Joys and challenges of Managing people

Yesterday a whole bunch of PhoneSmart people… managers, supervisors, coaches, coordinators, directors, etc, all got together to talk about the joys and challenges of managing people.

We all manage people.

…whether we are trying to manage the person we are talking to on the phone, or the people who supervise us, or the people we supervise, or our kids’ teachers, or whoever, we are always practicing people management skills.

Here are a few things we talked about:

1.       Put yourself in the other person’s position. Think about where they are coming from and understand that they have frustrations too. Maybe you are being one of their frustrations right now. Maybe you would be frustrated too if you were in their place.

2.       Slow down. When dealing with people, feeling rushed or feeling like the other person is rushed just doesn’t help.

3.       Why do we do things the way we do them? Just because we have  a policy or a way of doing things, does not make it a great way to do things. Some things we do are great and well thought out and work well. Other things we do…. Not so much. So don’t be so hung up on the way things are. Keep looking for ways to make things better.

4.       Focus. If you are talking to someone or they are talking to you. Allow them to focus. Catch them when they can focus. And then focus on them.

5.       Take the time. Take an extra minute and have a real interaction. Give your time generously. Others will give their time for you in return.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time.

6.       Explain the “why”. If you want something or need something from others, explain why and how it will help. People don’t like so much to follow orders, but they sure do like to be part of a solution or part of a positive movement.

7.       Listen. This is basic sales practice that we should be using with everyone we deal with. Listen to what is being said and listen for the underlying meanings.

8.       Follow-up. Again basic sales stuff. Follow up and follow through with your conversations. (this post is one thing I am doing to follow-up on our talk)

9.       Stay involved. See it through. Whatever you are working on be it large or small, hang in there and work it through. Sometimes  only an extra ten minutes is required.

10.   Make a place for safe venting. We all get frustrated and need to vent a little. Do it in a safe place with people who are safe to vent to. Please don’t do it out in the open where everyone can see or hear. They may not understand. Venting is good… when done in a safe environment.

11.   Talk about the positive. I know we experience a lot of static on calls and sometimes with each other, But there are a lot of positive interactions too. Talk about them

12.   Don’t let negativity build around you. If someone near you is being negative, stop them by being concerned about them. Help them get to a safe place to vent, help them find a way to express whatever is frustrating them in a more productive way.

13.   Be the positive example of what you’d like others to be.

Maybe reading this sounds like we were talking about fluffy, mushy, touchy feely stuff. That is not so. The simple truth is that if you want the people around you to smile and sound friendly on the phone when they are talking to our clients’ customers, you need to smile and sound friendly in your interactions. Whether we are talking to callers from StorageMart Self Storage or for any other client, we should be able to manage ourselves as well as the callers.

If you want people to take the time to listen to you and to value you and what you say, then you need to take the time to listen to people and to  value what they say.

I am not saying this is always easy. I am not saying I am always the best at any of this. But I am saying that the kind of place where people manage each other like this is the kind of place I’d like to work .