Hey Leader! Wanna go for a cup of coffee with me? Yeah, Right Now?

I was on twitter this morning and saw an interesting link to a management article. The name of the article initially caught my attention so I thought why not…

 

Here is the original article if you care to read it for yourself

 The Coffee Cup As a Management Tool 

http://management.about.com/od/communication/a/CoffeeMgtTool05.htm

 

As I read it I agreed with the simplicity and wisdom it offered. The idea was that managers should leverage coffee breaks to spend time with key employees getting to know them. Great concept and one I practice regularly. In fact my local Starbucks a half mile from my plant regularly sees me there at least twice a week on a “coffee break”.

 

I know from experience that I am not in the majority here so I asked myself. How many managers are intentional about investing in their key team members? Do they have a process for this or is it random?

 

In my estimation not many.

 

The most important thing a manager can do is to invest in their relationships with team members. Yeah sure there are many other critical aspects to the job, not arguing that. What I believe is that by investing in relationships, a manager learns of potential problems before they erupt. They head off personnel issues before they happen. They  can work with and through their team to achieve objectives. After all the old saying goes: “people don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care” To influence someone you need to be in relationship with them.

 

So what does the article recommend that managers do? Get away from communication devices, the office etc, and listen to the person. They also offer some detail about the fact that it need not be coffee per se and to avoid alcohol. Pretty simple stuff, great advice. Not so easy to follow consistently in our wired world.

 

My Advice

 Learn to Listen. 

I wrote extensively about this in previous posts and on the mailing list leadership tip series. Sign up for the mailing list if you want to learn more.

 Get to Know them 

Distance may be handy if you have to fire someone but it is useless for leading them. People don’t have to like you but it sure makes leading them smoother. So find out what their children’s names are. What their favorite past time is etc. Do this not to be manipulative but to be an authentic leader who cares about their team.

 Laugh with them, Cry with them 

Maybe I am overstating the point here, but I don’t think so. People want to follow someone who cares about them as an unique, valuable person. They want to be challenged, they want to make a difference. Know who they are, share in their story, even let them know who you are.

 

Lead Well

 

Ron

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