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Leadership for Life – Captain Obvious
Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.
Management gurus are always coming up with new approaches to getting people to produce more and be more creative. Why should I be any different? Here, for your reading pleasure are several obvious, but often ignored management techniques that will help you as a leader to improve engagement and productivity of your workforce.
- You say your people are your most valuable asset? Demonstrate that by dealing with human resource issues as urgently and enthusiastically as you do mechanical or technical issues. And while you’re at it, remember that people bring their personal needs to work every day – the need to be respected and valued, the need to be heard and understood, the need to be involved in decisions that affect them, and the need to be supported.
- Keep your promises. When you show your commitment to following through on what you say you will do, you get the same back from your workforce.
- Support your workforce by removing the barriers to their success and providing what they need to get the job done. Sometimes that means adding more people to the workforce. Corollary: Stop laying people off at the first sign of business problems. “Doing more with less” adds stress and resentment to your workers, with a consequent reduction in engagement and productivity.
- You have the time and the resources to fix problems when they occur. Why not devote time and resources to preventing the problems from happening in the first place? Set up a contingency planning group. Let them figure out all the things that can go wrong and come up with a preventive approach to dealing with potential problems. I call that a “Problem Pit.” Call it whatever you like, but do it.
- You want people to be accountable? Give them more responsibility and reward them when they get it right. When they get it wrong, coach them until they figure out how they went wrong, and turn them loose again. Too risky? Consider what your day would be like if you had to do everyone else’s job plus your own.
- Do what you can to tear down information silos in your organization. You can improve engagement by helping employees see how their work impacts the organization as a whole. When you’re planning changes, let people know as soon as possible, so they can begin adapting to the changes. Involve people in decisions that affect them directly. Abrupt changes with too little notice cause people to freeze up and resist the changes, even when they are demonstrably beneficial. If it’s true that knowledge is power, imagine what a powerful organization you can create by spreading the knowledge out over all your employees, not just a select few.
Need help with any of these ideas? Call Captain Obvious (aka Barry Schapiro) at 314-539-5329.