LeaderManagers Encourage Self-directed, Accountable and an Engaged workforce
In our knowledge-driven age, LeaderManager are strategic enablers who build the foundation for a workforce to thrive, take ownership over their own work, and positively engage in the workplace. Success for a thriving workforce means employees become brand ambassadors, contributors to a constructive work environment, and high performers by contributing to quality work.
The challenge for LeaderManagers is reflected in the saying, “these outcomes are easier said than done.” Many of us have experience in trying to change a behaviour or a culture. It takes determination, will-power and plenty of conscious effort. The we’ve-always-done-it-this-way and it’s-been-working-so-why-change culture are comments that we have heard far too often, and unfortunately we can still hear them being expressed in many workplaces today.
This article explores five areas where LeaderManagers can develop a high-performing culture by encouraging a self-directed, accountable and an engaged workforce.
1. Linking Personal Values to Organizational Vision
One of the most important pre-requisite for a productive knowledge workforce is to have a clear line-of-sight between values and vision. Vision provides the end-in-mind, a goal that we work towards, while values provide us the necessary fuel for our journey. Here are three critical questions to explore:
If your answers are ‘no’ to any of these questions, it might mean that you are not motivated by someone else’s vision. The only vision that motivates us is our own vision. It is important therefore, to identify what our personal vision is. Where do we see ourselves in three years? Five years? You might think this is a no-brainer, but putting these thoughts on paper is harder than it seems. Once done however, we have established the first step towards a personal destination.
What about values? We choose our own values and we accept the consequences of living with them, repeatedly. It’s who we are. Similarly, turning values into written statements is not an easy. Once we do it, we may notice a gap between who we intend to be and where we are today. Use this values gap as a personal driver for change.
Now, compare your personal values and vision with that of the organization. Do they align? Where don’t they align? How does this affect you and your team? It is only in alignment where your find energy both for you and your team.
2. Keeping Focus While Maintaining Flexibility Doing more with less is now becoming a new normal. The workforce is continuously asked to deliver more, deliver better and with fewer resources. This creates more stress for people and often results in an unhealthy workplace. Technology and tools, instead of becoming the enablers of efficiency, are now enabling inefficiency.
On average, each of us receive 50 – 100 emails in our in-basket every day and we feel compelled to click on it at least 8 times during the day. We may also receive an average of 5 voicemails per day which take a slightly longer time to process than many of our emails. These numbers increase as we advance within the levels of management.
Our busyness meter jumps another notch when we find colleagues popping by to request help or just wanting to visit, or we become distracted when we give in to the temptation of checking news updates.
A University of California study in 2008 stated that we are interrupted every 11 minutes and it takes us about 25 minutes to return to our original tasks. It also estimated that one hour of productive work is equivalent to 3-4 hours of productive time.
Have we asked ourselves how much productive time that we have in a day?
The basic principle to begin resolving the dilemma of staying focus while maintaining flexibility lies in finding ways to get back in control of our own day and managing the distractions that we face everyday. Keeping focus, at its core, is to make sure we make appointments with ourselves so that we can work on what’s important.
3. Managing Priorities and Developing Personal OwnershipWe may all be familiar with the Important/Urgent Window that is now pervasive in the literature that explores how to manage time and workload. It is important to keep reminding ourselves about this window, because it does help us to continue to put our focus on the right priorities and focus on the right thing at the right time. It’s the first step in creating our short and long-term to-dos, and helps us to visualize what’s at stake.
Many people get caught in the ‘busy-ness’ trap, by performing non-important activities. We need to think in terms of adding value, not just activities. Do you find yourself saying:
Being conscious of the decisions we make which allow us to complete our priorities in manageable chunks, run meetings effectively, and commit time to work on what’s important strengthens our personal accountability and ownership of our work. The satisfaction of being able to put a ‘complete’ check mark and track our own and our team’s progress will begin to drive us towards creating value for ourselves and the organization.
4. Defining and Measuring Performance It probably comes as no surprise that initiatives and projects need to be tracked and measured to ensure they are successful. Measurements must make sense to both employees and management. With this in mind, the measurement tool should not be used against an individual or a team. Instead, it should be a motivator to enhance results. Dialogue is a critical element in any successful measurement because many of the measurements we choose to use will have intangible results. Key steps in developing a performance process is to answer the following questions:
5. Persuading and Influencing An effective, efficient, high-performing and engaged workforce in today’s business requires that every one influences each other to serve the organization’s strategic purpose. We are constantly influencing one another – creating presentations, crafting persuasive arguments, engaging our team members, and making our presence heard in meetings. In other words, the more influential we are, the more value we add to the organization and our team.
Influencing is best defined as an interactive process which enables us to build relationships with people to bring about an exchange of ideas, actions and behaviours without using force or authority.
Effective influencing skills are critical for a high performing culture. When team members positively influence others, they encourage everyone on the team to become the best they can be.
How can LeaderManagers improve in these five areas? The following are three strategies to consider.