Managers, Hug Your Team - Please!
Please note: This post has been written by an external author for the People In Aid website. As such, all views expressed are those of the author and not of People In Aid.
Here's a comment we've heard before, "my boss would rather go to the warehouse and count the stores than hold a staff meeting." This from a disillusioned aid worker somewhere in the depths of Africa. Sadly, wherever we travel, so many people seem to have similar stories to tell. So could this be one of the great malaises of the aid world; willing, enthusiastic aid workers being put off this most noble of careers by bosses with poor or non existent people skills?
Of course we need technical specialists, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to give them some development in the softer skills of heading a team or department?
Here’s one idea. Alessandra Pigni is a clinical psychologist. But unlike a lot of those people who seem to be set on “messing with your brain,” she’s practical and down-to-earth. Her view is that it is very often “the very small things” that make a difference. Like us, Alessandra doesn’t feel you need costly training courses to improve staff relations and morale. As she suggests, all it takes is “a hug or a kind word.” She has a lot more ideas too at www.mindfulnessforngos.org, but it’s the simple, easy-to-achieve things that we like.
Do you think we can get our nerdy field engineers and non-communicative logistics managers to just simply smile occasionally, give that encouraging hug, or touch on the shoulder?
OK, OK, we live in a world where sadly those hugs may not be the best way forward. But the kind word still rates as possibly the best, easiest and most cost-effective way to keep people in your team happy. Saying “well done” or even a simple “thank you” carries a lot more weight than most of us realise. Don’t you think we should make our supervisory staff and team leaders understand that this IS part of their job description and they will be judged on it when it comes to annual appraisal time?
We hear all the time the excuse that training costs money. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. It costs nothing to say thank you and smile while you’re saying it. Go on, give it a try. Start a trend in your organisation – hopefully everyone else will follow.
Saturday 20 October 2012
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