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Manager’s Checkup: Develop positive relationships

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

To motivate employees and improve the team's performance, you need to establish trusting, positive relationships. What are you doing right, and where can you make progress? Take our quiz and find out:

1. Sometimes, I'm the last to know about problems with our team's work. I should: 

a. Be happy that they don't bother me.

b. Ask them to keep me informed.

c. Ask them to come to me so I can help them respond correctly.

2. An employee wants time off to attend an author's reading with her book club. I would:

a. Ask when she plans to make up the time.

b. Give her the day off, assuming her attendance at work isn't critical.

c. Learn more about the author and the book club.

3. We encounter a serious crisis with one of our big projects. My objective would be to:

a. Keep the team calm and focused on what to do next.

b. Find out what went wrong as quickly as possible.

c. Deal with the customers and managers who'll be unhappy.

4. Today, my team members did a solid but not extraordinary job. I should:

a. Save my praise for when they do something really spectacular.

b. Express my praise for the team's consistent efforts.

c. Figure out which employees were the most helpful and praise them.

5. I have a new employee but can never remember his name. I would:

a. Ask him to wear a name tag.

b. Spend more time with him until I'm sure I know his name.

c. Ask other team members to remind me what his name is.

What do your answers mean?

1. The best answer is B. This sce­nario suggests a trust issue. Do you tend to not react well to bad news? Or do you (as in C) want to inter­vene and solve problems rather than trust the team to do so?

2. A good strategy is C—learning more about employees' personal interests always makes for better relationships. If you just say OK (B), you miss out on that opportu­nity. You can figure out A later.

3. Your primary objective should be A. Both B and C suggest that this is a problem that only you can solve, when in reality the team needs to solve it together. Finding out "what went wrong" comes close to assigning blame.

4. B makes the most sense. Praise isn't something that should be reserved only for individual heroic efforts. Show the whole team you're paying attention and appre­ciate its efforts.

5. You should go for B. Both A (which is almost insulting) and C send the message that this is a problem for you. But it's a much bigger problem for him that you should be working to solve—not the other way around.

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