1. Provide a MAP. You may find it counterintuitive that money is not the primary reason someone loves their job. Nonetheless, it turns out that several other factors, when taken together, are even more important. In his best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink explains what employees really want from their employers, which can be simply stated as being given the opportunity to continually master new skills while working autonomously toward a purpose greater than themselves. This does not mean that you shouldn’t pay people adequately, but a MAP is what really leads to enchantment. And while you’ve got control over how much money you pay someone, it is also important to remember that you’ve got control over your relationships in these three areas, and how you provide opportunities within each area. The cost to you for each one can be little or nothing, with a significant payoff.
Here is a brief look at each member of this powerful trio of concepts:
- Mastery: People innately want to get more competent at a job they do each day. They have an intrinsic need to excel and improve.
- Autonomy: Set goals for people, give them the proper tools, and then stand back. Micromanagement erodes trust and is the enemy of autonomy.
- Purpose: (I consider this to be the most important of the three factors, but as acronyms go, MAP works better than PAM.) Purpose is the meaning made by your organization. It’s the expression of how you are making the world a better place. Your employees want to play a daily role in how this meaning is made.
2. Empower them to do the right thing. If people have the freedom to work autonomously, it demonstrates that you trust them to make the right decision on customers’ behalf. This high level of trust and empowerment will lead toward the performance of their best work. Remember that your best employees set an example for others. They want to present a sense of delight to their customers—your customers. An important factor in job satisfaction is the ability to make customers happy.
If you burden people with rules and procedures designed more to prevent losses than to make gains, you’re preventing them from working in the customer’s best interest. That means disenchanted employees— and disenchanted customers. Not a good way to change the world. If your employees are empowered to do the right thing, they’ll feel good about themselves and will consistently enchant their customers.
3. Judge your results and their intentions. Maybe it’s just human nature, but most managers tend to be harsher judges of their employees’ results than they are of their own results. “I really tried to meet my sales quota, but you didn’t meet yours.”(Sound familiar?) This is the opposite of what an enchanting manager does. Be a tougher judge of your results than your employees. What did you accomplish? What were your employees’ intentions?
The usual way sets you up to find few faults with how you have performed, while zeroing in on shortcomings of your employees. If, over a long period of time, their results are sub-par, consider asking yourself a couple of questions: Did we make a hiring mistake? Have we made mistakes in training? Don’t give yourself the benefit of the doubt so often.
4. Address your shortcomings first. Judging is one thing; fixing is another. Nobody is perfect, you included. How could you have done a better job yourself? After that soul-searching, you can start talking about employee improvement. Peter Drucker’s words have never been truer: “So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” Selfcriticism is a powerful component of enchantment. Setting a good example is also a good source for employees to experience inspiration by your example. The idea for enchantment is to develop inspired employees, not intimidated ones. Blame yourself first and most, and see what happens.
5. Suck it up. This is a phrase that is often used without considering its full meaning and implication. The Urban Dictionary provides this definition: “to endure a period of mental, physical, or emotional hardship with no complaining.” If you are driving a big and important enough cause, enduring-without-complaining is probably going to be a frequent occurrence, and something you are going to want to model for your employees.
You have to show that you’ll do whatever it takes. Employees need to know that you’ll do the dirty, hard, and frustrating jobs too. That’s what great people do: employers and employees alike.
6. Don’t ask employees to do the things you won’t do. If you’re not willing to fly from New York to New Delhi in coach, then don’t ask them to do it, either. Do you answer all your e-mail? Are you willing to make photocopies? How about emptying the trash can or cleaning up the occasional mess? Do you arrive in the office early and stay late? If you don’t, it’s going to be hard to ask your employees to do these things.
Enchanting your employees is easier if you can develop a sense of empathy for what they do each day, and show that you are pitching in alongside them. This is a great guiding principle for your management style. It leads not only to enchantment but to increased credibility and loyalty, a priceless combination.
7. Celebrate successes. When your organization scores a success, celebration is in order. Unrelenting toil in the face of success (or failure) is rarely worth the time or effort. Success as a group is unbeatable, and it is best to celebrate it as a group. You’ll want to remember this if you are trying to emphasize team achievements more than individual ones. But don’t get carried away with lavish, expensive celebrations that seem more excessive than empowering. Holding a celebration at a fancy, expensive setting, with entertainment by famous names, sends the wrong message, and it wastes money. Employees will be enchanted by celebrations that are fun and cool, not extravagant and awesome.
8. Get a devil’s advocate. This is a term that lots of people toss around, without knowing its original meaning. For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church appointed advocates (called advocatus diaboli) who argued against candidates for sainthood. Consider using a similar approach in how your organization canonizes decisions, the kind that may be difficult and costly to undo later. A practice such as this improves the way your organization functions and works toward its goals, especially lofty ones. In turn, it makes life better for your employees and enchants them in the process. If employees do get disenchanted, they can talk to the devil’s advocate and know that rocking the boat is really OK.
9. Show some love. Michael Lopp, in his book Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager, contends that the three crucial words during the recruitment process are “We want you.” This recognition is relevant not only during the recruiting phase but every day on the job. Make sure you enchant your employees by making it plain that they’re wanted today, and they’ll be wanted tomorrow. Suppose that you think that because we are in an era of high unemployment, you can scale back wooing and enchanting your employees. This is a mistake, not only on principle, but because truly great people are always in short supply. Woo them or lose them.
10. Use money sparingly. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay people fairly and well. However, money can be the enemy of enchantment. What is their true motivation? Are your employees working hard because of a paycheck or because they really believe in what your organization produces?
The great people will be capable of finding more meaningful work elsewhere, maybe even at higher pay. If money is your sole source of enchantment, you’re in trouble. You can even think of your regular employees in the same light as your volunteers: they have nonfinancial needs that you must meet, and they can walk out the door at any time. Take care to consider how well they are managed on a consistent basis. Give them clear, helpful feedback. Provide proper recognition for their work and efforts. Make them feel appreciated.
by Guy Kawasaki
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Using Emergenetics to Build Team Performance (2)
Using Emergenetics to Build Team Performance (3)
Money Motivation Series
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? (1)
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? (2)
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? (3)
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? (4)
Does Money Really Affect Motivation? (5)