When you have a lot at stake or a very high interest in an outcome, you’re more likely to do a better job (or at least try to). Your team members feel the same way. If they don’t enjoy their work, they won’t be motivated to spend discretionary effort on the strategic goals you set for them. Wouldn’t you rather be surrounded by people in whom you have full trust and confidence they will get things done?
Your team will have more ownership in their work if you encourage them to take initiative, improve processes, and make last-minute changes vital to timely execution. Here are some simple, common-sense ways to achieve that confident competence:
1. Increase your ratio of engaged to disengaged employees. This requires not only personal strength but flexibility and empathy as well. If you end up with competent employees who make you and your organization shine, it’s worth every bit of effort.
2. Give people reasons to try harder. You can apply a variety of factors to the manager/employee relationship to encourage engagement, but the most important seem to be to (a) trust in their abilities and judgment; (b) provide opportunities for training and growth; (c) keep the communications lines open; and (d) show them how their efforts contribute to organizational goals.
3. Be there for them. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each of your team members, have “open door” periods of availability, and get down in the trenches to visit rather than hiding behind your desk.
4. Motivate. Ultimately, employees work hard for you because they choose to. Give them reasons to excel: motivations like monetary rewards, time off, praise, and promotions for those who produce. Make consistent efforts to influence team members in positive ways, varying your attempts with each person to see what works best.
5. Empower your teammates. The worst thing you can do as a leader is jealously hold onto every smidgen of authority that comes with your job. Instead, commit to empowerment, delegating your authority as widely as you can. Make it clear you appreciate initiative. But remember: ultimate responsibility for your team’s actions always belongs to you.
If you can persuade your team members to give you more of their discretionary effort, productivity will skyrocket—and you’ll be walking on sunshine.