It goes without saying that your employees are critical to the success of your business. But Happy team (fingers) in my opinion, too often we treat them like they play for some other team. We keep them at arms-length. We don’t involve them in decisions. We neglect to share the firm’s vision and long-term goals. We don’t spend nearly enough time educating them about what makes the organization unique and what drives its success. And then we expect commitment, trust, and great service for our customers. Good luck.
If you want a committed, inspired, and motivated staff you have to do the things that will build that level of trust and teamwork. If you want a cohesive group of employees, then you have to proactively build it.
So, how can you make that happen? Here are a few ideas:
Pretty much everyone wants to feel that they are part of the team. They want to know that their opinion matters and that their work matters. A great way to do that is to involve employees in strategic decisions and goal-setting when possible. While employees may have different levels of experience with developing a business strategy, most will have some sort of useful input into where your organization is going and certainly about where it is today. Even if they provide only a very small amount of input, they will appreciate being involved and will have a greater understanding of the reasoning behind the organization’s strategic direction. An employee who understands this and feels a part of it will be better equipped to play their role within the organization.
Educate and Train Them
Of course it’s important to give your staff the expertise, the training, and the tools they need to do their jobs well. But they also need to understand how they fit in the bigger picture of your organization. They should know how their job impacts the organization. Work with each staff member to make sure they understand the organization’s values and goals and what makes the organization unique and profitable. And then discuss how their specific role can have an impact on the success of the overall organization.
Get to Know Them
But never forget that employee development is a two-way street. It’s great to ensure that they understand how their role is important, but you also need to show interest in their goals. Invest the time to understand what their aspirations are – and then see how their goals can be matched to their current position and/or other places at the company. Work with them to develop a pathway between where they are now and what they would like to achieve. Take an active interest in helping your staff develop and reach their goals. They will feel more fulfilled, will appreciate your interest, and they will be better, more engaged employees as a result.
Another important aspect of developing your employees into the staff you want them to be, is to place your trust in them. Think of each position as a road with guardrails on each side. The guardrails can be set pretty far apart. Then show them that you trust them to drive between the guardrails – but where possible provide them some freedom between those guardrails. Give your staff some latitude to do their jobs well, to show initiative, to provide remarkable service to customers, and to make decisions. Show them that you trust their judgment. As long as they act in alignment with the organization’s values and goals (stay between the guardrails), give them flexibility to use their judgment and make decisions. My first boss after graduating from college had a philosophy about managing people: “If I feel like I have to look over your shoulder all the time, I’ve hired the wrong person”.
Your staff (especially when given direction, guardrails, and freedom) will make decisions. It’s important that you show them that you support those decisions. Avoid constant second-guessing. They may make a different decision than you would in a given situation, but as long as they remain between those guardrails, allow them to own the decision. Now, they won’t always make perfect decisions (who among us does?), but you can simply correct them when they don’t.
As you can tell, I believe in transparency and openness. Hire the right people, train them, place your trust in them, and then let them perform and grow. Help your employees understand how what they do makes a difference. Share knowledge. Treat them with respect. Support them. Educate them. Give them autonomy. Demonstrate that you stand behind their decisions. Help them grow professionally. These are the things that will help you develop an incredible, dedicated team.
I LOVE working with clients to help them gain clarity and confidence around a long-term direction and an organization that truly and honestly achieves. I know it’s not always easy to do that. If you think I can help your organization, feel free to reach out and get in touch with me. I’d be happy to chat with you and explore whether I can help. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore the idea a little. You can call me at (713) 907-8429 or use our CONTACT US page. I’d be happy to chat with you and explore whether I can help. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore the idea a little.
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