This article first appeared December 5, 2012.
Here’s an old management trick that I learnt from an old boss I had back in the dark ages. It’s simple. You walk up to an employee – preferably someone that you don’t have a lot to do with on a daily basis – and you take them to lunch.
Now, the first thing to look at the reaction of the employee. Are they scared witless? That can be the natural reaction to talking to the boss, but what you are looking for is a sense they are excited about the opportunity of bending the ear of management for an hour or so.
After you get them to lunch, you can steer the conversation any way you want. Team morale is always good. Resourcing usually gets them fired up. New ideas for growth is typically pretty safe territory too.
But make sure you spend a bit of time talking about their personal life. Get to know them and their family a little. Find out about their interests and hobbies. Who knows, they might have some fabulous talent you will be able to use in your business.
Finally, a word of warning. If you’ve got team leaders or divisional managers, it might be a good idea to tell them what you are doing beforehand. Some people can be threatened by the idea of someone talking to their staff without them present.
Get it done – today!