At The Quality Coach!, we frequently start our leadership workshops out with a question: What gives you the greatest satisfaction as a supervisor or manager?
Typical responses include:
- When I get to help someone learn or grow professionally.
- When someone gets it.
- When we improve a process or solve a problem together.
- When folks do something they thought was impossible or something they were afraid to try.
- When our customers get what they need when they need it.
- When we take time to celebrate our successes.
And our follow up question: What part of your job as supervisor gives you the biggest headache or frustrates you the most?
- When employees don't listen to me or to each other, and we have unnecessary problems.
- When employees are disrespectful to one another and play the blame game.
- Poor work ethic.
- When employees don't focus on the work or the customer.
- When I have to reprimand or discipline.
Alas, the people part of our job can be the most satisfying and the most frustrating, all in one day or even multiple times a day.
As humans we have the potential to create problems or solve problems. To improve work processes or neglect them. To follow standard work instructions or ignore them. To add value or subtract value. We have the potential to assure that our customers have a great experience or a ho-hum experience.
Is there a code to tapping into the people power in your company — a password perhaps? We need another password to remember, right?
How do we consistently bring out the best in our employees? Great leaders are able to inspire. They are able to give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with external factors. Machines and robots do not require inspiration — they can be programmed. When acting from inspiration, the people power in our company or department is darned near infinite.
I can just hear you saying, "Jeanne, you don't understand. I have way too much on my plate to become the CEO of inspiration around here."
What if your employees consistently acted in the best interest of the whole organization, not because they had to but because they wanted to? What if the work was accomplished without all the drama and trauma? What if you could spend more time doing the part of your job that gives you the most satisfaction?
We have many simple practices to enable you to inspire and engage your employees. Here's one: People generally feel more a part of things and more inspired when they understand why. At the most basic level, employees need to understand why their job is important to the company, to the customer, to their colleagues.
Many employees quit their job while still receiving a paycheck. They just check out, disengage, put it on automatic. The worst part is this is contagious. Most likely these employees have lost their Why, or perhaps they never really understood how important their job is to begin with.
Most managers are pretty good at telling people what to do and how. Most managers are not so good at explaining why their directive or request is so important. Very often, that's all that it takes for employees to feel respected and inspired. Simply helping employees to connect to Why can unlock huge amounts of hidden potential.
According to Simon Sinek, author of "Start With Why," inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies.
Our Why at The Quality Coach! is to help build stronger companies and a stronger economy by tapping into the underutilized people power in every single organization we serve. We are pretty darned passionate about this. We hope you are, too.