People management skills
It might be helpful to say that my people management skills came about through picking up a glowing meteorite. That would have been easier for sure.
Rather, any ability I may have developed is the result of many attempts to get it right, or better at least, with many failures along the way: a lot of experiments, testing hypotheses and checking ‘facts’.
Life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself, so I have devoured all I can find on ‘making people want to work’, although not everything in the books stands up to experimental verification!
Learning by experience
One experiment that failed was to reduce follow up meetings to check that the agreed actions had been taken. There was a simple system of setting bigger tasks, projects and the like. We would talk about the why and how, and the Manager or Specialist would give a date and any special resources they felt were needed. Once that agreed date was set I assumed the action would take place unless I was told otherwise. So why do we need a follow up meeting? Clearly a waste of time?
It didn’t work.
They just had to ambush me and tell me their action was completed. They wanted their positive strokes, their well dones, their thank yous.
The Manager’s job
As their Manager that was my job after all. So I included a query as to imminent action completions in my daily walks. It is better to do action updates on your feet after all.
Sometimes the obvious productivity improvements are just not people friendly and you need to find a different way.
You may, or may not, thank a vending machine yourself. But you should always thank your people.