The Sound of Inbox Silence

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    This Episode: Why inbox zero might help with motivation. Plus rewarding behaviors that help the team, and what soft skills are the most important.

    Team Talk (and action)

    Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been looking at how our ability to be a great team member is degrading and what to do about it. But if you run a team, what should you do differently to drive the right behaviors?

    There is no one right answer, as every manager has their own management style that works best for them, their team, and their company culture. But, whatever your management style, you need to model and encourage a set of consistent behaviors that clarifies that the team is the forefront of everything you do.

    What types of behaviors? Here are some examples we’ve explicitly seen work well.

    • Direct modelling by collaborating with other managers, and developing a more collaborative style with your own team.
    • Shifting rewards towards team results, and away from individual effort. For example, we’ve seen situations where team results make up 75% of a bonus and individual results 25%).
    • Reconsidering what you mean by “results”. For example, a team may do terrific work for a year, but not make an economic number because of a change in the organization’s priorities. If you adjust for the change and reward your team appropriately, you can strengthen team cohesion. If you don’t do this, you may fracture the team.
    • Creating rewards that employees can award to their colleagues for great collaborative behavior. These could be on-the-spot awards, but they will have extra impact if you announce the winners in a more public forum.
    • Setting concrete requirements around behaviors that help the team perform. For example, you might require that team members create all content that is not restricted on a shared content management system like Notion or SharePoint and that they share it openly.
    • Not rewarding behaviors that are counter to the team ethic. For example, you might have a team member who unexpectedly “goes dark” for days or weeks, only to pull some terrific work out of the hat for maximum dramatic impact. The work product might be deserving of a reward, but the method does not.
    • Providing an infrastructure that makes it really easy to collaborate synchronously and asynchronously. A lot of collaboration software looks very similar in terms of features, but in some collaborative work is a breeze, and in others it’s much harder.
    • Training your team in effective collaboration. As I’ve been discussing over the last few weeks, this muscle is degrading as organizations become more distributed. So, team members will need help.


    Soft Skills aren’t that Hard

    Last week I did my first LinkedIn Live Event! In it, I focused on the soft skills needed for the Future of Work, why adaptability and resilience are fundamental, and more important than they have ever been, and what methods work to go from theoretical knowledge to adaptive and resilient behaviors.

    Don’t worry if you missed it. The recording is right here!

    Wow, it’s quiet in here!

    Video Length: 3 mins, 8 seconds

    You may well have heard of “Inbox Zero”. You may know someone who insufferably boasts about achieving it daily, or you may even BE that insufferable person!

    Whether inbox zero is for you will be a personal matter, but it IS true that cleaning up your inbox can help you feel more in control of your work sometimes. Today, my animated twin looks at why this is, and discusses a simple technique even the most cluttered among us can use to make e-mail a bit more manageable.

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