There is a frustration amongst business owners, entrepreneurs and business managers.
It’s easy to expect your team to have the same passion for the work as yourself.
The great thing is that sometimes a few team members will. But the reality is that most often people won’t have the same passion as you and that’s okay. They are still capable of doing great things.
The thing to watch for as the leader is putting your team in a place where their work experience turns negative.
Examples may include:
- Asking them to work long hours
- Expecting them to greatly improve weak areas
- Creating tension with your emotion
- Unrealistic expectation for delivery and quality
- And many more…
Most would agree that a positive work experience leads to quality work. That doesn’t mean you’re giving employees a free ride. Most employees don’t want that anyway.
What it does mean is focusing on ways to provide a good experience that fosters quality work and fulfillment.
Here are a few tips to help…
Tip #1. Listening Skills
The best leaders I have ever been around have been the best listeners.
That goes against one of the commonly held beliefs of good leaders. The myth is that good leaders have all the answers. They’re the ones always pushing their advice and instruction.
However, the best leaders are usually the ones that want to learn. They look for information from anyone and everyone. Then, when they feel they have enough information, they make decisions.
And that’s a key distinction. Leaders will make decisions. They will expect the team to follow orders. But they won’t do it without reason. They’ll listen to employees. They’ll gather information. Then they’ll act.
Tip #2. Autonomy
People are wired to want control over their own lives. Their own actions. But we all realize that we enter into agreements with employers. Employees are paid to perform jobs.
But that doesn’t mean that the yearn for autonomy disappears. It’s the leader’s job to find balance with providing structure for employees while also allowing them to feel in charge of their own destiny.
The leaders I have found to be successful usually seek out common ground with where their employees want to go and where the leader wants the company to go.
An example of that may be an employee that wants to become a manager. The leader would look for tasks that will train the employee to become a manager, hopefully at the current company, but perhaps at a different company if there is no room for advancement.
It’s not ideal for good team members to leave, but if they grow and succeed and leave it’s better than having a disgruntled employee doing poor work and then leaving anyway out of frustration.
The NCAA has done this with the best athletes over the years. Successful programs know that the best players want to become pros. So they structure the program so that they prepare athletes to become pros. They use pro schemes. They use pro weight training regimens. They know the best players will leave school before graduating, but they also know that the program will be appealing to a new class of younger athletes and the cycle continues.
Tip #3. Learning
People inherently want to learn. But many work places don’t foster learning and growth with employees.
Learning can be offered in a variety of ways. The key to it is finding out what each individual wants to learn. It won’t always work to force specific learning on employees. They have to want to learn.
For example, that employee mentioned earlier may want to learn all they can about becoming a manager. But another employee may want to grow within their current role. Maybe it’s a graphic designer. They don’t want to be an art director, but they do want to become a more skilled graphic designer.
You can build time in their schedules for learning. You can offer to send them to conferences and classes. You could hook them up with a mentor within the company or from the outside.
There are lots of ways to provide learning opportunities.
Tip #4. Strengths
I’m a believer that we all have strengths and weaknesses. In some instances, you can turn a weakness into a strength. But will it be a strength relative to your own ability or will it be a strength compared to others?
For example, there are common strengths amongst extroverts and there are common strengths amongst introverts.
An introvert may struggle being on the phone all day discussing business sales, client relationship, client services, etc. They could work on it relentlessly and improve, but the odds of them ever turning the skill into the strength on the same level as an extrovert that is strong in the same skill are long.
But the introvert may excel in other areas like organization, creativity, listening, etc. An extrovert could be good at those traits, but maybe not at the same level as an extrovert.
As the leader, it’s your job to identify the strengths of your team and look for ways to emphasize them. Don’t force them to go against their strengths. They can improve weaknesses to the point of competency, but don’t push them beyond that.
It’s better for the extrovert to become the best on the phone while the introvert becomes the best at organizing your company’s processes. Doing it the other way around will hold your company back.
Tip #5. Why
This is a tricky one. It’s looking to identify the reason your employees are doing something. Why they’re working for your company.
It could be a number of different reasons:
- Paying the bills
- Ability to make more money
- Helping a group of people
- Learning new skills
- Working with great people
- Flexible hours
- And more…
As the leader, it’s your job to figure out each person’s why and find ways to align their why with the company goals.
Someone that is good with people and that wants the ability to make more money may be best fit for sales.
Someone that wants flexible hours may do best working on various projects that don’t require the usual 9-5 hours.
Someone that wants consistency and secure pay may be a good fit to keep their same job for several years.
Creating a good work experience is the job of the leader. It’s easy to take it for granted, but usually your disgruntled employees won’t tell you that they’re not having a good experience. You want to look for signs that employees aren’t happy. And if you do see it going on don’t try to force things upon them. Follow the steps above to get things back on track.