6 Powerful Leadership Principles to Bring Out the Best in Your People
As a business growth coach I am often asked the question, “What’s your advice on achieving fast business growth?”
My one line response, “Never try to do it alone.”
Whether you are the CEO or a key manager, the quickest road to fast business growth is through having a team of committed people. Strong development is what will allow you to laser focus on your core areas of competencies and not fall into the trap of wearing too many hats, which will only slow you down. (more…)
The challenge of overcoming employee resistance is a hurdle both small and large business owners face.As your business grows, it has to adapt to changing circumstances. Trends and tastes change, and new challenges emerge; and it’s the most flexible, adaptive businesses that survive. This evolutionary process can be painful – especially when your employees are resistant to change.
From my experience, balancing the needs of the business, and the desires of its employees, is the most common problem facing small business owners and their managers. Implementing structural change in a business has become a dreaded necessity – but it needn’t be.
Here are 8 surefire strategies to overcoming employee resistance; the most effective, efficient and productive ways to create successful change in your business.
#1. Check your attitude.
Addressing your own attitude might sound contrarian, when it’s clearly the employees who have a stubborn attitude – but as a business owner or manager, you have to first put on the mindset that the “buck stops here”.
There’s no need to be a “barker”or a “dictator”if it doesn’t suit your personality – but if employees are resisting change, their lack of cooperation is probably because you’re letting people walk all over you. Check your attitude:
Are you catering to their needs?
Are you caving in to their resistances?
Are you managing conflict, or are you avoiding conflict?
#2. Commit to being the leader.
If people aren’t listening to you, they’re not following you. People follow leaders.
Eleanore Roosevelt so famously said, “If you have to tell people you’re a lady; you’re not a lady.”The same applies to management. If you have to tell your people to listen to you, you’re not a leader — or at least, you’re not acting like a leader.
Overcoming employee resistance starts with committing to be a strong leader. I often discover that managers and business owners who struggle with overcoming employee resistance hold misconceptions of what a leader is. A leader is not a dictator. A leader is not barker. A leader does not need to strong arm or threaten their people to do what you need them to do.
Reframe your definition of a leader as being more of a coach. If you were the new Head Coach of a football team and you needed to develop a group of underdogs into a championship level team, ask yourself:
Have you cast an exciting, clear vision of where your company (team) is going?
Are you raising the bar on their effort, performance and work ethic?
Are you holding each team player accountable to follow through – or are you letting them slack?
#3. Have clear player POSITIONS.
One of the biggest hindrances to overcoming employee resistance to change is that employees were never given clear expectations to begin with.
What exactly was each person hired for?
What position are they playing on your team?
If they’re hired to play wide receiver, then clearly define the role of a wide receiver. Don’t confuse and frustrate your players by having them play linebacker, quarterback, defense and wide receiver all in the same game.
People’s reactions are always based on their expectations. If you’re constantly throwing new changes to their job function it’s understandable that employees would grow increasingly frustrated. After all, they’re trying to hit a constantly moving target.
Employees end up thinking “Hey, this is not what I signed up for!”–and their motivation plummets.
In order to mitigate that:
#4. Have clear player EXPECTATIONS.
If you want to stop the reaction of resistance, start by setting clear player expectations.
Do you have a written job description for each player?
Is the language crystal clear in objective terms rather than subjective and open to interpretation?
Does it define performance that meets expectations, falls below expectations or exceeds expectations?
#5. Don’t “pass the buck”
If you don’t have written job descriptions, avoid the temptation to allow people to define their own roles or write their own job descriptions.
Having your employees write their own job description is only valuable as a barometer to assess their expectations of their role within the business; and how they align with your expectations.
I do not recommend taking this approach to let your players write their own player positions and expectations for you. That’s your job. These are decisions that should be made by you.
Ok, now that you’ve read this far, you’re ready to dive into
In Part 2, let me share three more tips and techniques for creating successful change in your business; and even explore how you can benefit from them in all areas of your life!
#6. Hold firm expectations.
Once you set your expectations, you need to hold firm to them.People can tell whether you’re firm or fake. They can smell that fear a mile away. Overcoming employee resistance to change will only continue to be a challenge if managers continue to waver on setting clear, firm expectations.
What are the non-negotiable expectations you have for each employee?
What is the language you use to communicate those expectations?
What is the tone you project? What does your non-verbal communication say?
#7. Build relationships.
Overcoming employee resistance to change doesn’t come from focusing on their behavior; but from focusing on your relationship.
Employee resistance occurs when there’s no respect.
There’s no respect because there is no trust.
There’s no trust because there’s no relationship.
There’s no relationship because there is no consistent one-on-one time.
Remember that: relationships are NOT built in groups. Relationships are built one-on-one
How often do you schedule one-on-one time with each of your direct reports?
Do you critique your employees more than you appreciate them?
#8. Find out their “WHAT”and their “WHY”.
As business owners and managers, we all want a team of players who are highly self-motivated. Self-motivated people are naturally self absorbed. But, in this case, being self absorbed is not a bad thing.
If you want your people to care about what you care about (growing the company), then you need to first care about what they care about.
Why? Because creating success is about creating a win-win situation for everyone.
When you’re struggling with overcoming employee resistance, remember:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
How much do you know about each employee?
Have you ever asked what motivates them?
Have you ever asked what their goals are, in both their professional and personal lives?
Have you ever asked why? What would achieving that goal allow them to do, be or have, that they don’t have right now?
Benefiting from these skills in all areas of your life
As a parent, I want to raise my three kids to be highly self-motivated people. Like most parents, I want my kids to dream big and reach their full potential.
Despite this, I started noticing that I was nagging my son, Thomas, to get out there and practice his soccer drills. I was annoyed that I was investing time and money into his soccer training, but he was RESISTING the advice of his coach.
I decided to apply these same strategies at home. When he was around 12 years old, I sat down with my son and asked him: ‘What’s your dream?’
His answer – to become a professional soccer player.
We talked about his why, and defined what would that allow him to achieve his desires in life. Then, all I had to do was show him what separates the extraordinary soccer players from the less extraordinary soccer players.
We defined what the extraordinary soccer players did to get there —(exceeding expectations)
We defined what lesser soccer players did —(meeting expectations)
We defined what failed soccer players did —(below expectations)
‘Thanks for believing in me’
My son Thomas will soon be turning 15, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had to nag him since that conversation when he was 12. In fact, I truly admire how highly self-motivated he has become. The snow or rain does not stop him from running outside or practicing his shots on net. He is not only disciplined in his cross training routine at home, he’s also surprisingly disciplined in choosing what he eats as an athlete.
The best part as a parent was the day my son took me aside and said, “Mom, thanks for believing in me.” Wow! I can last on those 6 words for the next 6 years!
As a business owner or manager, it’s the same thing. When you have an employee who takes the time to say, “Thanks coach, for believing in me.” – that’s the kind of stuff that fuels your tank for many more years to come.
Not only do these strategies help you in overcoming employee resistance to change; they can benefit all areas of your life. Instituting these 8 starter strategies also nurtures fierce loyalty among your employees – creating motivated, productive players that will go over and beyond their call of duty.
QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to overcoming employee resistance? Please share your comments in the box below. You can also download my handy cheat sheet on Creating High Performing Teams Here.
There’s nothing wrong with aiming high – but striving for perfection could be hindering your success, If you can relate to any of these 5 signs, you need to get out of your own way, and stop being a perfectionist:
Sign #1 – Success is black and white
A lot of perfectionists can be characterized by their black or white approach to success and failure. Instead of appreciating a spectrum of success, with some business ideas achieving moderate, or even mixed results, perfectionists will view everything they do as either a complete success, or a total failure. This can be severely hindering to a business, as it encourages an attitude of ‘all-or-nothing’ – with entrepreneurs unable to see the good in their ideas, and unable to achieve satisfaction in anything they do.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Remind yourself that even bad ideas can offer value; and a failure is one step closer to success.
Sign #2 – You won’t take risks
This tendency to view all failures as completely catastrophic encourages an attitude of risk-adverseness – a desire to avoid any and all risk. An element of risk is part-and-parcel of being an entrepreneur (‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’), and being a perfectionist can reduce the growth of your business, and your willingness to adopt new ideas.
I knew a small business owner, a friend of mine, that was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to pitch their products to one of the market-leading giants of their industry. My friend was relatively successful, with a small but established customer base; and the perceived risk of scaling up their business was too much for them. They declined the offer, and missed out on the chance to sell their products internationally. Why? Because they didn’t want to risk failing – no matter how small the risk, or how big the reward.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Try and identify a spectrum of risk; ranging from small, harmless risks, to huge, life-altering ones. Make a conscious effort to take a small risk on a regular basis.
Sign #3 – You take criticism personally
Criticism is crucial to the development of a business, and the advice of our peers can provide some of the best insights into successful business development. Perfectionists have a tendency to take this criticism very personally – and they’re unable to separate business criticism from personal criticism. This happens because perfectionists invest themselves into their ideas, and take professional criticism as an attack upon their abilities. This can prevent businesses from making vital changes, and can severely limit growth.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Critique your own ideas, and try to identify an aspect of your business that could do with improving.
Sign #4 – You never reach your goals
Perfectionists are renowned for setting unreachable goals; and even rationalizing away their success when they do reach them. Perfection is rarely attainable, especially for real-world businesses and people. There are always limits and problems that arise from government legislation, employees and sheer logistics – and striving for the perfect business will prevent an entrepreneur from ever reaching their goal. Even successful entrepreneurs might never be satisfied – because they believe that their business could always be improved.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Analyze your ambitions – are they realistic? Could they ever be achieved? Set goals that are aspirational, but still founded in reality.
Sign #5 – You think unhappiness is the price of success
The end-result? Unhappiness. Most perfectionists believe unhappiness to be part-and-parcel of achieving success, and live unfulfilling lives because they think it’s vital to achieving their goals. In reality though, happiness should be a goal in its own right – and success at the expense of your own happiness isn’t really success at all.
Tip to get out of your own way:
Make happiness an ambition, and don’t strive for success at the expense of your own happiness.
QUESTION: What tips do you use to get out of your own way? How do you prevent yourself from being overly-perfectionist? Let me know in the comments!
As a business owner how do you motivate your employees ? You know that high turnover is expensive. That’s why it’s so important to regularly assess how well you motivate your employees. There will come a time when the employees in your office are not hitting goals, doing the very minimum of their work, or completely distracting themselves and others around them.
If this is going on longer than a month something has to be done because your business will start to suffer. Maybe it’s not the employee’s fault, maybe the structure of how the office is run doesn’t motivate them to work hard. If you are struggling to motivate your employees, this article will give you ideas that you may not have thought of before to boost employee engagement and productivity.
1. Give rewards and incentives.
One of the biggest motivators is giving out rewards for achieving a certain goal such as sale goals or having a quarterly goal that takes the whole office to work together achieve. These can be seasonally based incentives like renting out an amusement park for a team night out or taking your employees and their spouses out for a limo night to a 5-star restaurant.
Depending on how big and close your office is you can think outside the box with incentive ideas like paintball, concert tickets, or having massages for the office. To maximize motivation do individual goals and rewards along with company goals and rewards. Not everyone is going to be motivated to work hard for a ping pong table for the office, but most likely everyone will be motivated by getting performance bonuses, commissions, and raises. Other things could be used as rewards like non-monetary gifts, gift vouchers, vacations, etc.
2. Redesign jobs.
A lot of business owners overlook the design of their employee’s job description. If you have had an employee who has worked for you for a year, they may get burned out from doing the same thing all day everyday.
As you get to know your employees look and see what their strengths and weakness are, you can give them more responsibility to work towards promotions that will motivate and improve their productivity. There are many ways to redesign jobs such as:
Job Expansion: Increasing the tasks in a position to create variety.
Job Circling: Assigning staff to different position for temporary amount of time. This is to help employees understand different jobs around the office to increase their education for the business and help efficiency.
Job Revamp: This involves increasing the task variety, responsibility, and more authority. It is vital to ensure that the skills the job requires are matched by the abilities of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Offer progressive feedback.
Prompt progressive feedback informs the employees of the effects of their actions on the company. According to the theory of goal-setting, a company’s staff gets its motivation from goal-setting and reception of prompt and progressive feedback on where they stand concerning the goals. Research also shows that employees are motivated when they realize they are progressing.
It is essential to be specific in your feedback to staff. For instance, avoid saying ‘excellent job’ and state that the member of staff was organized in their presentation, their style of public speaking, and the citations they used. The employee is highly likely to apply these strong points in their next project when they are pointed out.
4. Believe in your staff members.
Employees who are continuously criticized in a meeting or during the break will naturally lose motivation in performing their tasks. It is always best to present constructive feedback and address their weaknesses in a private one to one closed door conversation.
Let your employee know they can do better and that they are capable and smart and so you expect more from them than they are currently offering. Transformational leadership is characterized by the perception of leaders’ trust. when attempting to motivate employees for a major project, always consider this approach.
5. Make goals achievable.
The annual bonus trip award for the highest performing sales team members is popular among many companies. The issue with such rewards is that they are awarded to a few employees. The remaining members of the team feel like they don’t need to put a lot of effort because the reward will be awarded to the same individuals.
In Vroom’s equation of expectancy, employees require seeing that the needed performance and related reward are possible to achieve. Come up with a series of rewards within the year to provide motivation for performance excellence.
For instance, as opposed to a yearly trip, award numerous three-day getaways after each quarter. Provide a variation for the reward basis from top sales to top customer service reviews to highest customer retention rate, and so on. Numerous types of excellence will offer motivation to your team members to concentrate on more areas of their performance.
6. Make expectations clear.
Employees who lack goals are usually without aim. Offer employees achievable and clear goals while ensuring standards are in place to measure their performance. Expectancy theory by Victor Vroom supports the notion that staff members must know the desired actions and that the desired performance will be yielded. When employees get clear expectations, they are motivated and resultantly, the employee net promoter score is high.
As a business owner, motivating employees should be your priority as the success of your business depends on it. Because let’s face it, if your employees aren’t getting the job done or done well you will lose customers, reputation, and money.
Motivating your employees is about bringing out the best in your people. This will improve your company culture, retention and talent development while filling your talent pipeline to meet new needs as your company grows.
QUESTION: What’s been working for you when it comes to motivating your employees as an SMB? Share your comments and questions below.
In a previous post I shared my one line response to a popular question I am often asked — “What’s your advice on achieving fast drivingbusiness growth?”
“Never try to do it alone” is always my response.
If you enjoyed reading about the 3 powerful leadership principles that helped operations manager Beth to bring out the best in her people, here are 3 more powerful leadership principles from my coachingwork with Bob.
KEY CHALLENGE: Sales Growth Stuck at 7M
One of my clients (we’ll call him Bob) is a CEO of a family run technology company focused on growing his 7 Million company into a 10 Million company. For several years he keeps plateauing at the same level.
When asked what he attributed may be the primary cause he pointed to the pattern that he continues to be the primary problem solver instead of his people being able to make swift executive decisions in their day to day work.
Observation: In visiting Bob’s company I noticed his office (and everyone else’s offices) were in an open floor plan. Bob wanted the open floor plan to let his people know he was never too high up that he was perceived as far too removed or inaccessible. He also liked the ease and convenience of being able to monitor people on the floor.
But, because of the open floor plan and Bob’s open door policy, he was bombarded with constant daily interruptions and thereby, pulled into every problem that occurred. His people can see him there, so the easiest thing for his managers to do is go straight to Bob to help them resolve their problems and/or help them make decisions quickly.
Bob’s 3 Leadership Principles That Transformed Positive Change:
A. Effective leaders must create boundaries.
B. Don’t ever forget you’re in the PEOPLE business.
C. Commit to helping your people S.O.A.R.
Actions Bob implemented:
1. Creating boundaries:
We eliminated a whopping 70% of his interruptions by Bob communicating changes to his accessibility. This might sound overly simple, but it just goes to prove how easy it is for business owners to fall into patterns of behavior when you have no one else to report to.
So, Bob posted a few weekly time slots where he could still have his open door policy, but outside of those hours each of his key people were given scheduled meeting appointments instead of the old way of allowing them to approach Bob whenever they wanted.
For the first time, Bob even started posting a “do not disturb” sign on his door (and stuck to it) which allowed him to make huge strides in working “on” his business
2. Reframing what business you’re in. Bob’s technology business took off because his knowledge, expertise and passion was in technology. But, as Marshall Goldsmith famously wrote, “what got you here, won’t get you there”.
During our coaching sessions Bob admitted he really didn’t enjoy managing people. That just wasn’t his area of expertise. But, it was his area of greatest frustration. Because he didn’t like having to manage people, he avoided holding any regular meetings with this team whenever possible.
After discussing the advantages and disadvantages of:
A. Hiring a General Manager to manage everyone for him
B. Creating more effective approaches for Bob to manage his key people or …
C. Keep doing things the same way …
Bob chose option B and began to reframe what business he was really in. And, after some practice, Bob even came to embrace it. One of the tools that helped Bob be more effective and enjoy managing people was holding weekly one on one meetings with his key staff using my simple S.O.A.R. meeting template.
3. Holding weekly 1-1 meetings to help your people S.O.A.R.
In the past, Bob tried to schedule bi-weekly meetings with his team members, but they often got postponed, cancelled and eventually avoided all together. When I asked why Bob vented he felt like he was just babysitting his employees. We discovered there was no set structure to his meetings outside of being a low level Q&A session.
I encouraged Bob to start using my simple S.O.A.R. meeting template and to commit to it for 12 weeks (12 meetings). Only 3 weeks into the challenge it didn’t surprise me how excited Bob was at seeing positive changes in his people’s performance already.
Here is the S.O.A.R. 1-1 meeting template: S = What is your SINGLE motivating purpose that is driving you this week?
O = What OBSTACLES do you need to overcome this week (month, quarter) and how do you plan on overcoming them?
A = How do you want to be held ACCOUNTABLE for key actions you will take full ownership of?
R = Recognition – What are the greatest wins you’re most proud of this week?
1. Bob’s interruptions decreased dramatically allowing him to be able to focus on CEO level tasks that were sorely needed to drive the company’s revenue growth.
2. Now that Bob embraced being in the ‘people business’ he saw his team getting faster and better at completing client projects, allowing them to handle more sales.
3. The S.O.A.R. meetings Bob instituted developed his people’s critical thinking muscles. They were able to handle higher-level tasks and decisions on their own and needed Bob’s guidance less. As a bonus, his people now use the same process to train their direct reports on developing their own critical thinking skills.
Who are the people who interrupt you the most?
What kind of boundaries do you need to create?
How effective are your 1-1 meetings with your key people?
Here’s to your success!
QUESTION: What is 1 paradigm shift that made a powerful difference in bringing out the best in your people? … Share your comments and questions below.
*This article was originally published here: https://www.paramountbusinesscoach.com/driving-business-through-strong-leadership/