Employee Engagment: A Leadership Series
Number Three of Seven (or maybe a few more than seven)
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
In This issue:
- Managing Involvement - Even When It "Doesn't Matter"
- Upcoming Public Workshops
- More Original Content from FSTD : Current Blog Posts
- Featured Product: DiSC Classic 2.0
Last time we looked at leadership vs. delegation. We concluded, if you are not willing to turn control of the issue over completely, don’t delegate!
This week we start looking at some easy-to-follow guidelines which will help you determine just how much involvement is appropriate. But first, we need to determine if finding the “one best” course of action is essential. That is, does the course of action chosen make a difference? I know, I know! You’re thinking, “What kind of Bozo is writing this article?!? Doesn’t it aaallllways matter which course of action is chosen?”
Remember, we’re looking at the leader and the team through the lens of involvement. From the involvement point-of-view, there is a “thing” called “equal solutions”. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are the Schools Superintendent for a large city. Your “team” is comprised of the Principals of the 10 school districts in your city. It has come to your attention that the various districts buy the 1/2 pint milk cartons for their cafeterias from 10 different sources. They are all Grade “A” milk in an “identical” (in terms of quality) paper carton. You have determined that your school system could save considerable money if you “single sourced” the purchase of milk. The issue is not finding a quality product. Each of the dairies offer an “identical” product. The issue is having the districts AGREE on the single source.
Now stand back and look at the milk issue. Given that the 10 Principals have, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, been doing it their way for a long, long time, what’s the probability that they will “automatically” agree on a single source for milk? If “slim to none” comes to mind, you’re on the right track.
Now, ask yourself, “How many ‘brownie points’ will I get from most of those 10 Principals if I make the choice by myself and just lay the single source supplier on ‘em?” Now if you’re thinking, “Is there such a thing as ‘negative brownie points?’ ”, you’re on the right track again!
Given that liberally sprinkling your team with negative brownie points probably won’t enhance your ability to lead, we suggest that you don’t. So, let’s go back to square one. Mindset drives Behavior. So, to get the 10 Principals to agree on a single source of milk, they have to THINK about the benefits of a common source, they have to TALK about single sourcing before they will support the DOing.
Today’s tip: Sometimes, the options are all virtually the same. Even if the solutions are equal, don’t lay the solution on your team unless you know for a fact they will all wholeheartedly and automatically accept your solution. Involve them. Next time we’ll start to look at the guidelines that apply when it does matter which course of action is chosen.
Get Rid of the Bums ... Wait, Not So Fast ...
I was speaking with the COO of a resort facility yesterday who began our conversation with the words "sometimes, the best route might be to just fire them all and start over!" His issue: many of the front line staff (e.g., grounds keepers, maintenance, guest service) were slow in accomplishing assigned duties, and the quality of their work was poor. If the work got done at all, that was "good 'nuff."
I asked this COO what had been done. He said "that's the problem. The Facilities Manager isn't really holding them accountable." So I asked him what the Facilities Manager's boss had done to address the issue with the Facilities Manager. The COO paused and sheepishly replied "nothing."
The issue with this facility's performance isn't fundamentally an issue with the employees. It is primarily the lack of leadership.
From time to time, many managers fantasize about "throwing the bums out," and yes, there is a time and a place for pruning "dead wood." All too often, however, a comment like this really shows that the manager is unclear about how to raise employee performance. They don't quite know what to do.
There's good news. Broadly speaking, successful leadership involves three (very learnable) areas of practice:
- Supporting the employee: aligning the employee's performance system so that he or she has clear expectations and all the tools and resources they need; establishing a robust performance measurement system to allow each performer to self identify good performance and to self correct performance which is off target; removing RoadBlocks; and aligning appropriate consequences. These actions set up the employee to do the job on time, right, first time, every time. We will dive into employee support and performance system engineering in a future newsletter series;
- Holding them accountable: systematically, consistently and effectively addressing performance whenever it fails to meet standard, and doing so in such a way that the employee hears the feedback and takes responsibility for their own performance. We have addressed accountability briefly in earlier newsletters; and
- Managing employee involvement, which George is explaining in the current newsletter series. Appropriate involvement helps improve each and every employee's commitment to the course of action chosen.
So before we look at "throwing the bums out," which is really quite time consuming and costly anyway, perhaps we look at how our managers lead. Cheer up - most employees (yes, even that particular person of whom you're thinking) really want to do good work. They just need your leadership.
- Trouble Shooting Logic
- August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
- The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS