Tag Archives: teams

Do YOU Recognize YOUR Team?

mystery-man“Don’t you recognize me? I am Sal. Your team member?”

The unfortunate truth was that Mary Carol did not recognize Sal. She knew someone from the team would pick her up at the airport. In fact, as he introduced himself, she did remember that it would be Sal who picked her up. But she had no idea what Sal looked like. Fortunately Sal recognized Mary Carol.

As they were exiting the airport, Sal commented again, “Don’t you know who I am? My picture is on our team site.” Immediately Mary Carol realized her mistake. She could have very easily looked at the team website and looked at Sal’s picture. She then also would have remembered more about him. She tried to brush it off as a combination of jet lag, plus asking if he had cut his hair differently. But he knew better.

Mary Carol had not only missed an opportunity to strengthen a bond with a team member, she had weakened that bond. She could tell that Sal was disappointed. After all, he had taken the time to know who she was. Did she think that because she was the boss, she did not have to know her team? Did she think that because they worked across the globe that she did not have to get to know them?

Mary Carol did NOT think she was better than her team and she did NOT think that she did not need to know her team members. The truth is she just did not think. In her preparations for her trip, she did not take time to think about accessing the team website in order to get to know those she was visiting. She prepared reports and presentations. She forgot to prepare for the people.

If asked about the team website, Mary Carol would definitely have spoken favorably of it. Her thought was that the team website gave the team members a good way to connect and to share and to get to know one another. The way in which she expressed these thoughts offered up a clue to the attitude that would place her in her current awkward situation with Sal. Mary Carol did not think the team website was for her, she thought that it was for THEM. This revealed a mindset of us or me versus them. Mary Carol was not thinking of herself as part of the team. She had two challenges to work on as a leader, the first was to understand that in preparing to deliver reports and presentations, she also needed to understand and get to know her audience. The second was to remember that tools used by the team are for her use too. Especially tools that are aimed at helping build and strengthen team relationships.

For the rest of her time with Sal and his co-workers Mary Carol felt uncomfortable. She knew she had made a mistake, one that was easily avoidable and one that she would not make again.

And of course YOU know better too!

Do you praise your teams enough?

Guest post by Erika Flora

Years ago, I heard this great quote that has really stuck with me and become somewhat of a mantra. It is as follows:

There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.

General of the Army George C. Marshall

Staff Sgt. Conrad Begaye recognized for bravery under fire in Afghanistan - by US Army Africa via Flickr

Staff Sgt. Conrad Begaye recognized for bravery under fire in Afghanistan - by US Army Africa via Flickr

What a fabulous concept! Often, we are so worried about our own jobs and careers that we don?t take the time to think about those around us and make sure we help them get what they want. Ever since I started making a conscious effort to really ?let go? of who gets the credit, my work attitude has completely changed. In addition, the way my team and others around me view my work has completely changed. They realize that I am their champion, and they work hard to perform to the best of their abilities. Rather than spending time worrying about whether executive management sees all the great things I am doing, and position myself accordingly for that next great promotion, I focus on mentoring others and helping those around me get recognized for their hard work. I actually spend part of my work week thinking about how I can bring visibility and kudos to the efforts of my teams.

Too often, when employees are surveyed in their companies, many of them say that they feel their work is not valued or that no one has told them in the last six months that they appreciate them. How terrible! The best thing we can do for our coworkers, direct reports, colleagues, and project teams is to find creative ways to show them our thanks and make sure everyone in our company knows that they are making a valuable contribution. We all love to get praised for our hard work. Make sure you are taking the time to proactively do that for others.

Many companies have put great examples of this concept in place. When I worked with Pfizer, they implemented something called a Pfish program where you could send a Pfish card to a colleague for a variety of reasons (being a team player, going the extra mile, or even just making your day). Every week, the people that had received a Pfish card were entered into a raffle for a gift card. However, the very best thing about the Pfish card program was that the recipient?s boss was copied on the email that they received. It was a really fun program and one that made employees feel special and appreciated.

However, you don?t need a company program to show your appreciation for others. Here are some really easy things you can do to make a big difference in the lives of those around you ? Submit your project team for an internal company award, external ?Project of the Year?, or other award. There are lots of professional organizations that look for a variety of award submissions and, many times, are excited to get new submissions from companies or people they have not heard from before. Log onto LinkedIn and write unsolicited recommendations for people you have enjoyed working with. Send a short email to a coworker?s boss thanking them for going the extra mile on a difficult project. Start a ?Thanks a latte!? newsletter that thanks your team members by name and post it up at work, maybe even leave a small Starbucks gift card on their desk before they get into work. The more creative and silly, the better! You will be surprised by the results. It seems counter-intuitive, but we as project managers end up shining the brightest when our teams shine. What other examples have you seen or done to brighten the day for those you work with and help them get the kudos they richly deserve?

Erika Flora, PMP, ITIL Expert
[email protected]