The managerial staff at your facility sets the tone for the work environment that affects the entire staff. Even the most gifted managers can fall into complacency, negativity, or frustration. Here are some ideas collected from various aquatics facilities for fostering managerial growth and success:
Reiterate values. Don’t assume your managers have the same workplace values as you. If you want managers to be focused on the values you think are most important, remind them regularly. Make your values a mantra for your managers.
Give them a voice. People who become managers have an understanding of how things work, and most likely have ideas about how things could be done differently. Provide a forum for managers to freely express their ideas. Not every idea has to be taken, but giving managers the opportunity to contribute ideas is a certain way to keep them engaged. If it seems like some managers are hesitant to contribute ideas, one tactic used during meetings could be the round-robin approach that encourages everyone to speak during a meeting.
Stay technologically relevant. Not every facility is going to have the resources to be completely up-to-date on technology, but it’s helpful to be as up-to-date as possible. For a generation who is accustomed to using technology wherever and whenever possible, it can make tasks that don’t use technology seem less important or unnecessarily time-consuming. Implementing tasks that seem out of date quickly lead to a lack of interest and motivation. If you’re unfamiliar with ways your systems could be improved with technology, as your staff for suggestions. Someone is likely to be eager to provide a technological upgrade.
Stay in the habit of learning from others. To help bridge generational gaps, and promote the value of everyone’s ideas, a facility director noted that she pairs off her staff by partnering someone of a younger generation with someone of an older generation. Depending on your facility, the gap in age among these pairs may be larger or smaller, but either way, this sort of pairing can foster mentorship and mutual respect among the generations. Managers and staff who better understand each other are more likely to work together effectively as a team.
Be consistent. Consistency is key in everything. In this situation, having consistent communication is very valuable. Without consistent communication it is impossible to get a sense of your facility’s pulse and morale. Having consistent meetings is an effective way to determine the mood and perspective of managers.
Circle the wagon. A facility director reported that she sends nightly emails to communicate with staff. These emails could be used to not only provide a positive outlook for what is to come at your facility, but could also be used to debrief about anything that may have occurred. If written in the right tone, emails can be an excellent way of communicating information, goals, and values.
Keep in fresh. Redundancy breeds boredom and complacency. Keep your trainings fresh and as innovative as possible. Something as simple as using alternating locations for seasonal training can help keep perspectives fresh. Allow your managers some autonomy in determining how to keep things interesting.
If you have any additional ideas for keeping managers motivated and positive, please share your comments. Additionally, an interesting article about keeping employees engaged can be found here.