Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting to Know You

I remember a VP once told me not to get too close to my team. This way, it would be easier to discipline those who were not achieving. Just yesterday, my son asked me if I ever had to fire anyone. I told him I do not believe in firing people. As he persisted, I told him that when people seek direction it is the leaders job to help them. If you give up on those who most desire your expertise, you are not a leader.

So the story goes...great leaders are willing to dispel formality in the interest of genuinely engaging their employees. Performance reviews may be a legal necessity, but no one ever gained a thing from discussing their inabilities. You can heap gift cards on any employee but it will not effect their ability to achieve. Days off are nice for some, but if you love your work, time off can actually be a motivational detractor. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to wake up every day and dive into something that they believe in. Employees want to be assured that their ideas matter and that their effort is making a difference. People want to work in a place where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. Money is less important to people who are genuinely fulfilled on the job.

If we allow access to the control room, we build trust. With trust in place employees realize their worth instead of asking for validation. If you are an accessible leader unforeseen problems do not exist and everything is fixable. If your organization is transparent people are not forced to guess their value.

It takes courage to get to know your employees. Managing by the numbers is an act of cowardice.

Empower Change
We are in an interesting time of organizational development. The ivory tower is being replaced by bottoms up collaboration. People are the differentiator of any great organization: give them enough freedom to produce, show you care about their intentions, and your organizational will flourish.

Ask & Listen
How do you check the pulse of your organization? Survey, focus group, enterprise application suggestion box...?

There are 3 simple ways to understand what is going on in the trenches:
1. Ask Often
2. Make the results metric
3. Take action

The easiest way to discourage engagement in your organizational culture is to ask for input but take no action.

Encourage the Bold
In some organizations participation is suggested but not encouraged. A forum for idea sharing is set up but those who speak up are put on the "people to fire" list.

The door to the board room must be open: transparency builds trust.

The cause that you represent as an organization is far more important than numbers or graphs. The people who perform the work are not assets or capital...they are human beings who choose to make your company better. Respect for sweat equity should be a pillar of any leadership style!

The formula is simple:
- Listen and take action!
- Let culture lead!   
- Show you care by empowering those willing to help!

Don't Forget to Remember!


No comments:

Post a Comment