5 Simple Steps to Working with People (and Vendors) – Part 2

Part 2 - Bringing out the Best in People

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been fortunate in my professional and philanthropic career to work with a variety team sizes, personalities, and vendors. So, whether you work with your own team, a vendor team or even a group of volunteers, I have learned there are five simple steps you can follow when working with people and vendors.

As a refresher, the first three steps include 1.) Tell them what their job is 2.) Tell them what their job is not and 3.) Give them tools to do their job. Here are the remaining two steps.

4.) Let them do their job. For some people, giving up control is difficult. I’ve known a handful of people who live by the mantra, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” However, that mantra doesn’t allow you to grow as a person and focus on new and important efforts. You can’t be “stuck in the weeds” if you’re required to make important business decisions. You need to learn when to train and mentor new people – then believe in them to complete everything you’ve assigned them.

5.) Tell them what they did right and what they can do to improve. I recommend that you have weekly meetings or bi-weekly with your team and vendors, if possible. Providing feedback in a manner that encourages the behavior you want to enhance is called coaching or mentoring.

Being an effective coach means you can blend both acknowledgement of positive behavior with information about gaps in performance. You should never use feedback as a weapon. Simply let the feedback inspire growth. People tend to remember the gap feedback more so I tend to spend more time with positive feedback than gap feedback. Additionally, providing too much gap feedback can overwhelm an employee or vendor, which could delay growth or change. They could start to feel the hill is insurmountable. When I do provide gap feedback, I keep it precise, detailed, and data-driven.

If you’d like someone to improve how they manage a meeting, you should start by encouraging pre-meeting preparation. Some feedback examples include:
• I noticed that you sent a well, thought-out agenda prior to the meeting so that everyone could come prepared. Great thinking – this will effectively prepare everyone for our meeting and encourage a good conversation.
• You came to the meeting with documents to share that supported the mission. By doing so, you demonstrated to the team that you were knowledgeable on the topic. Nice work!
• I liked the way you maintained control of the meeting by white-boarding everyone’s feedback and getting them to commit to deadline-based deliverables. Never leave a meeting without an agreed upon list of next steps, action items, and ownership.

What tips do you have for managing team members and vendors? Do you have a story about a manager or coach that helped you grow into the person you are today? I’d love to hear your feedback and stories. Comment on this blog post or share your story with us on Twitter @MelissaBeuc