Many of the duties of a manager are routine: keeping up with team members’ activities, offering guidance, uncovering problems, providing help, and giving encouragement. An effective method of doing all these things is visiting regularly with each team member: a manager's daily rounds.
Mike makes his rounds first thing each morning. In addition to getting his team started on time, it ensures that he helps his people with what they need before he gets buried in his own work.
Most visits are just casual updates—an opportunity to keep up with progress.
Making the Rounds
As work begins, Mike walks through the team’s work area.
M: Morning, Paul. How’s it going?
P: Great. I finished the Jackson project yesterday.
M: Nice. Are you happy with it?
P: I think they’ll love it.
M: [smile] What’s next?
P: I’ve got to work on… and….
M: Anything you need?
P: Just more time.
And on to the next person.
M: How ya doing, Cindy?
C: Good now. The new sorter arrived yesterday.
M: Does it do what you hoped?
C: Yeah, it’s already saving me a lot of time.
M: Good. Everything else is OK?
C: As far as I know.
M: Hi, Ann. Catch me up.
But the daily visits are also a chance to make suggestions and provide guidance.
M: What’s new, Frank?
F: Well, I’m trying to find a source for.... Seems the supply has dried up.
M: Who’ve you checked with?
F: All the regulars plus Allied gave me a couple of leads.
M: There was a guy in Sao Paulo who could turn up things like that. Sam knows who he is.
F: Thanks! I’ll check with him right away.
M: Everything else OK?
F: That’s the only challenge at this point.
M: Good luck.
And to offer encouragement and show appreciation.
M: Lisa, I got a note from Steve Thomas yesterday. He raved about how you solved his accounting issue. I’ll make you a copy.
L: [smiling] Glad he’s happy now.
M: After I read it at our team meeting, I’m going to send it upstairs to management.
Occasionally, they reveal someone is stuck or struggling and needs help.
M: Will, how’s the new shipping software?
W: Terrible. I don’t know why we had to change—the old software was fine.
M: [smile] Do you want me to see if IT can make sense of it?
W: It would be nice if someone could.
M: I’ll give ‘em a call.
Sometimes a few questions can uncover developing difficulties before they snowball into major problems.
M: Ann, I haven’t seen an updated production schedule in a couple of days. Did I miss it?
A: No, I just haven’t been able to get to it.
M: We really depend on that schedule. What do you need to catch up?
A: Just time. I’m getting interrupted constantly with things people need right away.
M: Sounds like we need to figure out something for that. Can we get together in about an hour?
Following daily rounds are opportunities to check on progress and ensure the issue has been resolved.
M: Is our idea for dealing with interruptions working?
A: It’s better. I’ll give you the new production schedule in 20 minutes.
And occasionally a manager's visit...