Management Suggestions: Communicating

One of my organization’s biggest strengths and biggest challenges is that we have a main office and several satellite sites.  This week I got a chance to talk to some satellite coworkers I rarely see, and it was fantastic to get to reconnect.  I spoke with one coworker in particular, largely about communicating with supervisors.

What I Realized:

  • When people work really really hard, they need to know that the people above them do also.
  • The wheels that aren’t squeaking still need you.
  • It’s easy to assume the worst in lieu of facts.
  • Face time, with people and at places, makes people feel better.

Management Suggestions:

  • Face time.  Make time for it.
  • Make sure that at least some of your hard work is visible.
    • If you’re at work at 10pm, make sure to send some emails then.  Time stamps are subtle and say a lot.
    • Share your to-do lists, projects, and finished products.
    • Take a moment (not an hour) at check-in meetings to report on what you’ve been up to too.
    • Make at least some piddling tasks a priority.  Fix that water cooler, address the lighting in that parking lot, help with that crazy landlord.
  • The line between trusting an employee and ignoring an employee has a lot to do with the employee’s perception.
    • Send a quick thank-you to the people doing a great job.  Acknowledge that you’re being very hands-off, and that you’re still there when they do need anything.
    • Have regular meetings and switch up the location.
    • Publicly recognize accomplishments, and not just the momentous ones.

What are some other suggestions or lessons that come to mind?  How else can management communicate effectively?

Whine Whine Whine

Really, whining is not what I’m trying to do.  My purpose is to highlight what unequal access means for people through my own, “not exactly roughing it” experiences.

One of my frustrations has been that the internet is self-propagating.  To find networking answers, for example, I found that what I needed was an internet connection.  <ironic sigh>  What I mean to say is, the poor get poorer.  Ancient phenomenon, modern medium.

The other thing is, typical solutions (“Eh, just go to the library”) don’t work.  It’s almost never about just popping onto a computer for an hour to take care of a couple of things.  It’s much broader than that.  To stay current with what’s happening on the internet, you (or at least I) need to be on it.  Yes, part of staying current does include the latest drunk pictures my friends from high school posted on Facebook.  But part of it is reading blogs like Beth Kanter’s (and following the recommended links), or establishing myself in the nonprofit Twitterpack, or just poking around and seeing what I find.  Popping over to the library once a week doesn’t really cut it.

The nature of the beast is that without home internet access, you’re cut off from not only important “putter time,” but also from the best resources about the resource.

 

What the hey?

My home internet went down a few months ago.  My Internet provider says it’s a problem with my computer.  My computer service people say it’s a problem with my Internet provider.  I find myself stuck in the middle with no home internet access.

Now, cut to my professional life: I work for a nonprofit and am the de-facto tech guru of my group within the organization.  Much of what we expect of the people we work with is online, whether it’s learning English, filling out their timesheets, or applying to be part of our programs.  We always tell people that if they don’t have Internet at home, they should just go to the library and get access there, or just use the Internet at work, or just go to a coffee shop.  No problem. 

Well, problem.  Many problems.  And that is what and how I am challenging myself to blog.