November 19, 2007
News & Opinion: Ask 8cr! - Fire Them Up!
Today's challenge deals with managing coworkers when you're not their manager. Here's what one of our readers is dealing with:
"One of the problems I will be facing in the near future is with the different personalities on my team. I will soon be responsible for ensuring our product meets schedules and customer requirements on my team of 8 engineers. There are several different personalities that worry me including some who goof off most of the day and get little work done. I'm unsure of how to ensure they get their work done while still maintaining a jovial atmosphere." - Matt
As a team, everyone's got to chip in, do their part, and give their best. Oftentimes, management only sees the result of the project, but the team undergoes a process like Matt describes: slacking, goofing off, just enough to be annoying but still getting things done on deadline. To the slackers, this is life. To the 'Matts' of the world, this can be extremely frustrating as there's always the concern that the deadline will be missed, and the hammer will come down. Not fun. So, what does one do when they're not in a supervisor position and has to live through this situation project after project?
Carmine Gallo offers guidance in his book Fire Them Up! Even though 8cr's Kate Mytty featured this book in a separate post recently, I feel it's the perfect book for Matt's situation as well. For instance, the first sentence of the introduction is a great indicator that this book is exactly what Matt needs: "You have the power to inspire anyone, anywhere, anytime. You may not have a leadership title, but you exert influence over someone every day." The book continues on with discussions on getting yourself inspired (I think Matt's likely already "inspired"), and then how to get others on board through conversation, telling stories, inviting participation, getting others to care, creating optimism; and how to live by the principles outlined in the book. In communicating these principles, Gallo reveals a set of "simple secrets" that are concise, insightful points to put into place that will strengthen your vision and your team, whatever the project is. Gallo states, "Inspiring people is not that complicated. It's rather simple, really. But it does require that you examine how you communicate to the people you intend to motivate."
If Matt went in to work on Monday morning and told his coworkers, "Ok everyone, here's what we're going to do," he'd be met with resistance. However, by developing a story around each project, and getting each team member to participate and buy into it, everyone is then on the same page, with a clearer understanding of what needs to be done, and potentially more concerned with when and how it needs to be done. Fire Them Up! shows Matt, and each of us, how to accomplish this successfully.
About Aaron Schleicher
Aaron Schleicher has been the author services specialist at 800-CEO-READ since 2004. You can usually find him hidden under a baseball cap, feet kicked up on his desk, talking with authors, publishers, and businesses. Outside the office you can find him crafting candles, listening to records, and making music with friends and family.