Draft contingency plans as a training tool.
Enlist your staff to prepare for a few scenarios in the year ahead. Identify events or trends that can affect your business and instruct your team to explore steps your unit can take to stay ahead of fast-moving developments.
Even if the scenarios do not unfold in 2010, the exercise has value in itself. You’ll train people to spot cause-effect relationships and think of the consequences of today’s decisions on tomorrow’s outcomes.
Clarify two-way expectations with staffers.
In addition to setting performance expectations with each employee, ask, “What are your expectations for me?” Find out how your staffers want you to manage them.
By sharing your mutual expectations of each other (and perhaps writing them as a bulleted list), you create a more transparent basis for your working relationship that’s built on clear accountabilities. You’ll also collaborate more effectively and establish more trust.
Let employees brag about their triumphs.
Here’s a fun exercise: Ask each employee to write a press release boasting about a recent accomplishment at work. Collect the results, share them at the next staff meeting and celebrate the triumphs.
By getting people to promote their own successes, you give everyone a chance to feel important and call attention to their contribution. This exercise also encourages them to describe what makes their fine efforts or great results newsworthy.