Feelings count… to employees they count as much as wages & hours
Post 3: Though her employees had the least tenure in James’ department, Shante’s team was performing better than the other two. She was glad to share her communication and reporting practices with her new boss.
Each week, using her key-indicator system reports, she first researched three ‘off-target challenges’ and two ‘bulls-eye wins’ that seemed to drive highs and lows in that week’s team results. Second, she sent a team email praising in detail the people and the behaviors involved in the ‘bulls-eyes.’ Also, without identifying employees, in a weekly staff meeting there was a review of the three gap areas: first covering refreshers on the missed procedures and then soliciting discussion on both the business impact of the ‘off-target’ results and ideas for supporting the clients impacted in these situations.
James was pleased that all three supervisors had intentional processes. There was definite room for improvement for Sean and Petra, and he felt the results of Shante’s team would validate the need for them each to balance their styles. Because their natural styles were so diverse, James wanted to encourage each supervisor to draft their own plans for meeting the organization goals and raising their teams’ results. As a start, he planned to create some key tips for encouraging employee improvement and set the tips as expectations for his supervisors to incorporate as they adjust their practices.
REALITY: Leaders that BOTH believe employees are willing to try AND use statistics reflecting employee competence are more likely to motivate improved performance. Believing in others is not often enough to motivate them to do their best. Performance statistics alone do not usually motivate change.
Extending the trust in employees that inspires effort:
- People believe you trust them when your relationship includes discussions of both their accomplishments and mistakes. When you discuss errors, focus on the facts, and for errors in judgment, give them a chance to share what they think caused the mistake before you share your assumptions.
- Honestly acknowledge the impact of their mistakes to whatever is most important to them: the customer, their compensation level, their reputation with peers or leaders, their career, keeping their job, etc…. Not all people value the same things; to know their priorities, you must pay attention to the individual.
Managing the analysis of performance that spurs improvement:
- To save employee time and tedious effort, choose to use accurate, system-produced data over employee-tracked detail reporting. If employees must track, make sure they see how the benefit far outweighs the effort.
- Let employees report high-level tracking for celebrations and do not spend time verifying; discrepancies will surface if they are impactful to the morale of the team. Never base compensation on employee-tracked results alone.
- Teaching employees to read their performance reports will encourage many people to manage their own improvements. Be respectful about how much detail is shared with others; always seek to encourage and never to discipline by sharing results publicly. This disrespect will demolish critically-needed trust.
Regarding communication of job expectations:
- Simplify explanations of organization goals, job expectations and reference materials so employees can maintain the big-picture direction of what the team is working to accomplish.
- Confirm each employee receives and understands regular changes in process and direction, so they can make good judgments that remain aligned to company needs.