The more you love your job, the better you’ll do at it. But the reverse is true: The better job you do, the more you love your job. So if you can raise both simultaneously within your team, you stand to gain exponentially in terms of productivity and generally having a good time. Neat and tidy, isn’t it? In reality, it’s not easy. People get disgruntled. You try and help them do a better job and they bark back, go sullen or simply quit. Face it, people react and emote. They aren’t perfect. Despite the best of intentions, they aren’t always in sync with what you’re trying to do. Here are 10 ways to remedy these things:
1. Love your job first.
It’s hard to get someone to adore their job when you despise yours. As an owner or manager, if you are upset about things, it will rub off on people. So how do you love your job at all times when obviously that is impossible? There isn’t any rote answer to that, but a good start is determining why you’re there in the first place and deciding it’s worth it. Another way is making it a game and an adventure. Yet another way is to simply decide that you’re going to have a good time, and going ahead and having a good time.
2. When they aren’t doing it right, tell them.
In general, people appreciate – despite what they might tell you – when you tell them the truth. If someone didn’t do a good job, tell them so. If they don’t appreciate it now, hopefully they will later. Being honest doesn’t mean cutting them down. “You can’t do it!” is not accurate. “You can do it and here’s how…” is a much more helpful statement. The arts, for example, is a field rife with criticism. Without being hyper-critical, help people do a better job. When you do so, they end up feeling better about themselves. In fact, it could mark a turning point in their career.
3. Validate a job well done.
Obviously it works both ways. When someone does a good job, don’t hesitate to let them know. People really appreciate a pat on the back. It reinforces their good intentions and orients them to what is considered a “good job” at your place of business. You don’t have to make it a competition, and certainly don’t pick favorites, but telling the team when someone has done a particularly good job helps to motivate people. People also respond to the employee of the month system with the better parking spot. Just make sure it’s a game that anyone can win if they apply themselves. Additionally, do a survey or take it up at the next meeting to make sure you’re offering something people are genuinely interested in.
4. Find strong suits.
A good manager will note who is good at what and take advantage of it. People generally enjoy things at which they excel. Just because someone was originally hired for a specific job does not mean they must always do that job. A clerk with great communication skills could potentially be more valuable in sales or PR, while someone skilled in computers might do better in IT than in the storeroom. Always be on the lookout for special talents. You help your company while allowing people to expand their horizons.
5. Offer incentives.
There should be reward in doing a good job and reaching higher levels of productivity. Many corporations offer their employees a stake in overall achievement. A number of successful corporations are even employee-owned. Work out what incentives work for your business. You can set goals (targets) for productivity and issue a bonus or reward when they are met. It’s not always a bonus in their paycheck that people want, so doing a survey will help. Offer a number of choices plus a blank line for something not on the list. Get agreement on what they’ll move mountains for, and be sure to make good on any promises.
6. Foster creativity.
People like to work in a fun and creative atmosphere. In fact, such an atmosphere, combined with competence and professionalism, makes for a high-caliber workplace. You can tailor creativity to your own business and brand. Not everyone will do ‘70s Fridays or the outrageous cubicle contest, but you should cultivate creativity that integrates well with your company culture. For instance, I know of an organization that held staff talent shows and a writing contest. In so doing, they provided a fun outlet for their staff while uncovering previously unknown but promising abilities.
7. Be family friendly.
People love and live for their kids. They work long and hard hours all for their children. No matter what, we must enhance and mentor the next generation. Hold a family day where everyone brings their kids in. Tour the youth around the office or plant (adhering to safety precautions of course). Show them how their parents get things done. Many companies offer benefits for employees and their families. Survey your staff and find out what would help them manage their familial and job responsibilities better.
8. Listen to new ideas.
You employees have a lot to offer in terms of new ideas and how to do things better. They are right there at street level, so to speak, and they see up close what may not be visible from a distance. Listen to their ideas. Hold brainstorming sessions. Announce a competition for the best idea to solve a specific problem. Just make sure that in any contest, everyone wins something. When people know that their contribution matters, they feel better about themselves and are motivated to do better.
9. Hold people responsible.
Once you make sure someone knows how to do something, there comes a point where you hand over the reins. It takes trust. People want to be trusted and they aspire to live up to that trust. There are dishonest people around, and yes, you’ll get a few in your company. They either straighten up or they don’t last. Any group is built upon responsibility and trust. When you see that growing, you are witnessing your team maturing into its true potential. Pride is another crucial element in the equation. When people know they’re part of something worthwhile, when they take pride in their contribution, they do a good job because they want to, not because someone told them to.
10. Coordinate your strategy.
Let your team in on your goals, strategy and planning. Make sure these are foremost in people’s minds. Any team should have a clear concept of how their actions, no matter how “small” or “insignificant”, add up to the bigger picture. This is done by setting attainable goals and sound planning and their integration into each echelon of the company. It’s simpler than it may sound and can be summed up in the word strategy. Strategic planning and strategic action necessitate that all concerned are moving in the same direction. When strategy is crystal clear and communicated, organizational confusion will dissipate. Combined with all the above points and people really knowing their jobs, you can’t help but expand – and have loads of fun doing it!