Daily Quote: Secret On Increasing Employee Engagement

 

Daily Quote: When people know we truly care about them—and not just about what we can get out of them—they tend to go the extra mile.

Reflection: Recently, I was pondering the lack of engagement and dis-satisfaction of employees at their workplaces. According to a 2014 Aon Hewitt survey, only 61% of worldwide workers said they feel engaged at their jobs. Why aren’t the numbers higher? Boredom, authoritarian management styles and lack of respect and trust are the usual culprits for these negative attitudes.

Self-Coaching: Over the next week checkout how your employees are feeling about their jobs and make a plan based on their input how to put mor joy and fun into the workplace. This effort would be appreciated and I promise will improve everyone’s “quality of worklife.

Click through to this insightful article on workplace satisfaction.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3047366/hit-the-ground-running/why-you-should-treat-your-employees-like-your-most-loyal-customers

 

 

Attention Small Business Owners: Solving the Customer Satisfaction Problem

Part II: MESSAGE FOR Small Business Owners– Want more satisfied customers treat your employees better.

My second posting for modern day managers and small business owners is based on the latest research on best practices and my consulting experiences gain over 40 years of observing and working on customer care projects for both businesses large and small.

Solving the Problem of Customer Satisfaction–Satisfy your employees first.

Most business leaders are always looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction and thereby increase their chances of being successful. The place overlooked most often is right under their nose–BE MORE RESPECTFUL, KIND, AND FAIR TO THEIR MOST VALUABLE CUSTOMER THEIR EMPLOYEES. 

It is my belief that most workers try to do their best do an assignment or task. Yet trying to do it just the way the boss wants it done is exhausting. Focusing on a sense of pleasing the boss takes effort and jeopardizes self-initiative, morale of workers, and quality service. Here are some of the questions bosses need to answer when contemplating this issue: Do I really understand  my employee needs and create an environment were workers are motivated and reward for doing things right? Do I show appreciation for workers making the effort  or taking the initiative for making the customers experience the best it can be? Do I put in place rules or policies that support employee empowerment and autonomy to make decisions on the spot to make the customers experience memorable and satisfying? Do you leave room for employees to make and learn from mistakes? Are they doing it the way I want it done rather than what the customer needs and wants ? Are they staying late to complete their task or just punching the clock because they don’t feel ownership for making the business a success ? Is enough being done to create a more engaged and responsive work place environment based based on adult to adult relationship rather than a critical-parent to child one?

Part I: Message for Leaders– Don’t Micro-manage employees

My view based on consulting with organizations for forty plus years—Problem of Micromanagement. Trying to get people to do an assignment or task your way is exhausting. Focusing on a sense sense of urgency takes effort and jeopardizes self-initiative, morale of workers, and quality service. Are people doing an assignment fast enough?  Are they doing it the way I want it done? Are they staying late to complete their task or just punching the clock? Is enough being done to create a more responsive and productive work place environment?

Micromanagement takes a lot of work and energy in the wrong direction. How about being a constructive boss who respects others opinions and ideas.  If you want things done right and goals reached involve others in the decision-making and make them feel important by sharing in the rewards of success–living wage, bonuses and profit sharing. By building an open and trusting relationship the owner and boss will empower employees. This people first approach will pay dividends in many subtle but powerful ways. This type of respectful approach will build loyalty and help create a team of employees that will in turn show respect to customers and support the organization imperatives of productivity and profitability.  Be careful dismissing this point too quickly — even if you would never micromanage, you could be creating the wrong incentives for people in your organization.

Self-Coaching Challenge–How can you get more engaged in your work this coming Monday

Engagement at work; what does it mean and is it important? My definition is that it is a commitment to invest time in accomplishing something that is meaningful and important to me. It involves expenditure of energy, time and emotional commitment to a cause or issue that matters deeply to your values and purpose in life.  Does the work you do get your juices flowing?

What do surveys mean when they try to measure engagement? After seeing the 2013 Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. I wondered what that means in regard to employee satisfaction, recruiting and retention of talent in the workplace. Another study the 2014 Deloitte Human Capital Trends research shows that 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement as important issues to solve in the coming year. These trends by the way have remained essentially unchanged for a decade. So this raises the question of whether the concept of engagement matters when it comes to managing and developing a positive and effective workplace culture that ultimately impacts the “bottom line”  of productivity, profitability and of successful companies. Or does this struggle to measure engagement a windmill that matters but we don’t know how to define it and track its impact on “quality of worklife” and organizational success.

So that led to ask what does engagement really mean to people—commitment, loyalty, max effort, doing your best…or does it mean a willingness to put-in discretionary effort… to go the extra mile… or give 110%.

Challenge: Reflect on what engagement means to you. In the next 24 hours pick an engagement activity to try out at work tomorrow.

What is the new behavior you are going to try out?  What were the effects you experienced in trying out this new behavior?

Importance of Empathy on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Empathy is a building block of one’s interpersonal connections.—for people to cultivate empathy skills, it helps if they can stop and take the time to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is also a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the needs, priorities and desires of others. Here are some of the ways that interpersonal communication research has testified to the far-reaching importance of empathy. 

  • Empathy is good for bonding and team development: Managers who demonstrate empathy have employees who report greater job satisfaction and engagement 
  • Tied closely to empathy is the concept worker engagement and positive work climate this  recent trend towards positive psychology, where the concern is positive aspects of employees’ behavior. According to Maslach and Leiter (1997), when there is a person and positive job match, employees experience engagement with their work, characterized by high energy, involvement, and positive efficacy. As per Schaufeli et al. (2002), employee engagement is a positive, work-related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. In this regard, attention is paid to human strengths, optimal functioning, and positive experiences at work (Seligmen and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004) not on negative feedback or focus on weaknesses. While, disengaged employees display incomplete role performances and task  behaviors become effortless, automatic or robotic (Hochschild, 1983). According to the author, disengagement may be result of employees who lack positive social interaction and support, who experience little autonomy in work roles, or who feel their work and contribution is unimportant to others.  

So the question is -How often do you stop to listen to and engage your fellow workers? Or Do you focus on the task and getting the job done? 

Want to improve social-emotion connections cultivate empathy in your relationships.

1 Model empathy. Show people what mens to appreciate them. Observe and show interest in the lives of others. Listen to other people’s experience and opinions. Talk about your experiences practicing empathy, and about the times you forgot to act with empathy.

2. Start with safety and security. Fear and self-centeredness interferes with the development of empathy. Learn to stop and demonstrate consideration and toward others.

3. Practice self-regulation skills. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy. By learning to calm yourself, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, fellow workers and family members develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.

4. Notice other people’s feelings without judgment or put downs. Talk about these feelings and assure the other person they are okay to share and have these inner experiences. Learn to use words that focus on the so-called “soft things” in life and avoid only the “hard stuff” like project schedules, profit, or task activities.

5. Follow the Golden Rule of relationships and empathy  “ Treat others in the same way that they themselves would like to be treated because relationships matter. Relations emphasizing empathy are built on focused attention, active listening and demonstrated caring and trust. For example, most of us would like to be listened to and understood by others.

Fundamental Tool for Self-Coaching –“Pinch-Crunch Model” for Managing Expectations and Conflict

Pinch Model: Mapping the Problem of Aligning Expectations and Assumptions

Research fact–Planned Renegotiation and the Pinch Model developed by John J. Sherwood and John C. Glidewell (1973, 1975)  is based on the premise that relationships in a social system—a pair, a group, an organization, or a community—seldom proceed smoothly or as planned or expected. The model describes how social systems are established, become stabilized and aligned so that work can get done and how change can enter the system. When these expectations are disrupted it is called a “pinch” and if not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties can lead to uncomfortable and unproductive relationships and even interpersonal “crunches”, like termination of the relationship.

Pinch and Crunch Model Steps:

1. Stability and Productivity: This is the period where things are going as we and ours expected they would. This situation is often seen as a period of personal productivity and alignment.

2. Pinch: A pinch is something that is done or not done, that violates one of our expectations/assumptions. Pinches are private. We feel them though the one who caused the pinch may not be aware that we are disappointed or have been offended.

3. Broken promises at the heart of “Disruption of Expectations”By not acting, we may come to doubt our initial judgment of a situation. We are not sure if we can trust our operating expectations and assumptions because we have been disappointed already. Tension and stress builds as our situation becomes increasingly unpredictable.

4. CrunchA crunch is open conflict. Both parties are now aware that there is a problem. However, if I have been suffering silently, my crunch may be my partner’s pinch.

Crunch Management Options

Silent Ending: This is where one party terminates the relationship after the fight without any further communication. They just cut you loose and never want to talk or see you again. They abandon or shun you…

Re-Commitment: This is where we smooth things over and play nice (kiss and make-up) with each other, with the hope that the relationship will return quickly to stability and productivity. The pinch, however, remains private and unresolved. It is bound to re-appear under stress or difficult times.

Lower Expectations: By lowering our expectations and just “putting in time,” people hope to reduce the number of pinches and crunches that they are experiencing with each other. Eventually, this can lead to apathy, cynicism and superficial interactions.

Re-Negotiation: By engaging in a difficult, honest conversation after a crunch, information can be gathered, expectations and assumptions clarified and parties can either renew their commitment to their relationship or agree to disagree and explore the final option of a planned and/or agreed upon ending/transition to the relationship.

Common Ways of Dealing with Pinches

1) Let it Go

There is a Congo proverb that says, “It is best to let an offense repeat itself three times. The first may be an accident, the second a mistake. Only the third is likely to be intentional.” Many of us are living examples of this proverb, especially with the small ‘pinches’ we experience in our lives.

2) Complain to someone else

Once the ‘pinch’ has been repeated (or is really significant the first time), we often look for someone with whom we can share our experience. Our motivation for doing this is often positive. We want to release our frustration to someone else, or we are unsure if we have a legitimate reason for being frustrated. The problem is that our search for clarity often stops here and inevitably the behaviour repeats itself. This is a very common strategy in Canadian workplaces.

3) ‘Pinch’ back

After our frustration has reached a certain level and the ‘pinch’ is being remembered days later, our behaviour often changes toward that person. We begin to be hesitant or more aggressive in their company. We are on the lookout for the behaviour to repeat itself. Our initial responses are often very subtle and are not always obvious even to ourselves. We may respond to the other person’s email in a less timely way or delay in responding to work that affects them. We may become quieter in the other person’s company, withholding some of our ideas. We may become defensive in their presence as we look to protect ourselves. Not only the person who is the catalyst, but all others in the room, can invariably feel this defensive energy. In fact, it will likely become a ‘pinch’ for others.

4) Hold on to it

Often we hold on to our hurt, nursing it, reliving our ‘pinches’ in our mind, with our friends, during the day and in our thoughts at night. This thinking often results in feelings of victimization and growing resentment. Medical research says that living with these feelings will increase our stress levels and make us more vulnerable to disease.

5) ‘Crunch’ back

When we have suffered long enough, many of us will say or do something out of character. We will snap back. This is what we call open conflict; everyone who hears the exchange would believe that there is a fight.

6) Talk about it. Constructive dialogue to discuss and seek understanding about missed expectations.

A ‘pinch’ is an opportunity to have an ‘expectation conversation.’ to resolve differences and gain understanding so that the relationship can move forward in a healthy and constructive way. Unfortunately this is done far too seldom.

*Adapted and re-visioned from http://korcos.wikispaces.com/file/view/Pinch+Crunch.pdf

 

Self-Doubt –Learn to Use the Challenge Response of Self-Efficacy

” Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations…remember self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure…People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as in-efficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it…People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.” Dr. Albert Bandura 
From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory., 1986.

A concise summary by psychology.about.com describes why the theory of self-efficacy is so important in the psychology of self is because  self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behavior to motivation. Most people can identify goals they want to accomplish, things they would like to change in their behavior, and things they would like to achieve. However, most people also realize that putting these plans into action is not quite so simple. Bandura and others have found that an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.

” People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities”
Self-Doubt is a difficult burden to carry around everyday. The next time you have self-doubt challenge this negative thought or opinion about you. To survive and thrive in this life means that you need to find your own inner compass of strength and build unshakable confidence and BELIEF about who you are and what your strengths are for building a fulfilling and meaningful life. Don’t let other people define who you are and how you need to live your life.

MISTAKE #1: Accepting Other People’s  “Wrong Opinion” of You

In our desire to please people and get along, most people early in life decide it is more to their benefit to accept a bad opinion of themselves from a  parent, peer or teacher. – even if it’s not true, so as to be accepted and stay out of trouble.

“You’re terrible at sports because your feet are too big.”
“You don’t have the creativity to be an artist.”
“Your too weak to get stay the course and make a living as an actor.”
“Just give up the this dream of being a musician you don’t have a good ear and are tone-deaf. Find something more practical to do.”

I’ve noticed that many people accept these statements even when they don’t agree with them.

Then they go out and do something they don’t believe in and try to live the life set-out for them or encouraged by others. They do this even if they are not interested or passionate about the suggestions. Living a life chosen by others is a terrible choice because it makes you feel dependent and reduces your ability to live an autonomous and responsible life. You always have the excuse “I am just doing what you recommended for me to do.” I am sure these advice givers had good intentions but they robbed you of learning first hand what was best for you to do given your strengths and self-desires. This backdoor excuse reduces your ability to make decisions and reduces your ability to take ownership for your life.

This approach can will crush your confidence instantly.Why? Because to be confident, you need to trust yourself to make decisions and be able to tell yourself the truth. This dependency approach thus limits self-awareness and self efficacy. This approach of dismissing responsibility for choices is the root cause of self-doubt. This decision to believe others can do major damage to your confidence and emotion health and the ability to life an independent and reality based life.

Case in point: An employee I worked with was disappointed and upset about her lack of promotion to Supervisor on an important audit for the firm. She just wasn’t getting the best assignments because the Manager’s had decided she didn’t have the experience and ability to hand supervision of others. (yet).

What’s the message you think the Manager on the Furr’s audit is sending?” I asked her.

That I’m not good enough or smart enough to supervise others,” she said.

And how ARE you perceiving your skills and abilities to handle this assignment?” I asked her.

I’m not myself at all. I’m always nervous when interacting with others I am not trusting my training or instincts and I’m messing up even the simplest work papers and discussions with other colleagues or the client.” she said.

So what is the issue self-doubt, lack of communication or lack of training to learn the way to do these things – guess what?

This employee came from one of the best accounting schools in the country where she obtained B grades. She didn’t lose confidence because her manager didn’t allow her to supervise others or get good assignments. She lost it because she KNOWS she is a smart and competent auditor, but decided to believe and buy-in to a different view of herself by managers in her firm. When you lose self-belief or buy-in do other viewpoints about your abilities its ‘game over’ for your motivation and confidence.

Your self-belief or self-efficacy is your basic tool for success and overcoming barriers in your life.Question what you KNOW to be true, and you’ll do terrible damage to your career and your self belief. Now I know what you’re thinking.

“Mark, if I have a boss who thinks I’m not smart or experienced enough to be included as the supervisor on a project, then how dare I second-guess him or convince him I am ready. “

Easy. Ask him what he needs to see from her to show him she is ready to supervise this audit assignment. After he responds, set-up a mutual agreed to performance and training plan to get the experiences and training needed for your success. Be more assertive about your skills and abilities. That’s what your manager is hoping for, and anything less is a disservice to both of you. Your boss may be the smartest person alive, but even he doesn’t have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. Heck, even Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

Remember, human beings are not built to persist and their belief in themselves and be crushed very easily by people they respect and look-up to. Unfortunately, many of us give up at the first sign of struggle, and the biggest struggle of all is believing in yourself even when no one else does.

You can change and in changing prove to others your competence and confidence to succeed where they thought you couldn’t. You can persevere and believe and with belief comes confidence and a positive self-fulfilling prophecy can be set in motion to change other people’s view and opinion of your abilities.

Glasser’s Reality Leadership Model for Assessing 3 Styles of Leadership

How to use Dr. Glasser’s Realty Therapy for Self Coaching–Three critical questions to get started.

  1. What do you want?
  2. What are you doing to get what you want?
  3. Is what you are doing working and helping you get what you want ?

Let’s look at Glasser’s theory along a continuum from Authoritarian, Command and Control Leader to Laissez-Faire to  Empowering Leader

Empowering Leaders continually work to create an open environment which encourages participation by employees to solve work place problems and self-discover opportunities to do their best and reach their full potential. In addition, it is essential that the empowering leader is able to include and motivate their team to continually upgrade their skills, experience and systems of equality and two-communication that builds competence and trust.

The following grid is one example of how people in any organization can self-evaluate the “quality of their work place environment.  The diagnostic chart below lists many characteristics that describe leadership styles. In using this chart employees are encouraged to discuss their perception of various leadership characteristics and their impact on growth, development and excellence in the organizational system.

Characteristics of  Leadership Styles Command-Control “The Boss” Empowered Leader Laissez-faire
Relationship – coercive
– need-to-know basis
– externally motivated

– supportive and open                                         – builds trust through transparency

– internally motivated
– input involves others

– uncertain
– distant and hands off
– inconsistent and unstructured
Wants – dualistic thinking

-control and power over others
– my way is the only way
– narrow point of views profit motivation is king 

employees to do what they are told to do 

– group consensus
– participation and input for group problem solving 
– broad, many options

-focus on employee health and well-being 

– to delegate not tell people what to do
– agreement and support
– everyone to do their best.

-avoidance of too much supervision or structure

Present Behaviors

– uses harsh words and inflexible rules 
– set strict rules and regulations
-judgmental and management by exception 

Tell and sell approach 

severe-reprisals and punishment

– uses empowering and caring behaviors
– focus on group participation
– uses criteria,improves human relation systems
– combines both
– says okay
– unclear, does both/none
Evaluation – system of punishment
– criteria set by C/C leader

– develops system of self-development

– collaborative on evaluation and feedback 
– criteria by leaders/workers

– never the same
– inconsistent hands off “sink or swim” approach  
Planning – sets deadlines
– sets new rules goes by the book
– involvement based on strengths
– workers’ input appreciated
– what is deemed necessary “now”
– depends on the circumstances
 
 
Self-Coaching Challenge–Gather your leadership team together and assess where your team falls on this “quality of worklife ” and leadership style inventory.Then develop a plan for improvement with the team. Execute changes with a specific time table. 

Part l: New Style of Leadership–Stop Negative workplace Virus and Bad Attitudes

“Little known fact 71% of workers think about quitting their jobs every day. What do we do to change this apparent virus sweeping our work place environments”?  

 We must become willing to admit that our way of leading and creating “quality of work” environments are simply not working. We are not creating the results or the quality of life that we would like for ourselves, associates and customers, These hectic and wired times are calling out for a new type of leader in organizations. This type of leadership is not based on position or status.  It is truly based on equality, respect and positive regard for everyone in the organization. At its core leadership is shared by everyone in the organization.     In this new leadership style we need everyone aligned with the vision and understand why we are in business–this is called the mission. The leaders must be willing to challenge the “status quo”, accept change as a natural state and realize that the so-called soft side of business is really the hard side. Mental maps of risk taking must be continually updated and failures must become learning experiences. This may sound foolish or a bit naive and yet many of the new and innovative companies accept and operate in this revolutionary way.

One thing is at the cornerstone of this leadership revolution—Constant growth and development through feedback. Most people are not consciously withholding feedback because they want to create a negative work place culture or reduce company morale. Often, they withhold feedback because they don’t know how or when and in what way to skillfully use the soft power of open and two-way communication tool called– feedback.. Also, many people are just uncomfortable confronting others on their “screw-ups, or failings. In other words, they lack the know-how and skills to conduct productive feedback sessions. There are some ways to take some of the suffering out of giving and receiving feedback.

First, we’ve got to start taking accountability for our individual roles in creating environments where “feedback” is not seen as a dirty word.  How can you help?  Try practicing a few of the following behaviors of the new leadership style:

The revolution begins with a few change agents practicing Reality-Based Feedback. Reality based feedback expands on the ideas of William Glasser M.D.  from the therapy couch to workplace interactions and conversations

1. A reality based leader or coach is one who is self-aware, open, flexible and authentic. DWYSYWD is the foundation of their leadership and management philosophy. They are able to quickly read others and accept the reality of a situation. These new leaders are sensitive and understand others needs ( high on empathy) by confronting in a caring way reality and truth. This directness preserves valuable time and energy trying to fix blame or uncover the truth behind excuses for not doing things right or choosing the wrong things to work on. It conserves precious team energy, and uses that energy instead to be more productive and efficient in working on priorities and creating a better quality of work life (QWL).

2.  Better yet, a Reality-based Leader anticipates the upcoming changes and capitalizes on the opportunity inherent in the situation without drama or defense.

3. This new type of leader uses feedback to address pinches in expectations and issues early and often.

Besides poor communication I think the lack of feedback is the root cause of many employee’s attitude issues.  Sharing feedback early and often takes some of the pain out of the situation that year performance reviews rarely do.  Timely feedback is a critical component of achieving success on an individual, team and organization levels.

Understand that giving feedback does not mean being ugly, mean, or an“I gotcha you asshole” attitude.  Under the mask of being “nice” leaders, teams and organizations all over the country are missing opportunities to increase responsibility for decisions and actions by withholding caring feedback and covering-up emotional pinches.  Feedback is a critical component for growth, development, and individual satisfaction with their job. The lack of feedback is also impacting the organizational culture and growth by causing interpersonal conflict and many “soap opera” dramas. Thus, an unhealthy climate on a cost-benefit analysis basis could be costing a decrease in motivation, loss of valuable time, energy and profits for your organization.

You want great business results?  Regular performance conversations are a part of that equation.  If you are not getting good feedback, ask for it.  Occasionally, ask people what things you should stop doing, start doing or continue doing.  If you are one of the vast majorities of people who dislike giving feedback, stop withholding this valuable information and learn how to give and receive it. If you are defensive when someone shares feedback with you, grow up and be a professional.  Feedback is simply another persons’ opinion of your work habits and performance.  Try not to take it personally. And as always stop judging and start listening for ways to be supportive and helpful. If these things are tried I guarantee the quality of work and the attitudes toward jobs will significantly improve.

Want more on the topic of Motivation checkout the history of motivation and job satisfaction. While on this site do not miss one of my favored models of motivation and job enrichment design developed by Hackman and Oldham’s. Their Job Characteristics Model looks at some very important factors of autonomy, skill development, and clear goal-setting as a way of increasing positive motivation for doing a job an outstanding way. Their model also identifies several other aspects of job design – such as feedback and feeling that one’s work is meaningful –  which could also affect workers’ level of satisfaction.

Plus One Technique: Showing Appreciation the MMFI Rule

Daily Quote: “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, Make Me Feel Important. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” Mary Kay Ash

Reflection:
I think that this Plus One technique of Making Others Feel Important (MMFI)is a very powerful way to provide a climate for excellence in performance. Many employees tell me that they seldom or hardly ever receive any appreciation for a job well done from their managers. Appreciation or acknowledgement are at the heart of creating a positive climate at work. Noticing the effort and commitment of employees can be one of the strongest motivators for reinforcing and encourage the highest quality of work. Positive feedback which is delivered immediately after the action takes place sends a strong message that a person’s has been noticed and appreciated. The message from many managers who ignore the good works of employees is that you are expected to perform at high levels and the only time you will hear from a manager is when you screw-up. This “management by exception” method leaves employees in the dark and feels like they are only going to be recognized when things have gone wrong.In my experience this management approach is demoralizing and creates a”cover your ass” culture.

Self-Coaching Challenge: How will you make someone feel important today? Who is it you are going to make the effort to MAKE THEM FEEL IMPORTANT? Remember to be specific in your statement of appreciation and genuine. To see more on the use of the MMFI Rule see my past post http://wp.me/pnKb1-1Vn. This post will provide more specifics on this powerful management concept.
Over the next week keep track of the MMFI you handout and capture the events in your Personal Leadership Journal. Making this type of behavior a part of who you are will not only lift the spirits of employees but also make you feel good.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Are you engaged at work?

Daily Quote: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Reflection:

Many studies are reporting the American workforce is not engaged at work. Although, there can be many good reasons for this problem I am convinced that the one place we don’t look is at our ourselves. We externalize the issue by blaming the “bad and insensitive boss”, boring work, work that doesn’t match our skills or strengths, greedy CEO’s, poor products and services, difficult customer, too little pay or benefits, etc.   We can go on and list many more issues for disengagement.

Recently, I came across a message from United Technologies Corporation published in the Wall Street Journal ( part of a series) back in the 1980’s that highlights one of the many issues we forget to mention when talking about “job engagement: “taking pride in our work”.

I take Pride In My Work–author unknown    

I’m a little fed up with the constant criticism of American workmanship.

How other people do their jobs is their business.

But I do good work and I know it.

I have perfected my skills.

I make each minute count.

When I make a mistake I correct it.

I would gladly sign my name to every piece of work I do.

I going to hang this message over my work area to let

my employer, my customers, my co-workers

know that—

I take pride in my work, I take pride…I take pride… 

Self-Coaching Challenge: How engaged are you at work? What are the reasons for your non-engagement?  What are you willing to do to change the situation?

Daily Quote and Reflection:Leading others to Discover their Highest Potential

Daily Quote: Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching On Leadership:

“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”

Reflection:

This has always been one of my favorite quotes because it focuses on how we don’t accomplish anything with others support and effort. Like you I have worked with some egocentric bosses who take all the credit when things go well and look to blame others when things go bad. Of course this de-motivates and times infuriate the team but in addition it is selfish and not constructive in building loyalty and trust which are the keys to empowering others. Really, Lao-Tzu’s advice tells to be unselfish and in to this we become “servant leaders”. When leaders focus on developing the people around them they challenge people to perform and do things they never though they could do. This is the true job of leaders–developing and helping others discover and reach their full potential by encouraging the to take ownership of their lives at work. This adds a wonderful sense of meaning and purpose to their lives.

Challenge Activity: When was the last time you gave the credit away to others. If it has been awhile ago try in the next 24 hours surprise some with a sincere compliment about their self-initiative and job well done.   Doing nice things for other people makes you feel good too.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Work and the Principle of Meaning

Daily Quote and Reflection: It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. -Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

Reflection: Have you ever contemplated what is the difference between work and play? Many people when ask to do this reflection say to me –work is work. It doesn’t have anything to do with play. Maybe maybe not I reply. I say what about organizations like  Southwest Airlines (Fun LUVing attitude not just words but real action in creating a family atmosphere and support programs to make communities a better place to live and work. The attitude is made-up of these principles–

  • Have FUN
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Maintain perspective
  • Celebrate successes
  • Enjoy your work
  • Be a passionate Teamplayer

The essence of work at Southwest Airlines  is  doing good while having fun. Of course there are many other organizations embracing this philosophy of meaning and fun at work like Tom’s of Maine, Zappos, and Patagonia who’s mission is to: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis..

Let’s brainstorm for a second the characteristics of work vs. play. Work conjectures up characteristics and thoughts of : required activity, pay for results or services, to survive and put a roof over your head, paid to do it, have to, sweat, challenge, bosses, be told what to do and how to do it, how to behave, command and control, schedules, boring, supervision, structured routine, time pressure etc… vs Play– want to, engaged, spontaneity, fun, freedom to choose, smiles, do it because I love the activity, enjoy the people playing with me, time is mine, etc…

So the question becomes how do we put more fun and meaning into work?

Poem on Respect and Responsiveness

Poem on Respect and Responsiveness by M.W. Hardwick

    Idea for poem: Respect and Responsiveness are the keys to employee and customer satisfaction and they seem to be lacking in many organization–for example We can’t do that because of policy.

      R&R is key to brand perception.

      R&R are keys to your ability to look in the mirror. 

      R&R are keys to to leadership effectiveness.

      R&R are keys to long-term relationships and trust.

      R&R are free.

      Embrace and pursue the value of R&R

      R&R require empowerment and empathy…

     Where are they…Where are they… 

Daily Management Tip: Learn to use the C.O.A.C.H. “process with structure model”

Quote: “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and being flexible enough to change the plan if it is not working”. Mark W. Hardwick

I am starting a new series on Daily Management Tips–Here is my first edition to your tool box. Enjoy and let me know how it worked so I can share with our community

Process Framework and Flow for Coaching Session

Before session check for convenient time to discuss issues and opportunities. Be clear on goals or objectives for the session… Remember to Use how to… (statement)  For Example, GM says to sales manger… Bill can we meet at 10:00 am tomorrow to discuss How to improve our current status for 18 wheeler sales in the Down River location. I will need to know what is in the funnel–prospects, proposals out and your best guess on closes for Q4.

        Process Steps of C.O.A.C.H. structure                                                                                                                          

  1. Clarifying and reviewing your goals, needs and wants for meeting; then get agreement if that is okay with them. Set meeting time and length for discussion.
  1. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT CURRENT SITUATION.
  • What is the status of the current situation or problem?
  • Review obstacles or interferences.
  • Find out how they feel about the situation and people involved?
  • What have they tried or are trying to remedy the situation or solve problem? 
  1. Accept and listen to their viewpoint by clarifying, asking questions and restating feelings, viewpoint and facts about the situation
  1. Create possible alternatives and solutions for the problem or opportunity. Review their knowledge, skills and attitude about the situation from a technical, people, strategic and urgent point of view.
  1. How to’s Action Plan jointly developed and agreed to …WHO does WHAT, by WHEN and HOW. Also, review resources and support needed and commit to reviewing progress at a specific time in the future. Encourage communication between sessions if emergencies or urgent things come up.

 

Time management isn’t our problem–but our need to manage our energy is critical for success.

Quote: To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

The lack of focused time and thus stress and burnout be an epidemic, but the problem isn’t in what we say. It’s what we do and how we set priorities and use a limited amount of our precious energy. For all the people writing about the importance of the “sustainable development” of our economy, how many are there worrying about the sustainability of our own body energy ? Research reports that a disciplined and focused lifestyle effectively helps in achieving more in less time. Don’t miss this excellent article by Tony Schwartz it provides a whole new perspective on how to manage and expand that valuable resource called energy. Take the self-assessment tool provide by Mr Schwartz to see if you are heading for a personal energy crisis. Good Luck and fun with this it will provide a reading on your ability to recovery and stay healthy in our fast-paced world. http://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time/ar/1