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“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up your men to collect wood and give orders and distribute the work,” he said. “Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little
As leaders, how does this situation happen to such a senior leader? Lets discuss it, I am sure there are a few ideas that come to mind.
When you’re a leader, you’re a role model whether you know it or not. You’re a role model for the person that will be in your job. Not next month or next year, but a few years from now. Every day people are watching you and deciding if you are the kind of leader they want to be .
So do you think new ideas are always better? Lets have a two way conversation on it!
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams
First let me say Happy Thanksgiving from Gary and myself.
So it seems the new catch phrase in the motivational and leadership world is to “Empower your employees”. Which many of my clients have tried this by giving their employees more responsibility and less supervision to only find less productivity. They have asked if they are doing this wrong? My reply was lets look at from both sides of the equation to get a holistic solution.
My first question was; We were both taught to clean by our parents is this true? They replied “Yes”. To which I replied; What is the chance that both our parents taught us the same methods and standards? Highly unlikely right. So, if you hired me to clean your house to your standard without discussion or guidance would I achieve your standard? No. But why not is it not an implied task? Yes, it is however, their are variances that need to be addressed to create the desired outcome.
If we cant empower our janitors to clean without some form of training to a base level of knowledge. What leads you to believe that you can skip training or train less and expect more from those in more technical positions? Yes, we all may have more outside training and schooling however, none of that was identical to what you learned and demand. Your standards are yours and can not be thought of as an implied task.
Next, I like to bring up my favorite music video scene of a janitor cleaning a high school locker room on the last day of school. He is singing and just stops to yell is anyone hear to check my work? He gets no reply and proceeds to say an exploitative and drops his mope to leave.
All that illustrates that if the work is perceived to be of little importance to you then it means even less to your employees. You can not expect anyone to care more about a task or a job than you do as the leader.
“Empower your employees” Just don’t mistake this as a solution to solving the micro managed work environment as being easily achieved through added responsibility and ownership. This may sound appealing as it implies that efficiency is found in doing less as a leader.
It takes teaching expectations through a leaders actions and supervision. Once the employee shows the aptitude to get through it on their own, now you let go of the reigns and empower them. Schedule, periodic mentorship reviews to: one let them know their work still matters, two to address potential short comings prior to becoming problems.
For more on this subject or any other topic you may have please feel free to contact us.
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