When I ask audiences what is their greatest leadership difficulty, the #1 most common answer is “getting employees to do what I want them to do”. Is this true for you? If so, here are three tried and true methods that will work to help you get exactly what you want and help those employees to DO more of what you want.
If a leader has been promoted up from the ranks, he or she likely wants employees to simply perform as well as he or she did when in that role. The challenge here is that if you think that, but never SAY that, each employee will have his or her own definition of “good performance”. Considering the differences in skills, experience, and expertise of the team you lead, you must first decide what it is you want. Uncover those things in your head that you want but forget to ever describe or clearly articulate to the team. It’s not only important to show them and provide the ever popular leadership by example, you also have to get clear on what you want and then tell them what you want.
Think of this one like this. Personally we all want to be loved, but how we translate love is different. Remember Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages? Well, essentially, you have a leadership language and a performance language. For that reason, HOW you want something done is just as important as WHAT. This doesn’t mean that you dig into the minutia with employees and tell them every tiny detail of a project, but it does mean that you clarify for yourself the expectations that are not commonly understood by all and then share those expectations. They can’t possibly meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are, so clarify and then share.
Telling them once what your desires and expectations are will work for those who possess high initiative and are internally driven folks who share the priority or passion for your request. All others may need to hear the message more than once and may need more thorough monitoring to keep them on task. Following up doesn’t mean they can’t do it. It means they don’t have the same level of interest or urgency around a project as you do. This may mean their rewards for completion aren’t as high, their consequences aren’t as bad as yours, or their plate has more than just your task already on it. Resist the temptation to feel as if repeating your instructions is a personal attack or reflection of their intellect and know that if the project or task is that important to you, follow up is simply part of the process.
Remember when I said this earlier: “Considering the differences in skills, experience, and expertise of the team you lead…”? This is a key piece and one that is not often easily uncovered. Consider implementing an assessment tool. We utilize the CORE Profile® and with it are able to uncover skills, skill gaps, conditioned behaviors, and stress triggers. Want to know more about the team you lead and want them to manage to give you more of what you want? The CORE Profile will help you get there. Contact us at 1-866-382-0121 to discuss if this is a good fit for you and your employees.
Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!