Following on from my previous article on setting goals for employees, you have told them what to do, they should just do it; Right?
So you have sat down with your employees and created plans for them to follow...
You now have a clear picture in your head of what should be done and when it should be completed. Unfortunately, it's time for a reality check. Have you made sure that during this process you have asked your employee to get their perspective on what they should be doing, how they should be doing it and when it is possible to have it done by?
Why do I need to do that?- communication
The simple fact is that during any communication process there is room for error. We have all played games as children where we pass messages to each other and somehow by the time it gets to the last person the message is definitely not the same message as it was at the beginning.
Why do I need to do that?- knowledge
This is an opportunity for you to tap into the knowledge of others and learn something new. We know that successful business owners are constantly looking to increase their knowledge and some of the greatest sources of untapped knowledge may be walking past you every day in your workplace (your employees!). Always have an open mind to accept new ideas and listen to the thoughts of others to find areas for improvement in your business.
Why do I need to do that?- reality
Everyone has a different perspective on reality and on what can be achieved within a specific timescale. During the planning phase it is critical that you are both on the same page on what can realistically be achieved within the provided time limit.
As you demonstrate this understanding of the situation your employee will become more and more comfortable with the fact that you trust them to complete the task or project and subsequently feel empowered in their role.
It´s so easy to be a critic
As an employee gets underway with the task or project there is a tendency for the business owner or manager to interrupt the process and undermine the confidence of their staff. We all know that if we are doing something and someone comes along and tells us that we aren't doing it properly we get frustrated, disheartened and unmotivated. Criticism is all around us every day and is one of the easiest ways for people to believe that they are "helping" the situation. In reality the effects can be catastrophic to the results of a business. Criticism is a disease that can eat away at the confidence and success of an enterprise and destroy team moral - I have witnessed this and it is painful to see.
The cold hard truth is that if an employee is not doing their job properly we should look at who was leading, training and educating that person in the workplace. In small to medium businesses this is often the business owner. If it wasn't you then take a moment to think to yourself "but am I really responsible for the training of this person?" The answer will always be a resounding - YES!!! So take it upon yourself to front up and do something about it.
Isn´t it nice when someone says something nice?
Instead of being critical (the easy path) why don't you step up to the next level and find something nice to say about someone. Saying something positive, makes people feel better, boosts moral and inspires people to keep up good behaviours and hopefully discard bad ones. It is this positive encouragement that can really lift up a team member and raise them to a level of energy and commitment that you may not have even thought possible.
You know yourself that if someone gives you a compliment you get a smile on your face and end up feeling better about yourself and the situation that you are in.
How to "Catch people doing something good"
As you observe going about their daily tasks or activities, this is the perfect opportunity to congratulate them on the great work they are doing. A simple "wow, that looks fantastic" or " you were excellent with that customer, and I really appreciate that" will be incredibly effective at providing motivation and keeping people focused on their goals.
Be spontaneous and random with your praise, there is no set program for this but I do encourage people to find at least two opportunities every day to praise their staff.
In summary...The end result of:
making sure that you and your employee are on the same wavelength
not being critical
ensuring that you provide leadership throughout the activities
providing positive reinforcement for good behavior will be higher productivity and happier employees.
Now get out there and make sure you put these steps into practice with your people.