Want your employees to do their best work consistently? Need them to produce products or services born from creative thinking? Desire them to feel fulfilled in the process? Most likely, you've answered an emphatic "yes" to these questions. But how do you make this happen? Are YOU an executive who's succeeding with staff, or are you someone who's chronically struggling ?. If you're fighting what appears to be an uphill battle, try implementing the following strategies:
ADOPT the attitude that most employees want to engage in meaningful work that allows them to feel they are making a contribution to the bigger picture. Trust this to be true. Interact with employees as if you know it is true. Avoid projecting an attitude that conveys doubt about people's intentions.
ASSIGN employees meaningful work. Then help them to see how what they do fits into what everybody else is doing. People need to understand those connections. When staff don't grasp those important connections, they lose interest in their particular piece, and they certainly don't care about the company's mission.
CREATE a healthy work environment. This refers to ensuring employee safety, promoting sound physical, emotional, and mental health, and consciously designing a culture that supports people as they do their jobs.
HIRE the right people. Frequently, employee problems begin with mis-hiring. When you fail to get the right person in the position that's right for her, you start off on the wrong foot. No matter how you try to make it work out for the best, it won't and it can't. This is definitely a lose-lose.
PAY fair wages. People expect fair compensation for the work they do. They seek a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their families. If they sense they are being cheated or undervalued, they will either leave the company or cause problems for you. Why go there?
WRITE, COMMUNICATE, and IMPLEMENT viable, reasonable processes for accomplishing the work. The most successful processes are those that are written clearly, are transparent to staff, are rooted in reality, and are facilitators of employee cooperation.
BUILD high-functioning teams. Show people how to be a team. Don't assume they automatically know how to do this. Set an example with your own executive team. Employees watch what's going on at the top and mirror it.
PRAISE good work and desired behavior. Be lavish with praise, and you will reap abundant fruit. Don't fall prey to the belief that congratulating people spoils them. Withholding praise that is deserved demonstrates cruelty and/or indifference to your staff. Is that what you really want to convey to the people who make your organization great?
INCREASE individual and team responsibility when employees show you they are ready for it. People find this to be a huge inspiration in many cases. Giving employees more responsibility means you trust them, believe in them, and desire to bring them to the next level in their professional growth.
REWARD outstanding use of talent. Employees who do something extraordinarily creative and/or beneficial need to be recognized. Set them apart from the group temporarily and let them shine. Give them a bonus, a gift, time off, something you know they'd appreciate. By doing so you gain everything and lose nothing.