“I’m having an argument in my head,” said my grandson. “Part of me wants to do a really good job for you and the other part of me wants to do a terrible job so I don’t ever have to do this again!” As we chuckled about it, the thought that occurred to me was, if I were doing this for someone else, I would be having that very same argument in my head.
It was a perfect day to get out and play. The sky was deep blue, the sun bright and warm, yet the air was crisp and cool. Golf, a hike, canoeing or a beautiful long bike ride along the river. But no, my grandkids were helping me rake leaves & dig up the cannas that cannot withstand the winter months. There are times when what seems to be a pro, can become a con. All those big, beautiful cannas & green trees that we love during the summer are an enormous chore in the fall. We were about halfway done when my grandson walked over to tell me about the argument in his head. I asked him which side was winning. He was not sure and said he guessed it would be obvious when we were done. Off he went to dig up more cannas.
Do you know who else has those arguments in their heads? The people you lead at work. They have those same arguments in their heads more often than you know or would like to admit. We all have them in one form or another because we all do things we do not like or want to do.
It is not the argument that is important, or even in question. What’s important is which side wins? How do you and how do the people you lead react or respond to those thoughts? That is ultimately what will make the difference in how successful you can and will be at work, and in life in general.
A global Gallup poll revealed that 85% of the workforce is not happy in their jobs. That is an enormous amount of people! When you and the people you lead are not happy in your job, both of you are less likely to respond positively to those arguments in your head. People who are not happy and fulfilled in their jobs, tend not to care whether they do a good job or not. They not only do a poor job, but they also waste a lot of time, not doing anything productive at all. Based on a survey done by America Online and Salary.com, the average worker admitted to frittering away 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday. One quarter of every workday being wasted can decrease your profits quickly. When you combine doing a job poorly with wasted time, you are talking serious money. If you have only 4 employees making $50,000 a year, you are losing, $50,000 a year from waste and poor productivity. Where could you spend that money? Would you hire another employee that you didn’t think you could afford? Maybe invest in product or process improvements. That money could also be spent on training and bonus’ to reinvest in your employees. As a business owner, manager, or team leader, you should realize that by decreasing that waste and increasing the engagement of your employees, you could become the top-performing leader in your organization or industry.
The difference between the people you lead, and my grandson is that your employees have a lot more ways to hide their unproductivity than my grandson did. Your employees have many tasks in which they can do a lousy job, and it can & does go unnoticed for a long time at the level where a change can be made to correct it. That hurts your productivity. That hurts your profits.
Intuitively we know & studies have shown us that happy, fulfilled employees are the most productive employees. We all know that productivity equals profits. Conservatively speaking, if there are only four people working at your company, two or three of you are unhappy and unsatisfied there. What kind of productivity can you expect? What can your customers expect? If you are a better-than-average business leader and only 50% of your team is unhappy, that is still costing you a lot of money. How much profit can you increase by increasing your productivity by 10%? 15%? 20%? How much better of an experience will your customers’ have as a result of working with engaged, happier, and more fulfilled employees? Think about that!
As a business leader, your goal is to increase business and increase profits? You know it is much cheaper to retain customers and employees than it is to find new ones. Creating a more engaging, productive work environment, is one of the least expensive ways to do that.
As an effective leader, you can implement what I call the ‘EGO’ Principle and begin to see employee engagement rise very quickly, resulting in more happiness and fulfillment in their work. They will take better care of your customers, and produce more ideas and improvement opportunities with will impact your bottom-line profits positively. The degree of impact is directly related to your ability to effectively engage your team. You can decrease waste and unhappiness in the workplace without spending a dime whether you are a team leader, manager, or CEO.
The EGO principle is simply
4. Orchestrate and Organize
Engage with your team as much as possible. Bring them into decisions and discussions that matter. They can provide you with a wealth of critical information that can help improve processes, procedures, and even products. People like to know they are heard, and they can make a difference. When you care about and engage people meaningfully, they in turn will care and engage meaningfully with each other and with their customers.
Gratify your employees with acknowledgment and appreciation. When you take the time to notice and appreciate even the trivial things, people feel they are important. They feel they are seen and heard. Being seen and heard is what satisfies the human need to be included and a part of something. We have all seen the horrifying effects of exclusion in our culture and around the world. Making sure your employees feel included, will model for them how to treat each other and your customers and make their workplace much more satisfying.
Orientate by giving clear, respectful direction and then modeling the behavior you desire. By knowing what is expected, where the boundaries are and clearly understanding what is and is not acceptable in our environment, everyone has a clear road map to follow and is working on a level playing field. This encourages your employees to seek help & help others when needed.
Great teams are created when people are satisfied enough with their jobs that they want to make a difference and do a good job. It takes a great leader to create an effective team. Leaders who are trusted not only for their knowledge and expertise, are also trusted to be approachable, to be honest, and to care for what is best for everyone in the organization. The people within your organization are the essence of your organization. They are what makes up your organization. By default, then, if you genuinely care for your success, and your organization’s success; you must care for what is best for the individuals that make up your organization. A successful leader is an extremely valuable asset to every organization. The only way to be that valuable asset is to add value and be valued by others.
The best and most inexpensive way to add value and be valued by others is to create an effective team that wants to do a good job and wants to provide great customer service. A team of people that feel trust you and feel trusted. A team that feels they are part of a collaborative, engaging work environment that gives them the opportunity to be successful on a variety of levels.
Once employees begin to feel they are trusted, they are respected, that they can make a difference and that they can be successful, they will start responding more positively to that argument in their head. The side that says, ‘I want to do a good job for you will start winning much more often.
We all have those arguments in our heads. Regardless of where we work, we all have things we do not necessarily want to or feel like doing. AND when the winning side of that argument is the side that wants to do a good job, then and only then will:
• Your employees spend more time problem-solving job-related issues than wasting work time on personal issues when no one is looking.
• Your employees will spend more time helping each other solve issues because they know that working through them together will make them all more successful and satisfied.
• Your employees will pay more attention to how quickly and how well they resolve customer issues rather than doing the bare minimum and not caring if the customer is happy or not.
• Your employees will care more about their job, their customers, and their teammates because they will feel they are cared about.
An engaged, gratified, and well oriented (EGO) team, will increase their productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and improve your bottom-line profits because they know by doing so, they increase their own success.
Which side of the argument are you winning? Create a successful team and your employees will respond positively when that argument arises in their heads. That positive response will create more success for you than you imagined possible.