When was the last time you washed a rental car? Probably never. And the reason is simple. Because you don’t own it. This simple reality offers a compelling insight into what it takes, really takes, to create engaged employees.
Four things you can do with immediate impact
In my latest column for this morning’s The Globe and Mail, I lay out four specific things you can do as a leader to create a level of interest and ownership that would not only get your employees to wash the cars, but also check the oil, and rotate the tires. Interestingly enough, none of the four are high-level strategic engagement initiatives developed by senior management at the annual planning retreat, or policies developed by a small army of bureaucrats in a backroom somewhere.
I make the point in today’s column that engaged employees occur at an individual level, person by person, and as a direct result of the one-on-one relationship each of your staff has with their immediate and direct supervisor. Which means that if you’re a manager, supervisor, team leader, or any other title that has direct responsibility for people, then your behaviour and actions will unequivocally determine how engaged each of your employees are. This is a weighty responsibility, one that I believe no leader should ever take lightly.
Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2l3vEOc
But as always, I’d like to hear what you think. What have been your experiences? Do the four specific actions I list in this column resonate with you. Please share your thoughts by commenting below.
Last week I started a short series on definitive actions you can take to improve your working relationship with your boss with a post about tailoring your presentations. Today I want to continue on that subject by highlighting the importance of consistency, both in the quality of the work you do for him or her, as well as in your behaviour.
Your ultimate goal in your working relationship with your boss should be to get to a point where s/he trusts you; trusts you to step in, take charge, act appropriately, get things done, and to bring issues and problems to a successful conclusion. And trust comes from consistency. Establish a consistent track record of professional behaviour, level-headed responses, sound decision-making, and quality work. If your boss knows that she can count on you to deliver outcomes similar to what she might have done herself, then she is more likely to trust you to act on her behalf. If he can be confident that you will act in manner that will not come back to haunt him later, then you are well on your way to becoming a reliable right-hand.
However, don’t fall into the trap that I have observed in many a workplace – the “slacking off” mistake. Continue reading
This is a clever video I came across several months ago that emphasizes the importance of teamwork (demonstrated by crabs, ants and penguins, no less!). If I recall correctly, it is actually excerpted from a series of advertisements for a company that offers group insurance, but I have not been able to verify that. Nevertheless, the underlying message is “Union is strength; it’s smarter to travel in groups”. Take a quick look, and as you’re watching, think about what lessons in teamwork leaders could learn from these.
So what are the lessons here for leaders? Here are the ones I came up with: Continue reading
In the last few weeks, significant life transition events have made me unusually introspective, perhaps even philosophical. Some may say that it’s not a bad thing, and they’re probably right 🙂 .
One of the things I’ve noticed is that people often say and do stupid things. And I’ve come to the awareness that, generally, their insensitive behaviour is not malicious or intentionally hurtful. I’ve come to understand that other people usually mean well. The truth is that people, for the most part, do the best with the resources they’ve got. Sometimes they have access to minimal emotional and mental resources, and that can cause them to make asinine comments and/or take mindless actions, but at its core, their intentions are almost always good. Continue reading
Okay, I’m super pumped! Today marks my first column for ProfitGuide.com, the online version of Profit Magazine, a Canadian business magazine aimed at entrepreneurs, focusing on how to find opportunity and seize it, management practices, case studies and access to peer groups. Today’s column is titled How to become a persuasive triple-threat and explores what it takes to get more people to buy your ideas.
In May last year, I wrote a couple of blog posts about trust in the workplace – Is it earned or lost? and How can you build it? Today’s blog post is about how you can lose trust … quickly! I refer to what I believe may be a fairly common workplace practice, particularly in large organizations, of requiring that employees provide a death certificate or a funeral notice in order to take a few days of (paid) bereavement leave.
I recently received an upset phone call from a long-time reader whose mother passed away in a city on the other side of the country. Not surprisingly, he found himself in a situation where he needed to take several days of leave to attend to funeral and other details. He was offended and quite frankly, hurt, that his long-term employer required him to submit a death certificate or funeral home notice in order for him to take a few days off. Continue reading
Regular readers of the blog know that I often talk about the importance of building workplace trust. In fact, I last blogged on this subject when I posed the question: How can you build trust in the workplace? (and offered four ideas). Today I am very fortunate to have Lea Brovedani guesting on the blog. Not only is she a professional colleague and my friend, but she is also an expert in trust and emotional intelligence! Her focus is on helping people in organizations implement trust strategies so they can build teams that are trusted by those inside and outside their organizations. Today she tells us about the 5 C’s of trust.
Consciously and deliberately building trust is important. Think of it as “show and tell” for grownups but with much bigger consequences than a grade on an elementary school report card. The evaluation you get can affect whether or not people are willing to follow you and how well you succeed in your career. People will hear what you say but they are watching what you do to make sure the two line up. When it comes to trust, they want you to show them through your actions and behaviours before you tell them to trust you. Continue reading
Last week I asked the question – is trust in the workplace earned or lost? Unexpectedly, responses were mixed: I expected the majority to subscribe to my philosophy of “You have my trust unless you prove me otherwise”, but a surprising number of managers still advocate the “Trust should be earned” viewpoint. These unforeseen results got me thinking about a follow-up question – Okay, in that case, if trust needs to be earned, what can you (as a manager or team leader) do to foster an environment in which your employees can gain your trust? Here are some quick ideas:
- Find points of commonality, either at a professional or a personal level. Perhaps you and one of your staff members both have a love of travel, or you and one of your employees both graduated from the same university or college; common ground creates conversation starters and forms the foundation on which to build a relationship. And as relationships grow, so does trust. Continue reading
Recently, there have been a couple of situations that have occurred that have made me think about trust in the workplace, and how important it is for a strong relationship to exist between leaders and their employees. When I first started working full-time (back in 1988!), the prevailing sentiment was that “Trust should be earned“. In other words, if you come to work on my team, then you have to prove yourself, and once you’ve done that, then I, the leader, will trust you. Turns out that many managers and supervisors (still) subscribe to this point of view.
But over the years, I have grown to take a different approach to building trust. My philosophy for many years has been “You have my trust unless you prove me otherwise“. So, my going-in position with all my employees, from day one, is “I trust you”. And I will only change my mind if you do something that makes me reconsider my opinion and causes me to lose trust in you. Continue reading
One of the biggest struggles leaders often face is with confidence. Confidence with and from others in particular. People only follow the lead, believe in or buy from those they trust and have a solid relationship with.
We live in an age where money isn’t the only essential currency anymore. Relationships and trust are as important as the money your business works for. They’re more important than anything that you can track on a spreadsheet. Without the people asset, all the other assets don’t matter.
How do you earn and save when it comes to relationships? Continue reading