The question I am asked most during my training seminars by leaders, managers, and sales managers is “How do I motivate my people?”
As a manager and leader for many years in a very large organization leading a big team, it was the question that I asked quite often as well. Since the answers I got were very vague and really unusable from an application standpoint. I decided to study the topic myself.
For about five years I studied the topic of motivation, peak performance, willpower, inspiration, human behavior, and anything else you can think of that would have something to do with motivation.
I read all of the great studies around human motivation and human behavior. I read and studied the experts who had studied under the greats in the field of psychology and human development.
There are several books that I would consider to be some of the best on any of these topics around motivation. But honestly the best answer to this question is to study yourself.
I recently wrote an article on some of the mistakes managers make when leading other people. You can read it here
In this article I stated that managers make a mistake when they try to use tactics with their employees that they have found or use to motivate themselves. I am not contradicting what I said here. What I am saying is, what are the conditions that must exist for you to do your best work?
That is where the motivation comes from, not tactics, not words by themselves, but from conditions and the right environment.
When I think about the conditions that existed for me when I was most motivated here is what I found them to be.
I had the right attitude first and foremost. Although, I may have not known what to do or how to do it, I was willing to learn. Since I was willing to learn, it opened opportunities up that were already around me, all I had to do was take advantage of them.
I had a manager, and a manager above my manager, that allowed us and me specifically, to operate under minimal supervision and provided me the resources to experiment to see what worked. This autonomy was very motivating. I didn’t have any fear of failing and was allowed to operate how I saw best.
They provided guidance and support, which was very beneficial because nobody can do it alone. The guidance was more of a conversation around what can we do to get the best results for our department, instead of “you should do it this way or that way”.
One of the biggest failures I see in business today is the all or none mentality. We either hit a home run or we didn’t win the game. We either achieve the goal or we didn’t. I am all about results and I believe we should all meet and exceed expectations. However, there are times when a single should be celebrated just as much as a home run, to use a baseball analogy.
We as human beings need to have little victories, it is built into our DNA. These little victories are what motivate us to keep moving towards the bigger goal. And when I think about the times when I was most motivated, we were hitting a lot of singles and eventually we hit a few home runs. But those singles and doubles kept us motivated.
So what conditions existed when you were most motivated? Maybe it is now, which makes it even easier to see and make sense of it.
Lastly, I want to share this. It is a formula that I have shared with thousands of people who have attended my trainings and seminars.
Motivation usually begins because you were inspired by something. It could have been a talk you heard, a book you read, something somebody said to you. It could be a variety of different things. But that source of inspiration usually provided you some information that you didn’t have before.
So motivation is preceded by inspiration, and inspiration is preceded by information, or what I call education. The education is the true source of motivation.
It could be that you had never saw something the way someone opened your eyes up to seeing something. Your doctor could reveal to you that you have a condition that you weren’t aware of before. It could be that you learned about a diet that seems easy to do. It could be that some new information gets you to see something that you just haven’t seen before. It could be for a cause that instills anger inside you because of some hardship of others that you weren’t aware of.
In all of these cases you received some additional information/education that you didn’t have before. That is the source of motivation.
When I was most motivated on the job, I was getting new information and an education daily. That motivated me to keep trying new things. This education was the source of my motivation that pushed me to keep trying and tinkering with processes and approaches. It kept me excited and engaged in the job I was doing.
I ask you again. What was it that was so motivational about the job you had were you seemed to be most motivated? What conditions existed? My guess is your supervisor had a lot to do with it, but you were also learning every single day which kept you excited and inspired.
To your success and your future.
When I was first starting out in sales one of the things that motivated me the most was winning. Duh, right? I wanted to be the person who was leading the pack. A weekly leaderboard or scoreboard was sent out weekly and I wanted to be the one at the top.
Fast forward to when I became a manager, I used these same processes and tools to lead and motivate others. I can remember vividly sitting down and having a conversation with a team member and making the statement “Don’t you want to be at the top of the leaderboard?”
Their reply, “Nope, I don’t care about the leaderboard!” I am not here to debate whether or not a person in sales should or should not want to be on the leaderboard. That is another story for another day.
Here is the mistake I made as a young leader. I assumed that what motivated me and pushed me to work harder was the same thing that would motivate and push someone else. As I found, that just wasn’t the case.
I recently was working with a group of leaders and we discussed the three things that demotivate versus motivate us, which in turn if you are in leadership could demotivate your team members.
- Assuming what motivates us will motivate them.
My story above makes this case, but I see it everywhere and it is a fundamental flaw I have found to be true in many leaders in organizations. Unfortunately, one of the problems with leadership over time, is that they tend to hire people just like themselves. Which makes it even easier to assume that our team members will be motivated by the same things that motivate us.My advice is to learn your employees motivations and desires. What is it that they want out of their position? Where are they looking to go in their career. Questions such as this will give you insight on how to properly motivate and lead your team.
Sarcasm is a tactic that many leaders use. I see it more as a weakness. Instead of being truthful with your employees you instead decide to be indirect hoping to get a response that is positive. The reason it doesn’t work, is because is decreases trust and is looked at as a sign of weakness more than strength.Additionally most people are smart enough to know what you are trying to do with sarcasm. So it actually becomes a double negative for a leader who uses it. Trust erodes and perceived weaknesses are increased. Both of these conditions make it difficult to motivate and inspire employees to produce more and accomplish more.Lastly, most people don’t think it is funny. And they don’t appreciate it. Quit telling yourself that they do. Be direct and tell them how it is. They will appreciate the directness more and respect you more as well.
- Poor Manners.
It is true “everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten.” I think that was a book. Simply put. You need have to have basic manners. Things such as “please”, “thank you”. Ask for permission and staying positive. These are little things. But they go along way to showing your team members that you respect them.
Now that you are aware of these three behaviors. The big question is “Which ones do you need to work on?”
Unfortunately, we as humans are not very good at assessing our own behaviors. Matter of fact 90% of the people who demonstrate these behaviors haven’t read this far. But if you are still reading. I would encourage you to ask for feedback from your team and ask them which ones of the above you need to work on. Their answers may surprise you.
To your success and your future.
One of the greatest and most respected leaders of the modern times is Jack Welch. Jack Welch was responsible for General Electric’s massive growth in the 1980’s and 90’s until he picked his successor to take over as CEO in 2001. Since Jack’s departure from General Electric he has authored several books and is a thought leader in many areas of business and also has a school that carries his name.
Jack was known for being very brash and straight to the point. He was also known for getting things done. I have read several of Jack’s books over the years and they are all full of great information.
A few years ago in one of Jacks books, I read his 6 Rules to Live by. These rules were designed around business and was the way he led his company. At the time I read the 6 rules I wrote the rules down on a 3 X 5 card. I have carried that card with me for several years now and refer to them often.
Here are the 6 Rules:
1. Control your own destiny or someone else will: Take control of your life, your career, your business, your finances, etc. You get the point. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission or wait for someone to show you how. You have to control your own destiny or someone will control you.
2. Face reality as it is: In business or in life how many times have you heard someone say, “Well it should be…” , “I thought we were going to do…”, “If this would happen, then…”. All of these phrases are stating something that is not. You must face reality as it is. Don’t kid yourself.
3. Be candid: Most people are afraid of candor. Instead in today’s world everyone wants to skirt around the truth or not be brutally honest. Sure there are times, when you don’t want to overshoot and hurt someones feelings, but the only way people and organizations get better is when they know exactly where they are and where the stand.
4. Don’t manage, Lead: We all know it or at least we have seen it. You have two types of hierarchy within a company. You have the managers. They are the ones that protect the process and manage everyone the same. Then you have leaders. Leaders are the ones who are out in front, looking for new and better ways. You know who the individuals are that are waiting to be told what to do. The difference between successful businesses and people who grow in those businesses are the ones who are leading and not just managing what they have always done.
5. Change before you have to: If you wait to change, it is too late. I work with lots of businesses and people that are doing what they did years ago. We don’t want to discount what has worked in the past, but the market is changing and we have to be in front of it, if you aren’t, you will get behind and never be able to catch up. It’s no different in life. If you think that your degree that you earned from college 10 years ago is enough education, you are wrong, you have to continue to increase your skills and your knowledge. If you wait until someone makes you increase your skills, the chances are, they won’t. Instead, they will just go and find someone who already possesses the skills they need.
6. If you don’t have a competitive advantage don’t compete: Several years ago in my business I had to make a decision that included making significant strategy changes, which included eliminating several peoples positions. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after looking at several years worth of data, and looking at the current market, the decision was clear. We were competing for customers in a market where we didn’t have a comeptieve advantage. The decision was hard, but it was necessary to invest our resources into the more profitable areas of our businesses. Jack Welch said that when he was CEO of GE that he wanted the company to be #1 or #2 in each of the markets they were competing in, and if they couldn’t be, they got rid of those divisions.
What I like about these 6 rules the most, is that they apply to business as well as us as individuals. What if you started applying these rules in your business? What if you started applying them in your personal life? What would be the results?
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To your success and your future.
If you didn’t know this already, you will now. We are currently in a leadership crisis in our workforce. According to Gallup and Dale Carnegie Training companies, the current workforce is made up of a bunch of workers who aren’t really excited to be doing the work they are supposed to be doing. Nope. According to their research and their continued follow up on the research, they continue to see only about 30% of the workforce at any given time is actively engaged with their work and their company.
According to the research and specifically Dale Carnegie Training companies research. There are three major contributors that impact employee engagement. You can access white papers here on some of the research conducted.
- 1st: The employees relationship with their immediate supervisor.
- 2nd: Belief in Senior Leadership
- 3rd: Belief in the company.
As you can see all three are directly controlled by leadership, or in many cases the lack of leadership.
So what can you do about it? Well, here is the 1 BIG WAY. I understand most management and leaders are overwhelmed by many tasks and requirements of their positions. I get that. However, leaders have to spend time with people. The time you spend will show appreciation to the team members. You will also understand them better by knowing what their values and motivations are. Time spent increases trust and respect. These are two very important characteristics all leaders must have.
So what else does spending time allow you to do?
- You will be able to instill a sense of purpose in your employees because you will know them better.
- You increase communications with your employees by spending time. I have worked with hundreds of companies and the number one complaint I always hear is “lack of communication in the organization.” Spending time with your employees will obviously increase communication and their perception of increased communication.
- Employees want to work in an environment where they feel that they are supported. When you spend time with people it shows that you are supporting them and the projects that they are working on to serve the company and the business.
- Employees want to be bought in to the mission and vision of the company. When you spend time with them. You have a chance to reinforce the mission and vision of the organization and this creates more buy-in from the people that are critical for executing the mission.
As a leadership trainer I have done extensive research in the areas of employee motivation and human motivation. If you are interested in learning more about either of these topics, which feed into employee engagement complete the form below.
To your success and your future.
As a trainer, speaker and author for many years. I know what good training is and what bad training is. I have delivered both of them myself. I apologize publicly now to those participants. They probably know who they are. Also, I know the difference because I have experienced both myself many many times as a participant.
So what is the difference between good training versus bad training?
I am follower of many authors and speakers. Many of them are ones that I reference in my training courses. They are really good at speaking and motivating or inspiring you to think differently about your situation or about what a future situation could look like. We all need these kinds of people and events in our life.
However, we also need what I call “skill” based training. Meaning we actually look at concepts, learn them, and then apply them in a classroom environment/training environment where a coach can provide us feedback on how we applied the new skill in an application based approach. This is the difference between good training and bad training.
How it works:
We all must have the right attitude when we attend a training session. This is on you to bring it with you. Then it is up to the trainer to deliver new knowledge. It may not be totally new knowledge, but it is knowledge that you think you know, or you used to know, and you may not be applying it correctly, or at all at this point in time. Which is why you are in the training to begin with. Then, once you have the new knowledge you then must apply it two different ways.
1st: In a real situation in the classroom environment where a coach can provide you feedback on how well you did it. We call this role-playing.
2nd: You apply it in the real world (in a real life scenario at your workplace) and then you tell your coach how it worked for you. The coach would then provide you some feedback based on how well the situation went or didn’t go.
Lastly, you now take these new skills that you are applying frequently and start to change these into a skill or habit. All of this takes time and a coach.
Now the other necessary requirements for good training versus bad training is this. I typically have adults in my training courses. Adults are busy, they have children, they usually know it all already (this isn’t you is it), they have been doing their job for many years, they don’t have the time to devote to training, etc.
So what does good training need for adults to actually learn:
Adults must want to learn: This goes back to the attitude I mentioned earlier. We make decisions for two reasons. We are usually desperate or we are inspired. My hope is when you attend a training session you are inspired to do so. However, if you are desperate, it works to. I just don’t recommend waiting that long to get there.
Adults will learn only when they see how they can apply it: It must help them today. If it isn’t going to help them today, they are most likely not going to be interested in the training.
Adults learn by doing: As I mentioned above, good training has an application piece to it. Where you actually apply what you just learned and then get feedback on how well you did it.
Adults have problems: We all do right (lol). However, an adult must see a problem with what they are currently doing and they can also see how the training can solve their problems.
Experience exists: Adults usually bring a certain amount of experience to the table during training. They want to see how they can use that experience and then use the new knowledge and build upon that experience to a desired solution. Good training allows adults to do just that.
Adults learn best in an informal situation: Children have to follow a curriculum. Often, adults learn by taking responsibility by the value and need of content they require to understand and the particular goals it will achieve, being in an inviting environment and having roles as an active participant in the learning process makes it efficient. (wikipedia)
Adults want guidance: Adults want guidance on how they did and how they can do it better. This guidance will allow them to become better at their job and provide for their family. They want guidance on how they can apply the concepts in what they are already doing. They don’t want to be told what they have to do and they don’t want to have to use everything the exact way. They want to be able to take what they know and the new knowledge and apply it the way they see it working.
Now is this a promotion for Dale Carnegie Training? Maybe. Because we do exactly what I just outlined above. So yes it is. However, it is how adults learn as well. You can’t argue that.
If you are an owner, manager, leader, or an individual and are looking to enhance your skills in leadership, sales, communication, employee engagement, presenting in front of a group, customer service, etc. you name it and the chances are we can assist you.
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just respond in the comments area on this post.
To your success and your future.
According to Gallup, PEW, and based off our own internal research at Dale Carnegie training, the current workforce has a serious disengagement problem. According to the research it states that only 30% or so of the workforce is fully engaged. Which means the other 70% of the workforce is just showing up, or even worse they are sabotaging the workforce because they are actively disengaged.
So what does it all mean.
Fully engaged employees:
- Stay with organization longer
- Contribute to bottom line
- Commit to productivity and quality
- Concentrate on tasks not outcomes
- Want to be told what to do
- Do it, get paid, go home
- Sow seeds of negativity
- Sabotage progress
- Express mistrust and animosity
The biggest contributing factor to engagement in the workplace has to do with the relationship an employee has with their immediate supervisor. If they have a good relationship the employee is more apt to be fully engaged at work. The feel like they are contributing and they also feel valued as an employee to the company. The immediate manager has the most direct influence on these feelings.
So what can the immediate manager do:
Know what is expected of them: Against some people’s beliefs, all anyone really wants to know on the job is what is expected of them. If they know what that is, then they can do it. Uncertainty or unclear guidelines can be frustrating. Managers must establish this.
How is it measured: After they understand what is expected of them, the second thing they want to know is how are these expectations measured. Again, clarity is the key. A manager can say this is what you are responsible for and this is how we will measure whether you did it or not. Pretty simple stuff, so why don’t managers do it?
Have the equipment and resources to do the job: Now that I know what is expected of me and how it is measured. The next question is: Will you set me up for success. Meaning: will you provide me with the equipment, the leads (sales), the tools for me to be successful? The manager must clearly communicate how the individual will be supported.
Be given the opportunity to do what they do best, every day: I can tell you from my own experience as I am sure you can as well. All any of us want is an opportunity to do the very best we can. Meaning we have the right resources and support in place and then we are allowed to go out and make it happen. This kind of autonomy leads to highly engaged employees.
Have a manager or supervisor who cares about them: I know some of you read the word care and cringe. Well, care, means exactly what it means. However, to take it a step further, it just means the manager or supervisor values the employees contribution to the team and what they bring to the company.
Be surrounded by employees who have a similar drive for quality: Nobody wants to be on a team where one of the team members are not pulling their weight. We all have seen this before. In a highly competitive world we truly are only as strong as our weakest link. The immediate manager must address performance issues head on and quickly before it becomes a major problem.
Have opportunities to learn and grow: One of the basic desires for all human beings, is the desire to continue to grow and take on new challenges. It has always been the case. However, it is especially important to the millennial generation. They want to be exposed to more opportunities and they want constant feedback on ways they can get better. They appreciate additional training.
As the Managing Director of Dale Carnegie Training in Kentuckiana and Cincinnati we work with companies and individuals in implementing strategies to fight and correct engagement issues.
We do this by working with Senior Leaders on development plans for front line supervisors as well as the employees to ensure the right kind of environment is created within their companies.
If you are interested in learning more about these topics. Email me.
To your success and your future.
I am finishing up a great read on coaching from a managers perspective. The book is titled Coaching For Improved Work Performance; Increase productive, raise quality, reduce absenteeism, get more creativity, increase sales. The author is Ferdinand F. Fournies. He has written several books around the this topic.
What is a management?
1. We can all agree that management is getting things done through others. This is the basis of all management. Which means you must equip the people you manage so they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
Picture this: It’s a Monday morning at 7:00 and you (the manager) can’t make it to work that day. You are sick. So you call in and don’t show up. What happens that day at work while you are gone? There is a high likelihood that if you manage sales people, sales will still be made that day by your team. Outbound phone calls to potential customers will still be made. If you manage a customer service office. Customers will still be serviced by your team. If you are in manufacturing, whatever it is you manufacture will still be manufactured.
Now lets flip this scenario upside down. Lets say its Monday. You have a few people on your team that are sick. So they call in and are unable to show up. What happens to the work that day? Do the calls still get made to the people who want to buy? Do the customers still get serviced at the level they expect with fewer people there? If you are in manufacturing, do the things you manufacture still get manufactured? The chances are, none of this happens. Production is stalled because you are missing your team.
So lesson number #1 in management is this. You need them more than they need you.
2. Management is a series of interventions. It is based on the things you do and the way you interact and behave as a manager. Everything you do on the job is being interpreted by your team this way. “Is this for me or against me.” So you must do things the right way every single time.
3. Something I have been guilty of is trying to be an amateur psychologist. We don’t have to be psychologists to be effective managers, nor should we. There is no such thing as an amateur psychologist. You either have your PH.d in it or you don’t, the chances are you don’t, so don’t try to be one.
4. In management, you are not buying people, or their minds, their values, you are only renting their behaviors. Managers jobs are not to change people or their values. Management is to change people’s behaviors and get them performing the behaviors you are renting from them.
5. Back to being an amateur psychologist which you aren’t. If you are trying to determine why or why not people are doing the things they are doing, just stop it. Instead ask them why they chose to do this, instead of doing that. Most of the time people don’t know what to do, because they only know what they know. Your job as a manager is to make sure they have enough information to pursue alternatives in their decision-making process. If you want people to make better decisions on what they do, be sure they have as many choices as necessary to choose from. Yes this requires training. Training helps educate employees in the different choices they can choose from when making decisions and performing the behaviors you are paying them to perform.
6. In scientific management we use a term called behavior modification. Most managers are equipped to deal with behavior modification because we can look at a behavior and determine whether it was correct or incorrect. We can also measure it, and ask for them to correct it if necessary and we have the ability to see when it changes. People management is managing behaviors.
This book is a great read and these six absolutes can get you back on track as a manager if you have inadvertently gotten away from what your job is as a manager.
To your success and your future.
The word disease in humans often refers to any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, or social problems. It can also be used to reference injuries, disabilities, syndromes, and disorders.
Diseases are usually diagnosed through tests because a person has some symptoms or signs that give clues to a possible disease could exist. A good doctor with experience can listen to a patient and conduct the necessary tests and exams to determine if they have a certain disease or some other abnormality.
Unfortunately, some diseases are not curable, however a large majority are. Modern medicine has made this possible. It just requires a person to be aware of themselves and their body.
What about the diseases that I see in business, in companies, and in leadership on a daily basis that are curable as well? Many of these leaders and companies are not aware of the symptoms and signs, so they are not even thinking they have a disease.
Instead they have their head buried in the sand, or they sit in their offices all day. They don’t realize the impact that these diseases are having on their business and the people in their company.
Many leaders are so unaware of the signs and symptoms that these diseases exist. Instead these diseases are causing adverse effects on the people within the company and the company itself from realizing its full potential.
Here are the eight diseases that I see in business and leaders that can be cured.
Indecision: The inability to make a decision.
Have you ever been paralyzed by a decision that you need to make and delayed it. In some cases you delayed so long that it didn’t have the result you had hoped, because you waited too long. It could be a decision to change careers, buy this home over another home, implement this new process or not, promote this employee over another, etc.
Second question: After you finally made the decision. Did you say to yourself “I took the right amount of time to make that decision?” Speaking from experience as I look at most of the significant decisions I have made in my life, the chances are I delayed making the decision longer than I should have.
In most cases, the decisions that were most positive that I eventually made, I never said I took the right amount of time to make those decisions. I would say that I wish I would have made the decision sooner in almost all decisions that have been of significance.
As a leader what is the impact on your company and your people by not making a decision?
Indifference: The lack of interest or concern.
As a leader you have to be interested. If you aren’t interested, then we know you aren’t leading. You have to be interested in people and your business. I have heard leaders and people say they don’t care and therefore they don’t have an opinion. This is not leading. If you are leading your life, or if you are leading others, you have to be interested. You can’t have a ho-hum, it will be what it will be attitude. Nope, you have to be all in and your action must show that you are all in.
Indifference is a disease, it will eat away at you over time and will cause you to just exist and not make your presence known. Leaders of people can’t be indifferent, you have to be concerned and you have to be interested.
Inaction: Staying still and not moving things forward.
I am sure you are no different from me and have had a sickly feeling where you just didn’t feel like doing something. Maybe your stomach hurt a little, not so painful that you were bent over, just a little achy. Or maybe it was a headache, that could be caused by seasonal allergies, or just a little stress. Again, you are not dying or anything you just don’t feel well.
I have had that feeling many times and without a doubt when I get up and start moving I feel so much better. I get involved in something and almost forget that I even felt bad.
This same feeling happens to people and companies as well. When a leader isn’t moving things forward and action is taking place, people get lethargic and can even fall sick. Leaders realize that inaction can kill success and any momentum they might have and they act.
Insanity: Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
The most common definition we use for insanity in business it the one I used. And it is a disease that has taken its toll on many leaders and many companies. In Charles Duhiggs book “The Power of Habit.” he states that 70% of the things we do everyday are driven by our habits. Meaning we don’t even have to think about doing them. Our minds do them automatically. Kind of scary isn’t it.
If this is the case in our life, what about our business? What are the things we are dong over and over, because that is just the way we do them?
Leaders have to stop the insanity and look for new ways of doing things to get different results. There is an old saying: “If we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we have always gotten.”
I believe that is false now. I believe that “If you keep doing what you have always done, you won’t get what you have always gotten, you will get less, and in many cases a lot less.”
Insecure: Lacking self-confidence
If you show me an insecure leader, I will show you a leader that is failing or about to fail. Insecurity is an internal problem. Let me give you an example. As a leader if you can’t realize that you are not competing with the people on your team on how good you look or how much authority you command, then you are insecure.
Leaders must be secure in their jobs and their own skin to allow others to take credit for what they have done. Leadership is not taking credit, it is not showing your authority, leadership is getting the right people for the job and allowing them to look like the hero.
If you are in a leadership position, and you can’t take a back seat when things go well and allow others to have some of the credit, then you should not be a leader.
Indirect: Not saying it clearly and to the point.
I once had a leader tell me that they were so nice to people that when they conducted a termination, the employee came back to work the next day thinking they still had a job. I know you are currently thinking, how dumb are they (the leader).
The point is that this leader was trying to be so nice that they beat around the bush and the message that needed to be communicated did not get communicated.
How often does this happen in business though? Instead of being direct and getting the message across, a leader instead tries to massage it, and by doing so it has unintended consequences. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “To be unclear is to be unkind.”
Look at the example I shared about the leader not clearly communicating to the employee that they were terminated. How unkind was it when that employed show up the next day at work. Sad. Direct is better.
Inefficient: Wasting or failing to make the best use of time or resources.
Working in a fairly large business for the last twelve years of my career. I have realized the inefficiencies a company and leaders can create. This costs the company money and they also cause a lack of motivation from its employees, which also costs a lot of money.
Smart people don’t want to be jacked around or manipulated. They want to know what it is that needs to be done, and they will go out and do it. When leaders suggest to employees that they should invest their time and resources into a project, a concept, a task, and the employee does so. Once they come back around and make recommendations based on what it is they learned by investing their time and resources. Good employees don’t want to find out that this was not something that was that important or something that is going to be considered be the company.
When this happens the leaders not only wasted the company’s time and resources by having the employee do that work, but they also just told the employee that they don’t value their time, as evident with allowing them to waste their time pursuing a project that wasn’t even being considered.
Insensitive: Showing or feeling no concern for others’ feelings.
You might be saying to yourself how can you be not “Indirect” as well as telling us that leaders need to be more sensitive to its employees. Here is what I say to that:
I can be direct and still have feelings. I can be direct and still care. When it is time to be direct with someone, the sensitivity should have already been established. If it is hasn’t it is too late.
Each and every day as a leader you are making deposits with your team and people within your company, these deposits should display that you are sensitive to their needs and you are aware of their contributions and existence. The likelihood of having to be really direct and challenging to someone on a daily basis is probably very slim. Business just doesn’t work that way. However, you do have to be sensitive and aware on a daily basis and the good leaders realize that and make it a point to demonstrate it daily.
Many diseases are curable. Many diseases if treated can be eliminated. Not all, but most. The above diseases can be cured in all cases. How do you cure them?
By doing the following leaders can start to cure them if they exist.
Realize: Are we realizing our full potential or are we missing the mark on what we are capable of as a company or as an individual leader.
Then: You have to become aware of the symptoms and signs. Maybe that can be done by someone internally, but more than likely you need someone from he outside, a specialist ( a doctor), to take a look at your company to see if these symptoms and signs exist. When you have gotten used to the symptoms and signs, they just become normal to you, having someone else look at them is the only way.
Secondly: Are you committed to eliminating the diseases? What does it take and am I willing to do it? My hope would be that the answers to these questions would be yes.
Lastly: Make the commitment and do it. It will require coaching. It will require a shift in thinking. It will require training and development. And lastly, it may require a change in some of the leaders in your organization.
We all know that when a disease is not treated that it can spread and spread. The best way to eliminate a disease is to diagnose it and treat it immediately before it has the chance to spread. That is the same way you treat these IN’s within your company. You identify it and you treat it.
To your success and your future.
Brian Willett is an author, trainer and speaker. You can find more articles and resources at brianwillettgroup.com
Many companies have a huge problem right now. Some realize they have this problem, while others are clueless. They are trying to fix symptoms of the problems instead of the problem itself.
You can read poll after poll about the disengagement that exists in many companies right now. Dale Carnegie Training and MSW research partnered in 2012 and discovered that out of 1,500 employees polled that close to 70% of these employees are disengaged from their current employer and in their job.
So what does disengagement mean?
There are three classifications for workers in these studies.
Engaged: Employees who are committed and actively involved in contributing to the company.
Not engaged: Employees that show up everyday, but will not go the extra mile for the company. Are really looking for a reason to leave.
Disengaged: Are really seeking to hurt the company. These employees have negative attitudes and do more harm than good.
As the chart below by Gallup shows , millennial’s have the least amount of engagement in the workforce compared to their peers.
The research conducted by Dale Carnegie and Associates found that there are three major contributors that determine engagement by employees in the workforce.
- The employees relationship with their immediate manager
- Belief in Senior Leadership
- Belief in the organization
For years I have heard this saying “People don’t quit companies, they quit people” (managers). They quit bosses or so-called leaders. I know this is true first hand, and you most likely do as well. The research by Dale Carnegie and Associates confirmed this is true from the respondents, by discovering that the number one reason for engagement at work is the relationship a person has with their immediate manager.
Managers, Directors, Supervisors, etc. are the ones managing the day-to-day operations of a business. These leaders are the ones that are required to keep the employees engaged in getting the job done. Unfortunately, many of these leaders are not fully engaged themselves.
These day-to-day leaders are instead dealing with the problems amongst themselves from the decisions that are being made at the Senior Leadership level.
Here are five reasons that lead to disengagement that I have been a part of my self, and witnessed in many companies. These five things are driving disengagement at the manager and director level. Which is trickling down to the rest of the organization as well.
- The leaders who are making the decisions about the business are the ones furthest away from the actual day-to-day business.
- I understand that most companies are one step away from being sued for any reason a slighted employee can think of. However, in an effort to keep everything consistent, many great employees are being prevented from earning more or getting more perks. Which causes great employees to be less enthusiastic about the work. These decisions are usually made by senior leadership or a department that knows very little about the day-to-day jobs of the employees.
2. When people are more concerned about protecting their territory than making the best business decisions.
- It is a blood bath sometimes at the different levels of leadership within an organization. I have watched senior leadership make decisions strictly to go against the best interest of the company, all in an effort to make themselves look better and to show they have control over another leader.
3. When decisions are based on emotions instead of facts.
- Often times we as humans make decisions strictly on our emotions. If you think for a few seconds you can come up with a recent decision you made strictly on feelings and emotions. If this is the case for most individuals, why would we be any different at work? The answer is we are not.
- Unfortunately, the people who have the ability to make many of the decisions are not making the decisions on facts, instead they are making them on emotions. Those emotions could be nostalgia, the decision could go against a previous decision that they made, it could be ego, or insecurity. All of these are emotional reasons. And guess who is not that emotionally tied to the decision? The manager or employee that is looking at the issues objectively. Which then creates more discontent with the individual that has to live with the emotionally determined decision.
4. When leaders make decisions, but don’t implement strategies to manage the decisions.
- I can remember many times in my career where a major initiative was decided upon by senior leadership. The initiative might have been a decision to serve the employees better through some kind of perk or incentive. Or it could have been a major process or policy change that could alleviate a lot of frustration or extra work among a certain department or group within an organization. These decisions were made and communicated to everyone that needed to know about it. Then after a few months or a in as short as a few weeks, everyone could tell that this decision wasn’t actually that important, because no measurement or management was implemented to ensure that the decision was carried out.
5. Everyone wants to be a gangster until its time to do gangster shit. (Tony Soprano)
- I have found that most leaders just want the title. Especially at the Senior Leadership level. They get the title, but they don’t want the responsibility. Unfortunately, by the time they get the title it is too late. Poor executives/senior leadership will hire a manager or director and hope that this new hire or promoted internal candidate will fix everything. This is rarely the case. Senior leaders are relying on managers and directors to carry out the hard stuff while they sit back and dictate what needs to be done. Unfortunately, the managers and directors are watching senior leaders who aren’t willing to do the hard stuff themselves. This is their example. Guess who gets hurt in all of this lack of decision-making and accountability? The employees and the company.
So what do you do about this? What can you do if you have this in your organization?
It starts with candid feedback for everyone within the organization. It requires a senior level leader to take a hard look at what is going on within their company and then having the desire and the nuts to fix it.
The other way to get a grip on it. Is to hire a company or an individual to come in and do an assessment and get a feel for what is going on within the organization.
In either case, leadership has to be willing to take the necessary steps to change the culture and organization around. This is where the hard stuff begins.
Senior level leaders can’t expect managers and directors who are running the day-to-day operations to be engaged in the business and get others to be engaged in the business if they are not doing what they can to ensure the managers and directors are engaged first.
To your success and your future.
Research: Dale Carnegie and Associates Employee Engagement study (2012)
Dale Carnegie and Associates recently conducted a global survey of 3,300 full-time employees across the globe. The research was centered around leadership and the impact leadership has on the employees motivation to work and to stay with the company.
One of the staggering statistics that came from the research was that 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking for a job now and would like to be in a different company and position in 2017.
One of the topics they asked the respondents was: Comparative Importance and Performance of Supervisors of Effective Leadership Behaviors. This means what is an important leadership behavior that you want your leader to have; and do they.
84% of the respondents said that having a supervisor who has the humility to admit when they are wrong or when they make mistakes is a very important leadership behavior they want in their leaders. And 51% of the respondents said that they have supervisors that admit it consistently.
I don’t think we have to discuss why 84% of the respondents believe it is important. We all have been around someone who we knew was wrong before. And that person, most likely even knew they were wrong, but they wouldn’t admit it. How did those situations sit with you?
The chances are you were furious. You were annoyed. You were perplexed that this person was wrong, and you knew it, they knew it, and everyone else knew it, but they were unwilling to admit it.
In our personal lives when this scenario plays out we are more likely to call the person out. You might say something like “Come on man, you know you are wrong”. “Are you serious, do you really not see that you are wrong on this”. “Admit it you are wrong”. Growing up with two brothers I know I have said this many of times, and they said it to me as well.
However, on the job people are not as casual about it, especially to their supervisor, and definitely not to senior leadership. Most employees would not call out the leadership this way.
So instead what happens, the employee goes back to work. And like I said in the scenario above. They are frustrated, annoyed, furious, and perplexed that the supervisor or other leaders was wrong and everybody knows it, but they wouldn’t admit it.
I am not a psychologist, but I understand that we as humans have an innate desire to not be wrong. We like to believe that we don’t make mistakes. That we do the right things. That we do what we say we are going to do. That we are always on top of things. But if you are reading this, it means you are a human and as a human you know that this is just not the case.
We are not always on top of things and we are definitely not always right. We are going to make mistakes. If you are in leadership you are going to make them a lot, because you are making lots of decisions everyday. That is really your job. To make decisions. And you aren’t always going to make the right decisions, because you won’t always have all of the information. Which is okay. It is impossible to have all of the information. You take what you have at the time, decide, and move on.
Because the nature of leadership is making decisions. If you are a leader you have to become better, I mean really good at admitting mistakes. Just admit it. Own up to it. Once you do this it shows your team that you are genuine, that you are transparent, and this makes them trust you. And this is what it all comes down to. TRUST.
The statistic of 4 out of 10 employees surveyed are looking to find another job. Why do you think that is? Well, if they can’t trust their supervisor or the leadership, then why work at the company. Trust is a fundamental requirement to all relationships. Without trust nothing can exist in my opinion. Trust is the foundation.
If you aren’t willing to admit when you wrong then you are technically a liar, or you are stupid, which is worse. People don’t want to work for a liar, and they definitely don’t want to work for an idiot, which is another blog for another day.
To your success and your future.