In our years of leading and managing people, we’ve always made efforts to improve the way we supervise them. We make it a point that they’re empowered to give their best performance at work. From attending public seminars to enrolling in in-house corporate training and reading books on leadership and management, you name it. We’ve most likely already done it.
But we’ve still been wondering why there’s something lacking in what we do and how we do it. It remains that not all people on our team perform up to expectations and even if they do, it’s obvious they don’t look as engaged as they should.
What seems to be wrong here? Aren’t the world’s most famous and widely-used theories and frameworks about leadership and management effective or sufficient? Not really. They’re not famous and widely-used for nothing.
However, in my years of being supervised myself and getting to observe different people, both supervising and supervised, I’ve realized that all these years, we’ve kept on handling our people based on what we should do and not on what our people need to see, hear, get, and experience.
You might be thinking I’m just talking about the same thing. Isn’t what we are supposed to do the same as what our employees have to receive in return? Not exactly.
More often, what we think we ought to do isn’t always what they need to get. This is because what we think we need to do is only based on what our own supervisors, the one higher than us, have told us to do. Everything has always been on their and our perspectives.
When have we ever considered our employees’ thoughts? Their points of view. Should we supervise people based on what we know or should learn or based on what they simply deserve to get in return?
That’s the whole point of this article. Let me share with you the CONNECT™ Strategy in motivating and enhancing our valuable employees. If we do all the techniques that come with this methodology, together with constantly arming them with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities, we don’t have to worry about making them perform at their optimum level while being contented and contributing at the same time.
All these techniques start with the word ‘CONNECT’. It’s all about connections, really.
Connect what they do and what they must accomplish to the bigger picture that benefits them and everybody else.
Simple Equation: What they are doing + Why they are doing it + What’s in it for them
Our employees are sick and tired of just being told what to do, how to do it well, and what our expectations and standards are. At the end of the day, they would always feel pressured and stressed.
But if we find the connections among what they must do, why they need to do it, and how it actually benefits them the most in return, the knowledge and the understanding of the job expectation levels up to appreciation and hard work. This is what the bigger picture is all about. It’s not just about the company, us as the supervisors, and them. It’s about everyone, everything, and the greater good.
Connect the process (the steps they need to take to finish the job) and the outcome (the result).
When we’re teaching and/or coaching our employees (especially the newbies) about how to accomplish their task, we’re very thorough with our instructions and the details of each step. However, what we come short of doing is describing how we want the outcome or the output to look. It’s all about managing expectations.
Our employees are fed up with doing their best to please us only to hear that their best wasn’t good enough or they still deviated from our standards.
Every time we provide instructions or explain to them how a job must be done, we are better off also explaining what quality and quantity of work we really expect and what condition will really make us happy. What kind of performance are we expecting to get? Poor, Good, Very Good, or Excellent? We need to be very specific about what we look forward to. Our employees will appreciate to know what for you is ‘BEST’ and how they can achieve it.
Connect your motivational strategies to what triggers their motivation.
When was the last time you asked each of your employees what motivates them and what/who inspires them? When have you ever cared about these things in the first place?
All along, we’ve thought that it’s enough for people to be knowledgeable, skillful, and prepared. That’s not the case. Our employees are human beings too. We, as human beings, have emotions. We feel. There are times that when situations don’t cooperate with us, we get demotivated or uninspired. All of us do.
We should always see to it that their level of motivation and inspiration is steady all the time. The best way to know what motivates them and who/what inspires them is to basically find time to find it out. Whether you’re in an actual coaching or counseling session or just taking a sip of coffee together outside of work, we can talk to them about it anywhere, anytime.
And when we finally know what those are, we use them to customize our leadership and management approach in a manner that always gasses up their need-for-motivation-and-inspiration tank.
Connect them to their tasks and the company’s desired or expected results
This is very like connecting the process to the outcome. When we assign tasks to our employees, we need to be very clear about what I personally call the Five As of Coaching/Delegation/Giving Instructions.
Apart from explaining and covering all aspects of their ASSIGNMENT (1st A), our employees would also appreciate if the following are clarified to them as well:
What are they permitted to decide on by themselves? What are the things that they must consult you about first before they make any next move? The limits of authority or decision-making must be explained. Our employees don’t want to be reprimanded for something that they only did just because they wanted to show they have initiative.
When something goes wrong, what are they gonna be held liable for and who should they explain to? What circumstances should they keep from happening that will put them in big trouble? The answers to these questions are their accountability and they would definitely feel very equipped if they learn these matters.
Amplitude refers to the degree, extent, quality, or state of being of something. When giving our employees tasks, it would empower them if they understand our desired results or expectations. We need to be very detailed about the kind of performance that we want. When they know it, they would know how much they should show and how good they should be.
It’s not enough that our employees are educated and equipped when we delegate an ASSIGNMENT to them. They also need to be encouraged to be empowered to accomplish their task with flying colors. We need to verbalize not only our support but also our commitment to be with them every step of the way. When they are motivated and inspired enough, they can work with minimal to even zero supervision.
How does it sound or look when we’re able to connect what we want them to do and our standards and expectations this way?
Connect them and the management
When have we ever made our employees feel that they’re not only salaried employees but also family members of the organization? When have we ever made them appreciate that they’re not only like soldiers in the battlefield that can just be left to die anytime?
Employees perform and contribute selflessly when they are in a company that only treats titles as no more than functional roles or responsibilities. At the end of the day, everyone’s equal and even newly-hired employees and rank-and-file ones are treated the same way that supervisors and managers are.
Employees hate that when changes are introduced, they are always the last to know. Worse, they never get to know and they’re only surprised when they can already experience these adjustments themselves. They would appreciate if they are provided updates about matters concerning themselves, their jobs, their positions, their tenure, and everything else in the company consistently and openly. (Also learn about A.D.A.P.T., our self-conceptualized framework or model about managing our employees through changes)
Furthermore, if we need to achieve an alignment among the rank and file, the management, and the higher-ups, it would help a lot if everybody’s calibrated about the company’s vision, mission, work values, directions, and strategies and each one practices what’s preached.
Connect them to opportunities.
Let’s be honest. Usually, the ones who only experience to be sent to a public seminar more often than others are supervisors, managers, directors, and up. Basically, anyone that already holds a leadership position.
Let’s accept the fact too that with some companies, learning and development opportunities are not for everyone especially when finances are a major concern.
Some owners and top-level executives see training more as an expense than an investment, don’t they? Even if they don’t, the reality is that the supervisors and the managers are always the ones prioritized when not everybody can avail of public seminars, in-house corporate training, and even technical and non-technical local and global certifications.
Employees leave when they feel they’re not important and that their contributions are downplayed. Let’s do them a favor. If we expect them to turn in profits/revenues for the company, then let’s help them do so by making sure they’re always educated and equipped with the right knowledge and skills through learning and development opportunities, shall we?
Connect their problems to their own solutions and your recommendations.
As I always tell people I train, mentor, coach, and counsel, the best way to lead and manage our employees is when they can already lead or manage themselves.
When they have problems about their performance or state of motivation and inspiration, we need to instill in them the value of independence and self-organization. (Read our other article that also talks about how to help our employees correct or improve their performance)
When we’re coaching or counseling them, let’s first ask them how they can help themselves instead of us giving the solution right away. It empowers them when they are encouraged to think of their own strategies before we spoon-feed with our own best practices.
Employees commit more when what they should commit to is their own idea or their solution to their own problem. Nobody would cheat or make a fool of themselves saying yes to something when it’s their own thoughts to begin with.
Connect yourself to them.
Usually, employees who don’t perform or who always come short of their performance targets are those who don’t have at least a good working relationship with their bosses. It’s even worse when it’s not them who distance themselves away, but it’s the supervisor who puts up an imaginary wall between him/her and the employees.
Studies have proven that our employees are more engaged and empowered when there are both a congenial and a very professional connection between us and them.
Therefore, we are expected to balance job and company requirements and making our employees feel at home and happy, satisfied, and contented (HCS) at the same time. This can be done by:
- Just being a role model.
We don’t have the right to remind our employees about their attendance or punctuality when we’re always absent or late all the time ourselves. How can we motivate or inspire our employees to give their best at work when we deliver an average performance ourselves?
- Display positive attitude
How can we expect our employees to be high-performing individuals when we act like an Adolf Hitler reborn in the office? Relationships are important. The supervisor-subordinate relationship will never be mutually-respectful and productive if either party is antagonistic towards the other.
When we’re displaying a role-model attitude that is worthy of looking up to and deserving to be followed, it becomes a pleasure for our employees to help us make the management happy.
- Use power words at work.
Words are no doubt very powerful. Even in the absence of tangibles and actions, when our employees hear praises, uplifting statements, and optimistic words from us, they feel valuable and indispensable.
When our employees feel as such, they are resolved to always give their best at work to repay us and the company for the trust, respect, and kindness showed to them. It will help us if we think first before we speak and frame our words positively every time we communicate with them about both work and non-work related stuff. (Read our other article talking about how to improve communicating in the workplace using five time-proven strategies)
Connect motivation and the working environment
Everybody knows Google, the global multi-billion-dollar internet company we better recognize as the search engine. It’s always placed as one of the top, if not the best, employers and best companies to work at in the world.
Why? Because this company recognizes the fact that the working environment, in terms of rest, recreation, and quality of management, has so much bearing on the level of competence, confidence, and satisfaction of employees. They’ve proven that the more employee-friendly the workplace is, the more motivated, inspired, and driven people are to help the company.
Our office doesn’t need to look like Googleplex but if our office was inspired by its very users’ comfort and convenience or always renovated, redesigned, or at least reorganized to incite employees’ creativity, innovation, productivity, and enjoyment, making them perform or help us achieve the company’s bottom lines should never be that complicated ever again.
Connect employees to one another
No man is an island especially in a workplace where different people with different personalities and backgrounds converge. It’s inevitable that people, regardless of their level of closeness to one another, must work together on a certain project.
When our employees genuinely get along very well and they don’t feel uneasy or awkward working with anyone, we can tell that we’ve been successful in connecting them to one another.
Synergy tells us that interconnected and compatible participants, as with our employees, translate to a faster accomplishment of projects that are done with quality and a more efficient way of exceeding performance targets.
Therefore, we will reap so many benefits if we correct or strengthen team camaraderie and collaboration through team and team culture building interventions like play-and-process structured learning activities (we commonly call as team building) or simply allow the employees to bond better in and out of work.
Now we know that motivating and inspiring our precious corporate talents, our employees, should never be tedious or burdensome again. By leveraging the CONNECT Strategy in motivating and inspiring them, we can be assured that our company, through us, is ready and equipped to realize its vision, achieve its mission, and breathe life into its core values.
If you would like our company to convert this article into a one-day or a customized in-house corporate training or public seminar for your organization, just give us call at (02) 919-2734 and talk to our Chief EnterTrainment Officer and The Corporate EnterTrainer and Soft Skills Guru of the Philippines himself, Mr. Myron Sta. Ana himself or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the training outline, just click the link below: