“Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work” – Gallup, Re-Engineering Performance Management
Employees are operating at below their potential
8 out of 10 employees are not managed in a way that motivates them!!! Research also shows for example how engagement levels are low, and how these have a negative impact on the bottom line.
Many employees today are not inspired, unhappy, not engaged, burnt out and performing at below their potential. If we want to survive and thrive in this VUCA world, we need people at their full potential and very best.
Leaders are getting the MOST out of their people
Why are employees operating at only say 60-70% of their potential? One of the main reasons is that leaders and managers today are trying to get the most out of their people, as opposed to the best … and these are two different things.
Getting the most out of employees is for example when they are seen as a resource, and are driven hard to get the maximum out of them. With organisational hierarchy and the performance management process, employees are told what to do, how and to work hard, and they have to comply and just get the job done. This way of leading might work in the short run, but it is not sustainable. In times of high stress and limited time, I can see why this style is dominant.
Build people up, don’t break them down
We need to more get the best out of people, where their full potential is unleashed and they and their confidence is built up, with the end result of them becoming more inspired, happier and healthier.
Basics to GBOO
Based on my experience and research, below I have highlighted some basics leaders and managers can put in place to get the best out of their employees:
- Context -> create a context or environment that allows people to flourish, excel, have fun and feel safe. Think of systems theory!
- Right role -> ensure the work and tasks match an employee’s passion, energy and strengths
- Goal -> ensure employees have a goal that is compelling, stretches them, is clear, simple and they understand what they need to do to achieve that goal
- Freedom -> ensure they have freedom and the autonomy in their work as they move towards the goal
- Recognition -> ensure employees are appreciated not only for their good results but also efforts put in as they move towards the goal
- Coach -> be a thinking and sparring partner and ask open questions, actively listen, challenge and help employees find their own answers as they move towards the goal
- Feed forward -> look forward and suggest what they should try or do to get better, as opposed to feeding back on what they have done wrong in the past
- Measure -> ensure what is being done is being measured; employees then know when they are being successful and where they can get better
- Learn -> ensure employees have opportunities to learn and grow in their roles and careers. “If you are not growing anywhere, you are not going anywhere!”
- Advance -> definitely within an organisational context, ensure when people are doing well, they are recognised and at some stage promoted
Positivity and human mindsets
The above are basics leaders and managers can put in place to get the best out of their employees. To really get the best out of others, we need to build on these to take them to a higher level, and this is where a more human component is powerful.
At the moment of truth, that is, when a leader is interacting with their direct report, that is the moment when you need to really build them up as opposed to break them down. To build them up, two ‘multipliers’ can help accelerate the process.
To get the best out of employees, at the moment of truth, having a positivity mindset goes a very long way … where you see their good intentions and that they want to come to work and do their best, that they have a wide breadth of talent and potential, and you appreciate what they are doing and trying. Keeping it positive is crucial!
Secondly, remembering that as humans we make mistakes, are vulnerable and different. It is not about doing things right or wrong, it is more about trying, learning from that, and getting better. When people do make mistakes, being too tough can be counterproductive; be tough on the issue but soft on the person. Respect and building on other’s differences will be sensed by them, and by doing these one will really start to get the best out.
Full potential = responding to the VUCA world
If we want to survive and thrive in this VUCA world, we need leaders and managers that get the best out of their people. They can do that by bringing a positivity and human mindset, which can lift the basics to a higher level ultimately building people up.
People then become inspired, happy, engaged, healthy and operate at their full potential. When this happens, people will be in the flow, we will start to realise the benefits of collaboration and the ensuing synergies will give organisations the capabilities to respond to this rapidly changing world.