Lead Up

Lead Up

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

The Struggle to Engage and Motivate Employees

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->La dificultad de involucrar y motivar a los empleados

Every leader faces this problem. In fact, it is a billion-dollar problem! According to Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, and 25% of employees report that they are actively disengaged. The costs associated with this are staggering in terms of lost productivity and the cost of replacing employees. Engaging and mobilizing employees can be a daunting challenge, but a few simple behaviors can make a huge difference to improve engagement.

It is frustrating to have to read minds

Many employees are frustrated because they feel like they must read their manager’s mind. They don’t know how they are doing and how they can improve their performance. The annual performance review is sometimes their only chance to find out, and that event is so stressful and formal that the environment is not always conducive for improvement.

Spans of control contribute to the problem

This situation is not completely the fault of management. In some organizations, spans of control have become so large that managers must complete formal performance reviews monthly.

The solutions are simpler than you think

There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. They cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact. For instance, one opportunity that many leaders have – even at the C-level – is to give more frequent, informal feedback about how each employee is doing. That way, everyone in an organization knows what is expected of them and how they can get better.

The 7 questions

There are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees frequently. Small, informal conversations about performance go a long way, especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.

What do I expect from you?

What are you doing well?

 What, if anything, could you be doing better?

What, if anything, do I want you to do better?

What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments?

What will happen if you don't improve?

How can I help?

While all these questions are important, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares and is not merely abdicating responsibility or shifting blame.

Blanca Robinson, Owner of VIVA Consulting Group, is an executive Coach and Business Strategist. For more information, visit www.vivaconsultinggroup.net

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

Leading When You Are Not in Charge

By Blanca Robinson

Click aqui para español->Liderar sin estar a cargo

Have you ever had thoughts like, "l bet I could solve this problem better, but the boss never asks me what I think; how can I influence my manager about what to do; what difference does it make if I like that or not — I have no power. I'm not the one in charge!"

While the statements above can be thought-provoking or feel very true to you, I am going to challenge your premise by saying that the only true statement is "I'm not the one in charge" (at least technically).

You can exert influence even when you're not the boss; it's all about learning how to Lead Up.

How, you might ask, can this happen? Simply put, being a leader isn't about something you have; it's about how you act and the attitude you have, coupled with strong working relationships.

Successful leaders know how to inspire others and find ways to unlock hidden potential in others.

They are willing to do what others won't. They personally invest in the work they do. This is especially evident in working with the boss, manager, or supervisor.

Having a strong relationship with your manager is critical in ensuring that you work together effectively, so that your influence up is exerted, and your voice is heard. If there are conflicts between you and your boss, or if you do not like your boss, there are two immediate and distinct questions:

First, are you willing to take 100% responsibility for the relationship? Often, in a conflict we tend to become victims and blame the other person or expect them to change. Like it or not, in the workplace, it is up to us to make the relationship work and to take full responsibility for our impact and the results we are achieving. We mustn't sit back and wait for the other person to act.

Second, are you willing to make the relationship work? If not, then you are effectively choosing to play the victim role by sitting back and tolerating the situation. Much like in personal relationships, such as marriage, any relationship requires an ongoing, conscious choice to make it work.

There are three things to keep in mind: 1) The relationship with your manager depends on both a strong business and personal foundation; 2) It is up to you to take full responsibility for the quality of the relationship with your manager; and 3) To strengthen the relationship with your manager, you need to fully understand what he or she values — both personally and professionally — and help him/her succeed.

Your first thought is probably why should I care if my manager succeeds? Keep in mind that even the CEO of a company has a boss — could be the biggest customer(s), members of the board, or some key employees. Everyone can benefit from taking time to assess their relationship with their superiors and how to improve it.

It is important to understand what drives your boss. How does he/she define performance, how does your boss measure success, how does your manager make decisions? The better you understand your manager's aspirations, communication and leadership styles, and definitions of performance, the better you can develop an accurate picture of your relationship with your manager. From there you can identify ways to strengthen the relationship. Are there certain behaviors from colleagues or other employees that are sure to upset your manager? What does your manager expect you to achieve? How would your manager say you are performing? How does your manager expect you to communicate progress, issues, and results? If you don't know the answer to these and other questions that may surface, either review them with a colleague

or plan a way to ask your manager directly. If you feel uncomfortable having a conversation with your manager about how he or she defines success, that says something about the quality of the relationship. Please keep in mind this is not how to suck up to your boss.

These are guidelines of how to understand what drives your manager to succeed so you may then influence decisions, ensure your voice is heard, and become an asset to your organization. This is how you can Lead Up.

Featured Articles

Archive

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Publisher's Note

As the holiday season approaches the first thing on my mind is "I can't believe the year is almost over!"

Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to count the many reasons why we should be grateful, so I take this opportunity to thank first, our readers and supporters. We are still a young project and it is very rewarding to hear your comments and to receive words of encouragement. I feel very grateful and flattered every time someone says they love what we are doing.

 I'm thankful to be doing something I enjoy, to get to know amazing people in our community, and to continue to learn new things everyday.

To our writers, editors, and contributors, I am honored you believed in VIVA NOLA since its birth and that you have stood by it, continuously sharing your talent, knowledge and skills with us and our audience.

We are growing stronger with the support from our advertisers that make this project possible. To all of you who have chosen to reach our audience and to entrust us with the responsibly of bringing your message across to potential customers, we are grateful and honored to partner with you.

I hope you all have a very special Thanksgiving celebration! Remember to remain calm and sane through the busy holiday season coming ahead.