Now in a new year with performance planning in the rear-view, as c-level executives and leaders, what more can you do to cascade a culture of achievement throughout your organization? For certain, you have abilities to do good often taken for granted and unexploited. It's time to look inward for some organic and simple steps that can truly have a positive long-term performance impact on your workforce. In addition to being $0-budget, these after all, are some of the greatest gifts you can give.
1. Provide honest feedback. Dog owners know all too well how unspoken tells can be detected in mysterious ways. If I am suspicious of someone on the street, my dog's tail immediately drops between his legs, even when he is walking three steps in front of me. As human beings, we often forget that we see the same unspoken tells in our communication. As such, buttering someone up often hurts someone more than telling them the truth. After all, how will they take your direction when the feedback you gave, some of the most personal communication there is, was disingenuous. Furthermore, these employees are presumably trying to climb the ladder you have already scaled, so, if you could read their minds, their attention to your words and actions would likely surprise you.
2. Give them authority to make decisions. An excellent way for someone to develop into a capable decision maker is through empowering them to make decisions. Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup's "Workplace Jedi," considers autonomy to be one of the four keys to employee engagement. Giving someone full reign to make a decision creates ownership of their own choices and instills accountability. It fosters independent thinking and gives them strength and confidence. Harter claims "It leads people to feel trusted, and influences them to do much more. . ." Each day is a constant stream of decisions that shapes the direction of not just our work, but our life's path.
3. Acknowledge and Reward Them. An unfortunate circumstance--that leaders rarely take the time to individually acknowledge employees--gives you an intangible advantage of great value. What's more, because it's so extraordinary, a couple of lines is all it takes. So occasionally take some time out of your schedule to acknowledge those who have made you successful, and impress upon your directs and theirs how easy and important it is.
4. Trust them and give permission to make mistakes. When I was in grade school I played basketball. I remember my coach saying to me, "go out and give it your best". I was afraid because my competitive tendency tended to take over, and I would often foul out, but not until after scoring prolifically. Knowing that my coach supported me enabled me to fearlessly stretch my limits. Trust in an organization and its leaders is one of the main drivers of employee engagement. Trust in oneself and from others is the seed from which the greatest innovations of all times sprouted.
5. Be compassionate and treat people with dignity and respect.
If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. -- Abraham Lincoln
Laura Berger, PCC is a leadership coach, media personality and bestselling author. She has spent 20+ years counseling leaders to achieve positive, long-term, measurable results for themselves, their people and their teams. She is a corporate and conference speaker, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Berdeo Group LLC.
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