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By Darryl Stewart

How a Great Manager Inspired and Motivated His Team

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

Front line managers make all the difference in employee engagement. Of that I am sure. In my presentations, workshops and writing I make this point over and over again. In my travels, I have interviewed front line managers in BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario for many different reasons. In these interviews, I often hear some great examples of specific actionable things that have been successful.

Here is one of them as told to me by a manager in Manitoba. He manages a home where his agency supports four individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“The house was in a funk. No one was taking the supported individuals anywhere; we were on cruise control… To get things moving I started a contest. Handi-transit tickets – whoever uses the most, I am buying you diner. Not I am taking you to diner; I am giving you the money to go out for dinner for two.”

IdeaHe was trying to deal with a funk that happens all the time in many different work environments: a pattern of behavior sets in, everyone is comfortable and things get stale and predictable. One approach to dealing with it would be to point out the situation to the staff and hope for improvement, but I like this approach better. It is non judgmental, no one was indirectly or directly criticized by putting this contest out there. It shows that the manager really cares about both the outcomes for supported individuals (getting them out of the house) and the staff (willing to put his own money out to create a prize and taking the time to think this whole thing up in the first place).

The result of this contest was a very large improvement in the number of outings AND a boost in morale for the staff. I am not sure how the awarding of the prize was handled in the end, but my suggestion would be that along with awarding the winner the prize, the manager should show the whole team the improvement in the numbers and congratulate them, from the heart, on the team success.

IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.