Don’t Just Tell Me, Show Me

We’ve been looking at some handy dandy checklists and learning about how to use the power of small wins to engage and motivate our employees.  I don’t know about you, but all the “dos” bog me down and I need a scenario.  Amabile and Kramer provide us with such a scenario to illustrate their findings, which I summarize below:

Graham managed a chemical development company trying to invent a new product.  Unfortunately, shifting priorities from the top, conflict, and vacillating commitments as well as a tight budget and possible job losses challenged the project.  Even worse, an early iteration of the product infuriated an important customer and the project ground to a halt.  Graham turned the entire project around with 4 important steps:

1.     Analyze instead of attack– no blame for the angry test product instead identify the problem and coordinate solutions

2.     Track daily progress – in the absence of judgment team members were eager to give frequent updates allowing for continuous communication and progress

3.     Used the checklists – this allowed him to daily customize and target the support his team members needed the most

4.     Be a resource not a micromanager – give goals and team members room to accomplish them, help analyze problems and allow them to solve them, and share all information pertinent to progress

These steps may be difficult to implement in the real time of crises and deadlines within your workplace. But instilling a healthy management approach through examining your daily habits will go a long way towards shaping your employees’ engagement, job satisfaction and overall productivity.  Basic respect and consideration go a long way towards allowing your employees to enjoy their workplace and their work.  Manage the progress instead of managing the people and you will likely find superior work habits forming throughout your organization.

Perhaps you need some assistance analyzing where you are in this process and the overall health of your team culture?  Perhaps you have been driving your employees stark, raving mad and didn’t even know it?  Let us know if you’d like a fresh perspective, we are always happy to help.


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