Create an environment
that empowers people.
Are you depriving your employees
of the opportunity to excel? Most organizations revolve around the manager as
controller model but attempts to control people's behavior can cause resentment.
As Peter Druker says, "A leader's job is to make people's strengths effective
and their weaknesses irrelevant."
By setting goals so high
that only a few can reach them, we limit others. Set a standard and people reach
for that, even if they may be capable of more. Goal setting can limit productivity.
There is a delicate balance
between what is just right and what is too far out of reach. Aim too high and
it's defeating, aim too low and it's not motivating. The most important part
of goal setting is that people, who have to reach the goal, also set them. Often
goals are set because a manager wants to force an outcome. People perceive this
and don't feel like a part of the process so they don't buy into the end result
enough to make it happen. Results depend on people, so it makes sense that people
set, buy into and drive the goal setting process.
Here are some tips on setting
1) set goals and standards
individually for each employee. Help them create their own goals. A goal should
be thought of as an agreement between a manager and an employee;
2) get to know employees and their abilities. People will respect you if you
bring out their own sense of worth;
3) watch employees to see what inspires them and encourage them to do more of
4) try to see things from the perspective of the employee. A realistic goal
to you may not seem realistic to them;
5) think of the manager's job being to support employees in reaching their goals.
Managers are a resource for employees;
6) be on the lookout for ways to help bring out the best in others. Instead
of saying "I need you to be more productive." Ask, "how can I help you be more
7) be open minded and flexible to new ideas, suggestions, work habits and behavior.
Make Mistakes More Often
Encourage employees to risk
making mistakes and create an atmosphere that encourages them to be open when
errors occur. Usually when people make mistakes they feel guilty and try to
cover up, sometimes even from themselves. The opportunity to learn from the
mistake becomes hidden as well. Mistakes are a part of growth. Bring them out
in the open and let others learn from the example. This will foster an environment
of openness that encourages creativity and autonomy. Celebrate errors and victories
Vision of the Whole
Keep the operation and vision
of the company top of mind for everyone. When emphasizing this department or
that process we often create value judgments, competition and detachment from
other parts of the organization. Instead, encourage employees to see every move,
change or activity as it affects the whole company. Vision isn't one-dimensional.
It includes all employees, suppliers, customers, competition-even the political
and social environment.
Make Information Accessible
Imagine your first day
on the job in a new company. As you walk in the door you notice rooms that are
off limits to everyone but the managers. Day after day you start to see that
information is carefully guarded and watched. Many meetings occur behind closed
doors. As managers walk around, you sense they know something you don't. Does
this sound like a fun and productive work environment?
What's the big deal? Why
do we guard information so carefully? Company information is often seen as intellectual
property, for both the company and for individuals. People put effort into creating
information and ideas and start to take ownership of it. In doing so, it becomes
territorial and guarded. Pretty soon it creates a separation between those who
have access to information and those who don't. Individuals start to see they
are excluded and feel disconnected from the whole vision of the organization.
Information bonds people
to one another. It is an important part of the positive growth and community
of an organization. Cutting people off from access to information is unhealthy
for the company. Find ways to make information accessible to everyone. If meetings
must occur behind closed doors then make sure others in the department are included.
Bring their information and ideas to the meeting. Create an "after meeting"
follow up bulletin that discusses what was said.
Try to include employees
in the information even though they may not have been at the forefront of the
change. Explain the reason for a change, how it will serve management, employees,
customers, suppliers, etc. Keep employees well informed of what is going on,
why it is happening and how it affects their job and the company as a whole.
Ask for suggestions and involve everyone as much as possible. Remember, employees
are the resource that makes things happen, thus it is essential to get their