IT’S THAT TIME of year again, the time when everything seems new and we all begin to dream of ways to plan (and accomplish) what we’ve let “slide” during the old year. For managers, New Year’s resolutions can be extremely valuable. However, many simply make broad plans to close more sales, get more done during the day or have better working relationships without considering how to accomplish those goals. Here are some basic skills you and your team can improve upon in 2014 that will have a profound, positive effect on everything else you do.
Improve Time Management Skills Busy professionals are notorious for never having enough time in our days. Oh, we have the best of intentions… we write in our appointment books, we set goals, we schedule this and hold meetings about that. But, still, we seem to run around playing catch up. Devote some time early on during 2014 to improving your time management skills and the time management skills of your team. Procrastination, unaccomplished goals, poor scheduling abilities, lack of effective delegation, and inadequate strategies for dealing with interruptions all place a greater burden on your day and keep you from doing what you really want and need to do. When you take time to manage time, you’ll be free in many different areas of your professional and personal life. It will be “time well spent.”
Develop Better Communication Skills Contrary to popular belief “talking” is not the same as “communicating.” Also contrary to popular belief is the ideal that everyone sends and receives communication in the same way. Realizing and investigating these two foundational principles can forever change the way you communicate with your employees and customers. In order to be the best you can be, you’ll want to have a thorough understanding of:
• The different behavioral styles and how they influence you and those around you.
• How to increase results through adaptability –meeting the needs of others.
• How to identify the behavioral style of each team member or customer and know how to use it to communicate effectively.
• Strategies for adapting to each customer and increasing your chances of closing the sale.
• Strategies for adapting to each employee and increasing performance.
By developing better communication skills, you’re equipped to speak with your team in such a way that each member will respond positively and will want to give their all. Take a look around. What do you see in your department? Are your top performers still producing like they did when they first arrived at your organization? Have they become stale… burned out? Maybe it’s time to motivate them toward success. Top performing professionals have several things in common. One of those characteristics is the need for freedom. Freedom to be themselves, freedom to make their own rules, freedom to set their own standards. Don’t constrict the abilities of your top performers by forcing them to fit a mold. Listen to them, find out what their ideas are, ask for their input when creating policies and procedures. Then begin to alter your department into an environment where motivation is an ongoing factor and success thrives. By allocating a little of your time, right now, to improving the basic skills on which your entire business strategy hinges, you and your team will be better equipped to move forward in accomplishing your goals. You’ll also find that your days are smoother, your frustrations are reduced and your productivity is on a steady increase.
Katherine Graham-Leviss is the founder and president of XBInsight, a state-of-the-art talent assessment company that gives executives the actionable information they need to make smart people-decisions. She is the author of The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide To Hiring, Developing and Retaining Top Sales Talent and High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People Will Also Be Your Most Difficult…and What You Can Do About It.