It’s the biggest secret all managers want to know – the Holy Grail if you will. How do I get more out of my employees? An extra 10% effort on their part would make the world of difference and potentially add 19% to the bottom line – but how do I organise this?Well let me share the secret … ask them.
There is a reason you have the title Managing Director – a big part of your role is to manage; the problem is that there is, all too often, too little time assigned to this activity each week as other priorities get in the way.
Think about this – your poorest performers – look at them – why do they come to work? Do they see themselves as the weakest link? What would motivate them to increase their performance? Is it praise, flexibility, maybe an opportunity to be mentored or an opportunity to learn a new skill? More money, a change of team or a holiday? How do you find out what they are thinking?
Well let me share the secret … ask them.
So you decide you’ve got to do it now. You are going to ask, but wait; you need to develop rapport and gain trust first. Remember that in their eyes – you have the power to fire at will. They need to know that you aren’t going to use this information against them. So take some time to build relationships – you need to talk to them and get to know them as much as you can.
Now what do you say? What do you ask?
You need a framework and I would recommend John Whitmore’s coaching model. The premise is that most of the time the employee can work out the problem and the solution, if you ask the right questions…
T – Topic – what are you going to talk about?
G – Goal – what do you want to achieve?
R – Reality – what is the situation at the moment? Reality check
O – Options – explore possibilities. Don’t discount anything. Consider the alternatives
W – Way forward – after exploring all the options, commit to a path to resolve
Some things to consider that might assist you to work through the framework:
- what is one thing you would like to achieve in your current role?
- what is the biggest challenge you face in your role today?
- what blockages do you face in working across the business?
- what would make it easier for you to increase your productivity or performance?
- so what is the current situation?
- what do you do?
- what do you find easy?
- what do you find challenging?
- what do you like – what don’t you like?
- what takes up most of your time?
- what are you meant to do?
- what outcomes are critical to success?
- what are some other ways you could do this?
- how could you get around that obstacle?
- what would you do, if anything were possible?
- what would you do, if money was no object?
- what should I do to make this organisation work better?
- what would you change?
- how would you structure the business?
- looking at “X”, what are the pros and cons?
- how could we work around that?
- what are the risks?
- So we have agreed to try “X” – great!
- By when? What do you need from me? What will success look like now, in a month, in a year?
- Arrange check points – status updates – empower your team members – encourage them
You need to continue to support, trust, encourage and build rapport with each team member – this can produce startling results. You as the leader need to be an enabler. You need to develop a business with people who are happy and content supported by innovation and considered change. Don’t forget to reward and support your team as they start to achieve their goals. Make them know they matter.