Hello again, perfect timing! I’m Nicholas Yeap. I was just about to make a cup of Nescafe 3 in 1 coffee blend, how about you come join me? I hope that business is going well. Europe and Asia currencies seem to be dropping faster than dining plates at a Greek wedding these days, so there is a lot of contingency planning to do. It seems like enterprises have taken quite a hit due to the number of changes within global economies, but as always that’s nothing a bit of proactive planning can’t work around.
I’m willing to bet that you have already been doing a bit of planning yourself, figuring out how to restructure, reorganize, and rearrange your workforce to get a momentum going. I may be able to help you to expand a bit on that thinking. Take a seat; let me give you a few gems for getting your workforce right into shape for any change that might try to take a shot at your business or market share in the near future. Let me introduce you to a new era of L.E.A.Dership
It’s the life lesson that we’re taught right from the start and the key that jump-starts every engine of movement in an organisation. Let’s put emphasis on the action word: LEAD. The L in LEAD stands for Leadership. I am an advocate of people development, hence, I continuously reinforce the notion that individuals who take on leadership roles should lead by example. In my own role as a leader, I have consciously made an effort to develop leaders out of my subordinates. But before developing these traits of leadership in them, I myself needed to possess these traits. This is an on-going journey, but a necessary one.
John Maxwell puts it this way “We reproduce who we are, not who we want”…in practical terms if I want each of my employees to face their work with a certain attitude, I, as their leader, need to demonstrate this attitude consistently, thereby reinforcing this attitude within them. Whether you are a team leader, a department superior or even in the case that you do not have a leadership position yet, developing leadership traits within yourself is a crucial aspect of career development.
The crux of being a leader is always, as Nike says, “just do it”. Procrastination zones are built around phrases such as “I would like to…“ or “I wish I could…”, a leader, on the other hand, grows by simply getting things done when they need to be done. This is how we inspire one another.
The second letter E stands for Enthusiasm. This one can’t be thrown under the rug. Enthusiasm is a necessary character trait for building up leaders, but I am not merely referring to enthusiasm in the form of excitement but rather overflowing enthusiasm. A company culture that is built on a foundation of overflowing enthusiasm has individuals that continuously encourage one another. This momentum continues to reproduce itself even when new employees join the team.
In my Sales and Marketing team, we have a tradition of daily morning meetings where each individual is given 2 minutes to share their highlights from the previous day. These highlights involve lessons learned from the previous day or week, and credits or acknowledgement to any of their other team members who helped them to achieve a task or goal. We then clap hands for each team member that receives appreciation or acknowledgement. This is how we continue to encourage one another, with overflowing enthusiasm.
I know that by now I have a significant amount of your attention and I always aim to please, so stay with me a little longer. The third letter, A, stands for Appreciation. I have always emphasised appreciation as a unique facet that distinguishes great companies from good companies. It should be an absolute priority in every organisation for you as a manager to ensure that your employees are encouraged, recognized and motivated by the organization, and not just the employees doing that themselves. I often recite Shawn Achor’s (founder and CEO of Good Think, Inc. ) interesting take on company culture: he says that “The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce.”
The question here is “How can your company cultivate a positive and engaged workforce?” By appreciating its most valued asset: its employees. As you know, it is quite easy for you as a manager to focus on the faults or inconsistencies of your employees, those will always be areas of improvement as your company grows. From my years of experience as a manager, I have come to understand that the best strategy for motivating any workforce to work on improving their inconsistencies is to make sure they feel appreciated.
Appreciate the unique personalities of your employees, their ability to deliver the tasks you’ve assigned, their willingness to take initiative and to act independently. If showing appreciation to your employees isn’t a priority for you, then, most likely, you will get the least amount of effort from them simply because no employee likes to follow orders simply because they are told to do so by their bosses.
D for Determination…Yes, it’s the golden nugget of productivity. The D word pretty much sums up the effectiveness of any organisation, by that I mean it is the drive that gets us to do what we need to do when we need to do it. There are two key generals behind this solid fortress; perseverance and persistence. Let’s look at it this way, in your organization; your employees continuously face challenges in executing their tasks, and what pulls them through these challenges are their perceptions of what challenges really are.
Some employees view challenges as “problems” or “limits” which disable them from reaching a goal. Your employees’ perceptions of challenges will always determine whether they persist in the execution of their tasks and whether they will persevere through a series of challenges. Simply put, a change of word leads to a change of thoughts, it’s all about perspective (for example “we don’t call it a problem, we call it a challenge”).
The focus here should always be on how we can overcome challenges; our thinking should always be solution-driven. When my team comes to me with challenges that they are facing, my response is always consistent: we spend 10% of the time hearing and understanding the challenge that they are facing and the other 90% working on a solution for that challenge. Let’s be more solution-focused managers and supervisors, this way we will cultivate a culture of persistence and perseverance.
I have come quite a long way with my team. We are at a stage of development where many of them are doing things for the first time and are moving out of their comfort zones. The team constantly learns to act independently and to find solutions to unique challenges.
My responsibility as a manager and leader is to constantly micro-manage their productivity to ensure that they are effective at organising their tasks. The basic step is to make sure that your team functions in an environment where they feel encouraged to develop their skills and expand on their capabilities. Tracking your workforce is as important as tracking your profits or sales. Without tracking you will never be able to measure the progress of your employees based on these keys, neither will you be able to see the progress of implementing each of these keys.
Written by Mbula Ngulube