Anamcgary's Blog

Leadership thoughts from PeopleFirst HR


Leave a comment

Managers – Mediators of Motivation

Watch a manager who is hard at work. Chances are you’ll see a person struggling, intellectually and emotionally, to create a desire in others for goal-directed action.

Here’s the thing: people are motivated to do what they like doing. Everyone is motivated to do something. The slacker who sits across from you may also coach the State Champion little league team, 3rd year in a row, the result of vigorous practice every week.

Someone I respect as a leader very much told me the best advice he ever heard about motivation was a quote from former U.S. President Harry Truman. When asked how he managed to get people onto his team and fired up, he responded: “I find out what people want. Then I help them get it.”

Important message hereTake time to discover people’s interests and what is important to them. Just ask them. I haven’t met anyone yet who won’t talk about themselves and their interests. If you find that job security is paramount to one person, emphasize the relationship between new long-term projects and the potential security they provide.

Discuss your own interests and goals with your team members. Then, have a discussion about aligning personal goals with the business targets and related tasks. You’re not going to satisfy every desire; people understand that. But when people feel that their own input and interests are valued, they are more committed to the business results—and to each other.

 


Leave a comment

The key to creating great employees

It’s hard to forget your first job learning office protocol, building a rapport with the team, impressing your boss and meeting the ever-intimidating CEO. You may have felt eager to be noticed or eager to just blend in — either way, there were likely moments of discomfort that you do not want to revisit anytime soon.

Similarly, you may recall the moment you first engaged with your mentor. The way that person took you under his or her wing, made you feel confident and inspired you to become the  leader you are today.

As leaders, we all want to be like our mentors but are cognizant of the intimidation factor that often comes with being a CEO.  It’s no secret that the best teams are made up of happy people who feel respected, appreciated and challenged in the workplace. I have experienced first hand how connecting with people makes them feel at ease in the workplace and much happier and therefore more productive.

Paul Damico, president of Atlanta-based Moe’s Southwest Grill recently told SmartBusiness his strategy for developing his workforce is creating relationships.  Below are some of the ways
this CEO builds relationships with his employees and stays plugged into his organization.

The best meetings are one on one

One way I connect with a team is by having one-on-one meetings with associates at all levels of the organization. As a rule, no one says no to a one-on-one. As the name implies, it is a face-to-face meeting with just me.  It provides a dedicated time to discuss ideas, feedback, goals, personal development or anything the associate wishes to discuss.  When someone within the organization, whether it’s me, a member of the executive team or an associate, requests a one-on-one, all parties know that no one is ‘in trouble,’ as is often assumed when you’re called into the boss’s office.

Not only are these meetings helpful for the team but also for me to keep my finger on the pulse, offer recognition, provide coaching and/or hear great suggestions.

Live the open-door policy

On my office door I have a sign that reads ‘This wood panel may look closed, but it’s open — no, really, come in.’ I want to be sure everyone knows, quite literally, that I have an open-door policy. I want the team to feel free to pop their heads in and ask a question or pull me into an impromptu meeting at any time.

I have found that the team can run faster and leaner with this policy in place. We can make decisions and go through the proper approval channels in a speedy manner when we eliminate the need to have a meeting to discuss setting up a meeting for another meeting. We’ve all been there.

Get personal

Another way I connect with my team members is by making the effort to get to know every one of them personally. I make it a goal to ask them about their personal lives, interests, families and goals. In fact, when we do our annual goal-planning sessions, we ask that associates include personal goals on their list. We find that if you’re fulfilled outside of work, you’ll be happier
on the job. A happy associate is, more often than not, a more productive one.

Mi casa es su casa

I think one of the most effective ways to instantly break down the barriers between myself and the members of my team is to open up my home. When we have company parties, I like to host them at my house with my family. When possible, we have the team invite their spouses, and we keep the vibe very laid back.

One of the guiding values at Moe’s Southwest Grill is to be yourself. We go out of our way to ensure everyone feels comfortable to do just that.

Next time you see the newest member of your team quietly lingering outside your office door, tell them to come in, just like your mentor may have done to you many years ago, and get to know them. And if all else fails, you can always just hang a sign on the door.

 


Leave a comment

The best way to motivate your team….

The simple answer to the age-old question of how to motivate depends on the organization’s culture, the leadership style of management and current circumstances, including the economic environment.

Does your company have a “take no prisoners” mentality when it comes to competition and winning? If so, the organization probably focuses more on the stick to motivate.  Typically, younger companies drive results this way because of the scarcity of money, the pressures on time, and the realization that mediocrity and too many misses can prove to be lethal.

In established organizations, a lighter collegial style is more common, as is the frequent use of the carrot. For example, call centers are noted for celebrating just about everything. A rep receives a relatively unremarkable compliment from a customer and bells go off and high fives fly. Everyone in this type of facility expects to get a carrot on a more regular basis. When infractions occur, the supervisor will have a conversation with the offender, though the talk will likely be punctuated with an abundance of positive reinforcement.

Many type-A personalities wouldn’t be productive nor enjoy a purely “carrot patch” workplace. Go-getters tend to get a high from the pressure always on them to produce. They covet the rush of the thrills and chills of getting the tough job done. Many do their best when they are under the gun, fearing that if they slip and fall they may not get up again. Fear of failure, is their hot button, as perverse as it may sound. Sure, the carrot does motivate, too, but it’s the challenge of the chase, having someone with a stick on their tail that pushes them into overdrive. Can a company thrive with only type-A employees? Absolutely not, because it’s probable that this would create a constant state of anarchy.

Every business needs plenty of the Steady Eddies who can be counted on to consistently do the job day in and day out. This type thrives on predictability and the gratification of periodic praise. If the boss was to approach him or her with a stick to make a point, it would scare the heck out of him or her.

In between the top and bottom rungs of your corporate ladder, there are dozens of iterations of what it takes to get people to do their best. The skill is in figuring out what size fits each individual category. Creating the appropriate environment for your type of business will set the tone as to how people will respond. A utopia for overachievers could become a living hell for those who prefer a setting in which they can do their jobs where the only excitement is watching paint dry and grass grow. It takes a variety of all types to build an organization, and when all are carefully mixed together in the proper proportions, the team will jell, and that’s what gives a company its unique personality that works.

As people grow and mature, what worked in the past may have to change and the formula may need to be reconfigured to fit a company’s evolving needs. Also, when economic circumstances outside of your personnel’s
control deteriorate, smart companies know it’s time to lighten up a bit and use more carrots, primarily because the stick can’t change the reality of a negative business environment. Much like beating that dead horse, it won’t do any good, and it will harm a company in the long run, as employees won’t forget how they were treated when the chips were down.

To most effectively craft your company’s motivation techniques, you must listen to what your employees are saying and then translate their words into what they really mean.  Learning when and with whom to dangle the carrot, use the stick, or add thrills and chills to the work environment will help drive your company’s sustained success.