Category Archives: Empowerment

Improving Management Team Performance

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” —Chris Hadfield

The key to improving management team performance is summarized quite nicely in the Chris Hadfield quote above. When your management team can lay the groundwork for their employees to succeed and then stand back and let them shine, the whole organization performs better. So, what should you be looking at to improve the performance of your management team?

What is their focus?

What are your managers focusing on? It can be easy for them to get caught up in focusing solely on the bottom line and forget about the employees who are contributing to that bottom line. Or, they can become so concerned with gaining recognition for themselves that they forget about the people who are really doing the work. The best management teams focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. When management spends their energy on supporting their employees in determining the ‘how’ for themselves, performance improves at every level of the organization.

How are their relationships?

What kind of relationships are your managers developing? Relationships are built on mutual trust and respect; they cannot thrive in an us vs. them environment. Without strong relationships managers are ineffective. If you want to improve the performance of your management team, help them build strong, trusting, inclusive relationships.

How do they accomplish objectives?

How do your managers accomplish the objectives that you have set for them? Many managers defer to micromanagement as a means for accomplishing tasks and achieving goals. Micromanagement kills employee engagement and does more harm to productivity than good. When you put an end to micromanagement and empower employees to make decisions and take action on their own you greatly improve performance.

As Your Management Team Performs

As your management team performs, so will their employees. Make sure your managers are focusing on the right things. Help them build the relationships that lead to efficiency and top performance. Teach them to empower and support employees in accomplishing objectives rather than micromanaging them. When your management team provides the foundation employees need to succeed and can then stand back and lets employees shine, everyone’s performance improves.

What action will you take today to start improving the performance of your management team?

 

 

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Are You the Bottleneck?

file0001035625891“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can.” —Frederick W. Smith

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Leadership is about engaging, empowering, and inspiring others. But, what happens when the leader thinks he or she knows everything, treats employees like children, thinks he or she holds all the power, or is a control freak? I’ll tell you what happens, operations start to experience a bottleneck; it slows everything down and prevents real progress. A byproduct of this bottle neck is low productivity, a poor work environment, and low employee morale. So, are you the bottleneck?

Do you think you know everything?

If you think you know everything, chances are you are the bottleneck. You can’t do everything yourself and, just because you do it, doesn’t mean it’s done better than if someone else had done it. Being a leader does not mean that you know more than anyone else or that you are always right. In order to eliminate the bottleneck you need to understand your strengths and the strengths of those you work with. Then, get off your high horse and let others do what they are good at.

Do you treat employees like children?

If you are treating others like children, you increase the chances of them behaving like children. Your employees are adults; they don’t need a babysitter. When you treat employees like children, you create a bottleneck. It’s arrogant to think that employees are incapable of understanding the big picture; to only share the information that you deem necessary for them to know is showing a lack of respect for the value they can big to the organization. To not trust them to perform their work without a babysitter shows a lack of trust. To eliminate the bottleneck, hire capable employees and then make sure they have the tools, information, environment, support, and empowerment to do their jobs.

Do you think you hold all the power?

The number one reason employees quit is because they feel the work culture is toxic. This toxicity can most often be traced to a deficiency in leadership or the abuse of power by leaders. Abuse of power can cause a leader to become a bottleneck. You must empower employees to make the decisions and take the actions necessary to do their jobs effectively without you holding your power over every move they make. Your power will never motivate your employees; they are motivated by respect, control over their own work, recognition of value, and appreciation. To eliminate the bottleneck, even with the best of intentions, remember the quote by Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Are you a control freak?

Overbearing, micromanaging leaders prevent employees from plugging into their own power. If you are a control freak, your rules, bureaucratic hierarchy, and the fear you instill in your employees will cause a bottleneck. When employees can’t make a decision or take an action without getting formal approval, obtaining a signature, or meeting with a committee, you’ve definitely created a bottleneck. This prevents perfectly capable employees from doing the job they were hired to do. In order to eliminate the bottleneck, overcome your own insecurity, loosen the reins, give employees the tools they need, and delegate tasks to them. And then, TRUST them to take care of things on their own.

Break Free from the Bottleneck

When you think you know everything, treat employees like children, think you hold all the power, or are a control freak; it says more about you than it does about anyone else. No organization can function effectively with a bottleneck. So, don’t blame your employees when the holdup is you! Learn to recognize YOUR behaviors that create the problem. And then, instead of being set on proving that you know more, can do more, and do it better than anyone else, act as the facilitator; provide the training and resources necessary for employees to do their job. And then, take pride in them doing it better than you.

 

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

 

Developing Talent in Your Organization: Getting More from Your Employees by Giving M.O.R.E.

aditya ram21“We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe’, but by giving them the power and the means for this observation.” —Maria Montessori

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

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While Maria Montessori was speaking about the education of children, her idea applies just as well to employees and how we develop the talent in our organizations. We want to hire the best and the brightest, we get really excited when we find them, and then they leave. Why? The only way to keep employees with great potential is to give them M.O.R.E.

Have you ever had the experience of pulling into your driveway after leaving the office and realizing that you drove the whole way home on auto pilot? Sometimes I have even found myself driving, going into auto pilot mode, and heading to the office when where I intended to go was Costco. This phenomenon makes me laugh at myself, but it also gets me thinking about engaging our minds in what we are doing when tasks become routine. What might we miss along the way? Will we end up at our intended destination?

So, what happens when our employees’ tasks become routine? If they are not challenged or engaged and their mind goes on auto pilot, what might they miss? What opportunities for improvement are we sacrificing? How long will employees with great potential stay with our organization if they aren’t challenged and offered opportunity?

As a leader, you must learn to recognize the talent in your employees and give them the stage to shine. When you dedicate time and resources to developing the talent in your organization, you turn ordinary employees into extraordinary employees. If you want to get more from your employees, you are going to have to give M.O.R.E.

Motivate

Lee Iacocca emphasized that we should, “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do these things effectively, you can’t miss.” Your employees possess knowledge, skills, and experience that they want to share with your organization. When you encourage them to make the most of their talents and you invest in them, your employees will become motivated. You must recognize that each employee is unique; they possess different talents and are motivated in different ways. Show that you value their capabilities, help them further develop their talents, and motivate them based on their individual personalities.

Opportunity

Steven Spielberg believes, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” You must learn to see the extraordinary potential in each employee and give them the opportunity to reach it. Give them the necessary skills and resources they need and then let them tackle challenges on their own and in their own way. Provide a safe place for them to try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. Give employees the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves; let them learn from one another, design how their own work gets done, and make decisions on their own. Create opportunities for your employees and then help them see that opportunity is available all around them.

Relationships

Joyce Meyer tells us, “We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.” Build relationships with your employees based on mutual trust and respect. Invest your time and resources into bringing out the best in others; become their coach and loudest cheerleader. Build a strong sense of community where employees feel a sense of belonging and a vested interest in the success of the organization. Communicate openly and share information often so employees know where they stand as individuals, where the team stands, and where the organization stands. When employees know that you care and are looking out for their best interest, you will build strong relationships that foster trust and loyalty.

Empower

Tom Ridge explained, “You have to enable and empower people to make decisions independent of you. As I’ve learned, each person on a team is an extension of your leadership; if they feel empowered by you they will magnify your power to lead.” Engage employees in contributing to problem identification and solving conversations. Encourage them to make decisions and to share their knowledge and experience with others. Give them the tools they need and then empower them to make decisions and take control of their own work.

Give M.O.R.E.

Everyone benefits when employees develop their talents; productivity increases, quality improves, and morale strengthens. When you invest in your employees and provide them with opportunity you will be amazed how your culture, morale, and outcomes improve.

Your investment in the development of your employees is proof that you value them as individuals, that you recognize the contribution they make to the organization, and that you are excited about their potential. As your employees grow, so will the capabilities and success of the organization, and so will you as a leader.

Help employees reach their full potential; retain valuable talent, and improve the adaptability of the organization by giving your employees M.O.R.E.

 

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Growing New Leaders

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“Growing other leaders from the ranks isn’t just the duty of the leader, it’s an obligation.” —Warren Bennis

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Why Grow New Leaders?

Developing leaders throughout your organization places you in a position to conquer new leadership challenges where innovation and flexibility are the keys to success. When you build on the expertise within the ranks of your organization you improve efficiency and effectiveness. Growing new leaders allows you to tap into the talent and potential of your team members. Let’s look at three of the factors that promote the growing and nurturing of new leaders.

Environment

You must start by creating an environment where others have the opportunity and are encouraged to lead. Develop a culture where employees embrace collaboration and open communication. Value the diversity that offers a continual flow of new perspectives. Provide employees with an environment that challenges them in a way that engages and inspires. Encourage the sharing of ideas by asking great questions and valuing the answers you receive. Provide work that employees can feel passionate about. Network and relationship building are important factors in leadership. Help and encourage employees to build their network and develop strong relationships built on trust and respect. Implement programs where new leaders can be mentored.

Opportunity

If you want to grow new leaders you must provide them with experiences that help them understand who they are, what they stand for, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Give them the opportunity to participate in solving difficult problems. Allow them to make mistakes and help them learn how to grow from the lesson these mistakes teach. Encourage them to share their ideas and allow them to participate in planning and implementation of new ideas. Every employee has valuable ideas, insights, and perspectives; engage them in productive conversations. When employees feel like they are an integral part of the organization they will be more motivated and engaged in growing as a leader.

Aptitude

Give employees the training and experiences they need to develop leadership skills. These skills will enable them to have a positive influence on colleagues, make informed decisions, and contribute new ideas. Help them develop an understanding of their own biases and how these biases can impact decision making. Teach them to appreciate the benefits of obtaining diverse points of view. Help them develop the ability to ask the right questions so they can make sense of overwhelming amounts of information. Teach them the value of networking. Create in them an ownership mentality. And, most importantly, serve as a role-model of good leadership and show them how to bring out the best in others.

Everyone Wins

Everyone wins when you grow new leaders and develop the leadership pipeline throughout your organization. When you have individuals with leadership ability at every level of your organization you increase the speed at which you can respond to change, your ability to be flexible, and your ability to respond to uncertainty. When you become more involved in the leadership development of your employees you will experience improved employee and customer satisfaction. By growing new leaders, your organization becomes more nimble and innovative, able to respond more quickly to customer needs and changes in the business environment.

 

 

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

So, You’re a New Leader

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So, You’re a New Leader

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” —Henry A. Kissinger

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

 A New Leader

So, you’ve been promoted into a leadership position. While, as the leader, you are now responsible to plan and direct the actions of those you lead, more importantly, you must learn to inspire and empower them. You are now under the scrutiny of your new team. They want to know if you are worthy to be followed. It’s up to you to earn their trust and respect. They are going to be looking to you to provide a sense of purpose that each of them can buy into.

        What Now?

Are you prepared to lead? One of the very first things you must do as a new leader is to determine where you’re starting from, where you need to be going, and the obstacles you may face. You need to learn how things really work on the front lines so you will be better prepared provide direction and make decisions. You need to get to know your team and earn their respect. Here are some starting points for your leadership journey.

                       Self-confidence

Followers need to know that you believe in yourself. This is not arrogance but confidence. Do your homework; make sure that when you speak you know what you are talking about and then trust yourself and your judgment. Set out on a quest to continually gain new knowledge and experiences. Show followers that you are competent to lead. Live your life as an example that you can be proud of.

               Establish a foundation

Establish a solid foundation of principles, expectations, and values. Develop and clearly demonstrate through your words and actions a shared purpose and vision. Provide meaningful work where followers can take pride in their contributions. Demonstrate the authenticity of your intentions through transparent and open communication.

Develop a culture that values consistent behavior, the sharing of knowledge, and encourages collaboration. Put the right people in the right roles and show a commitment helping them become successful. Commit to quality and set up measures to monitor results. Ask great questions and really listen to the answers. Foster an environment of strong relationships, teamwork, and collaboration.

                       Engage

Be supportive of your employees. Clearly outline your expectations and give them the opportunity to come up with their own ideas rather than you dictating what they should do. Value each member of your team for what they can contribute not for their position. Remember, you don’t have all the answers so trust the knowledge and skills of your team members. Engage and encourage each of your followers to participate in the leadership of the organization. Help followers to continue to develop personally and professionally.

Encourage your team to challenge the status quo with innovative thinking. Urge team members to voice differing perspectives, not for conflict, but to improve performance. Encourage team members to connect authentically and show them how by the example you set. Form a diverse team to ensure a continual supply of new perspectives. Emphasize accountability and ownership. Give credit to team members where and when it is due.

                       Character

Your character will play a pivotal role in your success or failure as a leader. Make sure your service is focused on others and not self-serving. Know what you stand for and why. Be committed to your values and principles. Always be authentic. Lead with purpose and compassion. Demonstrate patience and strength under pressure.

Build deep and meaningful relationships with those you work with. Show everyone they matter by giving them your time and making them feel valued. Show them that you recognize and appreciate their efforts. Demonstrate your competence. Do what others won’t and be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Be courageous and embrace the lessons that failure has to offer. Show humility. Be fair and consistent in your leadership. Be a good listener. Always practice what you preach. And, strive to inspire and motivate those around you.

Intentions

Lead for the right reasons. If your intentions are not authentic your employees will quickly see through the façade and you will lose their trust and respect. Lead not for the benefits to you personally but to leave a legacy through the lives you have impacted. Be a compassionate leader. Share your wisdom. Help others grow and reach their full potential. Share and grow your vision. Always stand by your principles. Inspire all who come in contact with you. Serve to encourage and lift others through inspiration and hope.

        Take-Away

As a new leader you must determine where your team is, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. You need a strong vision for the future that your team can support. If you always put the needs of your team before your own they will become your loyal supporters. Don’t lead for the sake of the position; take this new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those you work with. Leadership is a journey, not a destination.

 

 

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

 

Let’s Collaborate

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Let’s Collaborate

“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” —George Bernard Shaw

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

Collaboration

Collaboration brings us together to work towards a shared objective. If we can collaborate effectively we increase our chances for success. Collaborating with others offers us the opportunity to be part of something larger than ourselves.

We can achieve more together than the sum of what we can achieve individually. Successful collaboration creates win-win situations where all parties benefit. People are most productive and satisfied at work when they feel supported, rewarded, and aligned with the work they are doing. Effective collaboration puts the right people in right roles and provides them with the voice, support, and encouragement needed to be successful. Here are a few factors impact your odds of collaborating successfully.

Culture

The culture of your organization will either foster or destroy collaboration. The culture should promote the attitude that there is always something new to be discovered. You never know where the next great idea will come from. A healthy culture encourages employees to ask questions. It challenges employees to wonder what might be possible if we work together. Collaboration helps us to feel energized and connected as we work in a team environment. Develop a culture that engages employees to participate in collaboration without competing with each other. Encourage the development of the authentic connections between colleagues that builds a sense of community. Promote a culture that encourages and rewards collaboration and advances a shared vision to guide collaborative efforts.

          Relationships

Successful collaboration is dependent on building strong, authentic relationships. These relationships allow us to influence and inspire others. Get to know colleagues on a personal basis. Always treat each other with respect. Use your relationships to develop a spirit of cooperation and offer encouragement and support.

         Communication

Communication connects us with others and is a key factor in effective collaboration. Communication should always be respectful. In a collaborative environment people should be given a voice to express themselves in a constructive manner. Encourage others to ask questions and challenge the status quo. Clearly communicate shared goals and objectives. Resolve disagreements quickly and in a respectful manner. And, remember to express appreciation for the contributions of team members.

         Trust

Trust is an important component of any successful collaboration. The collaborative environment must reduce the fear of judgment that hinders participation and productivity. Develop an atmosphere that encourages others to share ideas in a safe and respectful environment. Show compassion for colleagues. Set an example of how to treat others and how to work together effectively. Treat colleagues as equals. Develop a code of conduct so that situations are handled consistently and fair.

Focus

To collaborate effectively the team should focus on cooperation and developing connections between members. Every participant should be encouraged to bring the best of themselves to the table. To be successful, teams should focus their energy on outcomes not problems. Create a Collaborative environment with shared objectives that focus on what’s best for the organization as a whole.

Take-Away

You must build collaboration into the culture of your organization. The culture should empower individuals to work together to accomplish more than would be possible if they were working alone. A positive, collaborative environment encourages team members to share opinions and ideas, promotes cooperation, and develops strategic partnerships.

When we work together we can accomplish more that we ever could working individually. When we join forces we all win. Now, everyone, roll up your sleeves and let’s collaborate.

 

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

 

Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure- with co-author Doug Dickerson

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Six Ways to Enhance Organizational Structure

The productivity of a work group seems to depend on how the group members see their own goals in relation to the goals of the organization. – Ken Blanchard

When was the last time you took a hard look at the effectiveness of your organizational structure? While most organizations have one, do the people in your organization know it or understand it? The time may be ripe for you to take a fresh look at yours and consider these six ways to enhance it.

Empower your leaders

Regardless of what your present organizational structure looks like its functionality should empower its leaders. Successful leaders thrive in an organizational structure that fosters creativity, unleashes potential, and doesn’t stifle progress. This happens when less emphasis is placed on hierarchical structure and more emphasis is placed on empowering the right people in the right places. Empowerment elevates the performance of leaders and encourages behavior that earns the respect of followers. This respect allows leaders to build partnerships within the organization that encourage open, two-way communication and foster a sense of loyalty.

Give ownership

Ownership occurs within your organizational structure when there is buy-in from the bottom up and system wide. If ownership is not shared then the structure is self-serving and not empowering. People want ownership and sense of belonging to a great cause. Without ownership that can’t happen. Ownership holds everyone on the team accountable for their decisions and actions. In order for employees to take successful ownership of their work they must clearly understand expectations. They must also have milestones where progress is evaluated. Ensure that employees are serving in the right roles, give ownership, and celebrate their victories.

Expand borders

Organizational structures don’t define you, you define them. As such, your organizational structure should not be a document of containment but a blueprint of open boundaries to grow and succeed. It should not box people in but should free them to do what they do best. As your organization grows so should your structure but in a way that facilities your growth and not in ways that impede it. Provide employees with the opportunity to be more flexible about how, when, where, and with whom the work gets done. Employees want to be involved in designing and managing their work tasks. Offer employees choices and the ability to personalize work. Allow employees to share ideas and be involved in the implementation of these ideas. As you expand your borders, provide opportunities for employee growth and focus your energies on the results that really matter.

Think lateral

Employees need to have a level of control over their work tasks. A top-down organizational structure hinders the ability of decision-making at the lowest level possible. Decision making on the front-lines allows issues to be identified and addressed quickly. In a lateral structure, employees understand where they fit and how they impact the success of the organization. A flat organizational structure allows employees at all levels of the organization to be empowered and given autonomy over their work. This less rigid structure allows for flexibility and promotes a feeling of equality and inclusiveness. When lateral thinking is put into action it allows for swifter response times that can translate into happier customers, gratified clients, and a healthy bottom line. Lateral thinking is empowering, efficient, and very effective.

Build trust

The support needed to successfully achieve organizational goals is gained by developing relationships based on trust and commitment. The organizational structure can enhance or impede factors such as open communication, management follow-through, accountability, consistency, and concern for employee interests all of which foster a sense of trust. Therefore, building trust is a deliberate action, not something left to chance. It happens as relationships are given priority, it grows in an atmosphere of community, and it pays huge dividends when everyone is engaged. Without trust you have nothing. With it your potential is unlimited.

Find common ground

Employees prefer to work with others they see as similar to themselves. When the organizational structure provides an inclusive environment with common goals a sense of community is developed. Finding common ground helps in the successful pursuit of these shared goals. The organization must foster a shared purpose so that employees understand why the organization exists and why they do what they do. Finding common ground is a fundamental condition of your success. You need to define, share it, but most of all; your team needs to own it. Common ground is your path forward.

Does your organizational structure support the goals you trying to reach? The continued success of your organization is dependent on your ability to continually evaluate and enhance your organizational structure. You can enhance your effectiveness by taking these steps to ensure that your organization is ready to succeed in the 21st century.

 

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. He is the author of two leadership books. He is the director of Management Moment Leadership Services. To learn more visit www.dougsmanagementmoment.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational structure. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership. Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, www.stincelliadvisors.com

 

 

 

Do Employees Want to Be Motivated or Do They Want to Be Happy?

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Do Employees Want to Be Motivated or Do They Want to Be Happy?

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Motivation

Motivation provides us with our reasons for behaving in a particular way. Each of us is motivated by something different. If you can identify what incentives will motivate individual employees, you can use incentives, almost like a bribe, to get the behaviors you want.

How do we motivate?

If you want to successfully motivate employees you must first determine what excites them, what gives them purpose, and what they role want to play in the organization. Establish clear performance metrics with specific goals that can be measured. Be clear about the benefits and provide support. Communicate clearly, consistently, and often so employees know where the stand in relation to the goals they are pursuing. Provide positive feedback and compelling incentives. Make sure you are rewarding the right behaviors. Offer rewards for attitude as well as skill. Incentives can range from profit sharing, which gives employees a vested interest in the success of the organization to small rewards such as movie or dinner gift certificates. You can take an employee to lunch. Make sure you are celebrating organizational successes. Continually offer challenges to be met.

What does it look like?

Motivated employees work towards meeting organizational goals based on the desire to receive the incentives offered for performance. An organization where incentives are used to motivate employees operates with a defined system for determining what will motivate each employee, setting clear and measurable goals, and tracking progress. Employees successfully reach organizational goals based the rewards they receive for exhibiting desired behaviors.

A Culture of Happy Employees

Happy employees are more productive. Happy employees are also loyal employees. An organization with a culture that focuses on providing an employee friendly work environment will have employees who are inspired to work hard based on a love of their job.

How do we achieve it?

Employees want to be empowered, to be allowed to take ownership of their work, and to tackle challenges on their own. You must provide clear expectations and parameters for performance and then allow employees to have freedom and control over their work tasks. Allow for a degree of flexibility in when and how the work gets done. Employees want jobs that utilize their talents. They want opportunities to continue to develop their skills as they work along a planned career path. Provide a support system that helps with career planning and offers continuous training. An employee friendly environment offers perks such as a great benefit package, paid leave, flexible schedules, telecommuting, and educational opportunities. This type of organization encourages employees to have fun at work with parties, fun contests, and group charity work. These types of activities build camaraderie throughout the organization. And don’t forget to offer praise for a job well done.

What does it look like?

Money will not buy employee engagement or loyalty. When people are in the right roles where they are passionate and committed giving the organization their best efforts they are more likely to be happy and enjoy their work. Expectations are clear. Communication is open. Leaders are visible, supportive, and appreciative. There is a culture of continuous employee development. Employees find great meaning and satisfaction in their work. And, everyone participates in the celebration of organizational success.

What Do Employees Want?

So, the question is, do employees want to be motivated based on incentives or would they prefer an environment where they’re happy to work? To achieve results that are mutually beneficial to the organization and employees, a combination of incentives and positive work environment seems to be most effective. Employees like to have clearly defined goals and it’s always nice to know that there will be a reward designed specifically for you based on your motivation as an individual for achieving those goals. Employees want to feel valued and receive credit for their contributions. They want to work for an organization that is willing to help them continue to develop along a career path that supports their strengths and passions. And, they want control and flexibility in performing their work tasks.

Take-Away

Motivating employees is a valuable tool for achieving organizational goals but, don’t just throw money at them, give employees the opportunity to build a career in a job they enjoy. Organizations with a high degree of employee engagement consistently out-perform those with little or no engagement. Employees are more committed to the success of the organization when they are offered work that is interesting, they are communicated with, they feel engaged, they have control over their work, and their contributions are appreciated. Create a culture that offers incentives for reaching goals and provides support for the personal aspirations of employees.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Stifling Employee Engagement

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Stifling Employee Engagement

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” — Simon Sinek

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Employee Engagement

Employees want to be challenged, to have control over their work tasks, and have the opportunity to continue increasing their knowledge and skill set. When employees feel fully engaged they become emotionally committed to working hard in the best interest of the organization.

Are You Stifling Employee Engagement?

Do the employees throughout your organization know that they share in the success of the organization? If you want your employees to do more than just show up to work, you must consciously develop a culture that engages them in their work and shows appreciation for the contributions they make to the success of the organization. Watch out for these management behaviors that stifle employee engagement.

Unsupportive culture

Corporate culture affects performance and contributes to the social control that influences the way employees behave and make decisions. Culture bonds individuals together on a social level to make them feel included in the experience of the organization. Engagement must become part of the culture. When employees enjoy their work and the environment they work in they are more loyal, innovative, provide better customer service, and strive to continually improve the organization.

Out-dated view of work

In the early 20th century, Fredrick Taylor pioneered scientific management. This form of management focused on production and breaking projects into tasks. Employees could then be trained to specialize in a specific task. Taylor emphasized efficiency, control, and predictability. This view of leadership treated employees like instruments that leaders could manipulate. The focus of leadership was on the needs of the organization and not those of employees.

Times have changed; as employees become more educated and skilled, their desire to participate in the leadership and decision-making process increases. High performing employees expect the opportunity to participate and be independent. Your employees are the core of your product or service. They should find their work to be fulfilling and meaningful. If you want your employees to be engaged in their work, you should reevaluate and make adjustments to how you view work.

Lack of investment

Employee engagement requires the investment of resources to continually develop employee knowledge and skills. Talented employees want to continuously improve themselves. As a leader, you must focus on their development and offer them meaningful opportunities to contribute to the organization.

Lack of commitment

A culturethat supports employee engagement requires full commitment from management since that’s where the responsibility for employee engagement falls.Spend time helping employees succeed. Make sure you, as a leader, and your employees are committed to the right things.

Lack of inspiration

When employees do not feel inspired by those who lead them they will not be fully engaged in the organization. Employees are motivated by shared trust, values, and purpose. By developing and maintaining trusting relationships you can inspire individuals to collaborate, share knowledge, and contribute to the development of new organizational knowledge. Let employees know, through your words and actions, why they should work for you. Be a source of inspiration.

Take-Away

Employee engagement is dependent on commitment from management, a supportive culture, training, and empowerment. Provide employees with the knowledge and skills that will allow them to deliver a value that exceeds expectations. Remember that employees who are emotionally committed to the organization want to contribute. Give them the tools and opportunities to make the meaningful contributions that benefit them on and individual level and the organization as a whole.

© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli

Barriers to Informal Leadership

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Barriers to Informal Leadership

Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy

 By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

 

The Role of Informal Leadership

When we look at the ability of a team to perform well we can see that it is directly related to the ability of team members to share knowledge, experience, and skills in the coordination and completion of tasks. In a team environment, an informal leader has the opportunity to be effective at influencing the morale, energy level, work-ethic, attitude, confidence, and sense of purpose of others.

Barriers to Informal Leadership

Informal leadership is taking place throughout your organization. The question is, is it to the benefit or the hindrance of organizational objectives? There are many barriers that can affect the ability of your employees make a positive contribution to the leadership of your organization. Some barriers are operational, others are cultural. Here are a few that are often overlooked.

                       Lack of understanding by management

Management can say they are in support of this new, shared form of leadership and go through the motions of adopting new departmental structures and implementing new procedures. But, are they truly embracing these concepts and assimilating them into the culture of the organization, or are they merely giving the illusion of encouragement for informal leadership? It’s great to talk about an empowering, engaging picture of leadership. But what is really happening out on the front lines? What happens when departments get restructured but nothing changes but titles? Employees become frustrated and lose trust in and respect for management. When processes change but no support is provided in the form of necessary information, resources, or feedback employees feel exposed and vulnerable. Soon, everything reverts to operations as usual. Nothing has changed. Management thinks they have addressed employee’s desire to play a more participative role in the leadership of the organization. Employees realize management is completely out of touch with how much they have to contribute if given the opportunity.

We have to start by educating upper management that informal leaders are impacting their organizations with or without their support. They need to understand the benefits that informal leaders offer their organization. What does embracing this type of leadership and empowerment look like? What does it feel like? Helping them to understand how the innovative ability of the organization is dependent on a collaborative culture that brings together critical skills and knowledge from throughout the organization and respects employees and their abilities to make meaningful contributions. Then upper management needs to listen and really “hear” why employees want the opportunity to be more involved in the organization. Employees are often educated, highly skilled individuals who expect to be provided with opportunities to participate in organizational leadership and decision-making. They want to feel engaged, to have a level of control over their own work, and know they are adding value.

                        Egos

Many smaller organizations started in someone’s basement and have operated with only one or two individuals at the helm for the past 20 years. In these situations we run into a couple of problems. First, these individuals usually never wanted to be leaders or managers. They wanted to be architects, landscapers, accountants, or contractors. The leadership responsibilities just came along with owning their own business. Second, they built their organizations from the ground up. No one knows the business like they do and they want it done their way. They find it difficult to give up power and control.

In order for informal leadership to operate with the support of management we have to address egos and get upper management to buy into the value of informal leadership to their organizations and the benefits to them personally. When upper management is struggling to relinquish the command and control they are comfortable with they need to redirect their energies to identifying and providing the information and resources that the employees on the floor need in order to use their personal leadership skills towards the attainment of the goals of the organization. Showing these managers that they still play a key role in this new leadership process makes the integration into the new culture a little less painful.

                        Structures and controls

Developing a balance between the systems and procedures that are necessary so that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and allowing employees throughout the organization to participate in decision-making and leadership is a difficult task. The larger the organization, the more difficult the balancing act. The issue of developing an organizational structure and setting parameters and controls for employees to operate within might be the biggest operational barrier to encouraging informal leadership. To successfully implement the structural and operational changes required to support engaging employees in the leadership process takes immense commitment and coordination from management.

Every organization can take baby steps by implementing avenues for input and feedback whether they choose to adopt a culture that embraces and utilizes informal leadership to their benefit or not. These avenues can provide employees with an opportunity to offer both input into operational decisions that affect their work and feedback on past decisions. But, for this to be effective there must be follow-through on the part of management so that employees know that their input is taken under consideration and valued.

        Take-Away

Over time, employees build up a powerful knowledge base gained from their experience. This knowledge base allows them to identify signs that a problem may be about to occur before formal systems are able to recognize it. This allows employees on the front lines to respond quickly if they are empowered to make decisions and act on behalf of the organization. Employees also develop relationships within the organization that are based on respect that allow them to influence the morale, energy level, work-ethic, attitude, confidence, and sense of purpose of those they work with.

Informal leadership is playing a role in your organization in one way or another. It can be a great resource that can increase innovation, adaptability, response time, and morale, the list goes on and on. It requires a true shift in the culture of the organization which often difficult for upper management to embrace. But, if you’re going to do it, commit to it completely and dedicate the time and resources necessary to succeed.