By John Byrne, Performance Coach at Mind Coach, www.mindcoach.ie
Every business, every organisation is a collection of individuals pursuing a common goal or purpose. If that's a group of motivated and engaged individuals who care and are clear about the common purpose, then great things can certainly happen.
However, it's easy to lose sight of the individual and it's certainly easier to manage a collective in a one size fits all manner. The only problem with that is, one size doesn't fit all!
You see, if you want your employees to feel positive about your business or your organisation, and you want them to care, then plain and simple, you've got to care too. People naturally like to reciprocate, they often feel an obligation to do so. Therefore, when somebody does you a good turn, you seek out opportunities to do the same for them. It's kind of keeping the books balanced; maybe there's an accountant buried deep within us all :) .
So don't expect employees to care, feel engaged, motivated or passionate about you or your business if you don't feel the same about them.
So how do you do this?
#1 You've got to actually care
Maybe you don't actually care, or maybe you're pretending to care. Either way, people see this for what it is, insincere and fake. If you don't really care about them, do you really expect them to treat you or your business differently? If they matter to you, you'll matter to them.
#2 You've got to listen
Stop guessing about what's important to them, stop guessing about what they want, stop guessing about what will motivate and engage them, and listen. When you listen, you're indirectly saying 'I care about what you think and have to say'. There's that word care again. Find out what they really think, instead of guessing!
#3 You're only as good as the quality of the feedback
How many times in a restaurant have you been asked how your meal is, and how often have you actually told the truth? In order for people to tell you the truth, there's got of be an environment of trust and respect. Without that, your people won't really tell you how they feel, they'll tell you what they think you'll find acceptable to hear. Bottom line: you'll be making decisions with bad data.
#4 It's time to get personal
If you've a small business, you may know all your employees. If you're a large business or corporation, you will have managers whose job it is to get personal with their team. Be interested, care, listen, talk and get to the bottom of things. Use your one to one meetings and reviews to sincerely communicate with your people. What's going well? What's not going well? How can I help? What can I do to help you be the best version of you? If's there's trust, if there's mutual respect, if there's sincerity, then your employees will have all the answers for you and you're well on your way to engaged and motivated people on your team.
#5 Be flexible
People are complex. You won't always get it right, and that won't always be your fault. However, keep to the core principles of sincerity, trust, respect and genuinely caring, and people will respond.
#6 Be thankful
Sincere recognition is always a winner. It makes people feel good, which is the basis of all good motivation. The words ‘thank you’, sincerely spoken, mean a lot.When you know your people and what's important to them, you can reward them in ways that make sense, and shows you care. Be imaginative, be sincere and it also worth remembering that, when you look after the people that your staff care about (particularly the little ones), that can be very powerful too. Maybe that's something like; "Laura, you really delivered on that project and we really appreciate it. We'd like to give you this small gift to treat yourself and the family, to say thank you". That might work for Laura or maybe she'd really value a family health plan, and it's probably something different for the people on your team (of individuals).
Great individual performances create great team performances. Nobody wants to be just another employee. Treat people like people. What works is what's always worked. People care when you do.
Didn't your mother always tell you to treat people how you would like to be treated? Well, you should listen to your mother :) .