Leaders hire for competence and experience, but what is the secret to creating committed employees?
Every employee has some degree of resonate skills and experience to meet his or her job requirements; let’s call that their 90% contribution. But what about the other 10%? How can leaders identify and focus those attributes to create extraordinary commitment to a goal or company?
The extra 10% contribution could be a person’s style in working with others or someone’s unique life experiences. For example, a former business owner may have experience working under pressure to deliver a quality product on time. These skills can translate to his demonstrating high self-responsibility and initiative in his current role. Other employees may have personal passions and values, such as perseverance or service to others, that can raise morale and compel their co-workers to go the extra mile.
To begin to unearth these hidden treasures, managers should ask themselves the following questions:
- Who can you always depend on?
- Who are the optimistic influencers?
- Who seems to be driven from a service standpoint vs. one of self-interest?
Coaching and Development
A recent Predictions for 2015 report shows a rising trend among Fortune 1000 companies to invest in classes and workshops that will teach leaders how to assess and develop talent. Managers are often trained in the administrative aspects of their job roles while the mindset needed to mentor and develop employees is left to the discretion of each individual. Obviously, this creates a huge variance in how employees are developed within companies and departments.
Over the years, I have found that teams who make use of their employees’ “extra talents” create an esprit de corps and contribute more to the overall culture and outcome of a company. Further, these teams act as a catalyst to drive purpose and passion in serving and retaining customers.
On the flip side, I have seen teams struggle with large projects that required diligent research, sign-offs by management, and careful review of assumptions. One team operated as though these tasks were unbearable and it showed in their attitudes and actions. Through a series of problem-solving sessions, the team discovered better ways to serve customers by utilizing the unique qualities each person brought to the table. The team experienced a mindset change by stepping up to become customer advocates. Their resolve, persistence and commitment levels increased exponentially and the results far exceeded my expectations. As a leader, it is imperative to engage more than competence and procedural skills to get the job done; you must also fully engage each person’s talents, values and interests.
Leaders, challenge yourself this year to better utilize the extra 10% by awarding special assignments, giving recognition, and providing real-time coaching to employees. Most importantly, call out observations to allow your workforce to see how individuals’ qualities can contribute to the team. This will result in a stronger resolve from each member to give their best, strive for excellence and fully appreciate what others bring to the table.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Invest in your team
- Infuse vision to the purpose of a project and clarify critical responsibilities
- Provide training and perspective to increase knowledge and empower workers
- “Call out” progress and invite employees to participate in solving problems
2. Commit to building individual team members
- Get to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses
- Acknowledge the extra 10% they bring to the team and organization
- Pose reflective questions to increase self-awareness and encourage course correction
- Listen to everyone’s ideas and give them all a fair hearing
3. Reinforce “community” by connecting with other teams
- Form relationships with other teams and functions
- As the leader, build bridges not barriers
- Model a customer-centric mindset and steer clear of reinforcing functional silos
- Encourage teams to work together to get the job done, with everyone serving the mission, values and goals of the organization
Companies striving for continual success should invest in measuring the strength and development opportunities of their employees. They should also charge their leadership with creating practices that will fully engage the 100% contribution each employee can bring to the table. This little extra 10% of engagement will help teams meet goals and serve customers with commitment. The results will be a capable, focused and motivated workforce that is resolved to do whatever it takes to succeed.