Suggested Questions: “If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?” “If you were planning a special Saturday for your family or friend here in the city, where would you go?” Note: You will learn some great ideas for the next company outing. “What would your perfect weekend look like?”
• Inspire – I believe we can motivate employees to change behavior temporarily but we can inspire employees to consistent greatness. Spend time preparing for this part of the meeting. Recommend a great book; share a quote from a famous person. Tell them a story about a happy customer. Tell them about a story that you have read in the latest leadership book that you are reading (you are doing this consistently, right?).
It takes time to build an effective team. Give your huddles more impact – Lead With Your Heart!
Copyright © 2007 Bob Furniss – All Rights Reserved.
For more information about how you can have Bob speak at one of your next meetings or workshops visit www.touchpointassociates.com.