How to Motivate Employees to Go Beyond Their Jobs

Marion Barraud for HBR

Every day, employees make decisions about whether they are willing to go the extra mile in ways that contribute to their organization’s success. These are important decisions because research shows that when employees are willing to go beyond their formal roles by helping out coworkers, volunteering to take on special assignments, introducing new ideas and work practices, attending non-mandatory meetings, putting in extra hours to complete important projects, and so forth, their companies are more efficient and effective. As a result, a critical task for successful managers is to motivate their employees to engage in these extra-role behaviors, which researchers refer to as “citizenship behaviors.”

Although the benefits of citizenship behavior for organizational performance are clear, the implications for employees are more equivocal. On the one hand, many employees perform acts of citizenship because they feel committed to and connected to their peers, supervisors, and organizations. Being a good organizational citizen can also be personally and professionally rewarding because it makes work more meaningful and invigorating and contributes to better performance evaluations. On the other hand, some studies have also shown that employees sometimes feel pressured to be good organizational citizens and may only do so in order to enhance their image. Moreover, going the extra mile can deplete employees’ resourcescontributing to stress, work-family conflict, and citizenship fatigue. Recent research further suggests that employees who feel pressured to engage in citizenship may start feeling entitled to act out by engaging in deviant behaviors. Further, while employee citizenship is often associated with positive feelings, it can also impede employees’ ability to get their jobs done, which can undermine their well-being.

YOU AND YOUR TEAM SERIES

Making Work More Meaningful

As this work continues, consensus is emerging that citizenship behavior tends to have negative implications when employees go above and beyond at work not because they intrinsically want to, but because they feel that they have to, or when they are unable to carry out their regular job duties and be a good citizen at the same time. Given the importance of citizenship behavior for organizational success, it is important that managers help employees find better ways to go beyond the call of duty in order to help make work more meaningful and less depleting. One potentially effective way of doing this is something we refer to as “citizenship crafting.”

The idea of citizenship crafting is based on the concept of job crafting, in which people redesign their work by altering aspects of the job itself (task crafting), the people with whom they work (relationship crafting), and their mindset about their jobs (cognitive crafting) in ways that play to their strengths, motives, and passions. Whereas job crafting captures how employees redesign their formal role at work, citizenship crafting is based on the notion that employees can proactively shape the ways in which they to go beyond the call of duty such that they not only contribute to the organization, but that they are also personally meaningful, rewarding, and consistent with their strengths.

While employees are the ones who will craft their citizenship behavior, ideally, they will consider not only their own needs but those of their manager and colleagues. For this reason, we encourage managers to let their employees know what types of citizenship behaviors are most important for their workgroup, while recognizing that asking employees to engage in too much citizenship can be counterproductive. Employees should also be forthright in communicating to their managers what types of citizenship behavior are most consistent with their strengths, motives, and passions. For instance, an introverted engineer who dreads socializing but does not mind pulling the occasional all-nighter might feel less obligated to take part in every social event, knowing that she can be the one to take charge when someone has to stay late to complete a critical project. Or a salesperson who cannot stand to sit through meetings, but relishes opportunities to coach others, can ask to be spared tedious committee work in exchange for making extra time to shadow and informally mentor new recruits. And employees should feel comfortable making a conscious decision to voluntarily assist their colleagues who are appreciative and generous in return, offering the type of assistance that’s not such a burden to provide.

Although citizenship crafting is a new idea, prior research indicates that it should benefit employees and managers alike. First, to the extent that jobs contain tasks that align with employees’ intrinsic motives, and are absent of tasks that employees feel forced to complete, job performance tends to be significantly higher; as such, citizenship crafting should result in higher quality and more impactful acts of citizenship. Second, employees who are able to engage in citizenship behaviors that play to their strengths and passions should feel less stressed and worn out from going the extra mile. By realizing that not all good citizens look alike, and allowing employees to tailor their citizenship to fit their unique interests and talents, managers can simultaneously enhance employee well-being and workgroup productivity. Finally, citizenship crafting should reduce the need for managers to rely on extrinsic sticks and carrots to motivate employees to go the extra mile. This should not only conserve financial resources, but given evidence that extrinsic rewards can sometimes undermine intrinsic motivation, citizenship crafting should also help employees stay internally driven to go the extra mile.

The bottom line is that managers and employees’ efforts to enhance the meaningfulness of work by redesigning employees’ jobs should not stop where the formal job description ends. Instead, we encourage employees to more thoughtfully and proactively craft their citizenship behavior in ways that their extra-role contributions lead to more meaning and fulfillment while, at the same time, enhancing their firm’s performance.

Setting Clear Expectations for Employees

 
DILLON CHEN

Setting Clear Expectations for Employees

Everybody knows the importance of communication. Whether it be with family, friends, coworkers or customers, proper communication is what helps us understand and connect with others. Clear expectations lead to seamless communication and help in overcoming barriers as problems and challenges arise.

As a manager in a business setting, setting clear expectations for employees is an absolute necessity! Imagine this: during a weekly meeting, your employee presents what he’s been working on for the whole week only to find that it’s nothing at all like what you expected or wanted from his work. You can be sure that neither of you is going to feel very good when you ask him to redo everything!

If both sides don’t know what the other wants, it opens the door to feelings of resentment and frustration. There are multiple reasons why employees end up leaving a company. Setting expectations from the very start can prevent these kinds of things from happening.

Here are steps on how to set clear expectations for your employees:

Define the goal/expectation

Know what your expectation is. In order for employees to know your expectations, you must know them yourself! No broad, vague instructions like “do your job better”, be as direct and specific as you can.

Ways to be direct and specific:

  • Use simple language
  • Be straightforward, no room for confusion
  • Focus on details
  • Give examples
  • Make it measurable, completed: yes or no?
  • Set a time limit/deadline if applicable

Know the reasons behind the expectation

“Because I said so” isn’t going to cut it here! Backing up your expectations with specific reasons as to what positive effects it will have for you, your business, or your employee themselves will lead to greater acceptance.

When employees have a better understanding of the reasons behind the task, they will be more compliant and willing to meet expectations. They will see the context of how their work affects the bigger picture and be able to wholeheartedly commit to doing their work.

Document It

You know that saying ‘If you didn’t take a picture, it didn’t happen?’  The Same rule applies here. Once the goal or expectation is defined, it’s time to document it. It should be so clear to you that it can easily be written on paper or notated digitally. Having it written down actually makes for a great resource to refer back to for both you and the employee to refer back to so that nobody forgets.

This is a change that you can start implementing right away. Expectations that are straightforward and leave no room for misinterpretation will greatly improve your employees’ ability to perform to your satisfaction.

Break it down

Breaking large goals into smaller, measurable pieces will help your employees from becoming discouraged. Add these checkpoints or milestones into your succession pathways so that both parties can benchmark and track long-term progress which will help the company hit deadlines.

Breaking down projects will not only assist employees to accomplish the goal, it gives them clear standards on how to move to the next level up in the company. By being transparent, companies earn the employees trust. Employees are more likely to stay with the company knowing they aren’t stuck doing the same thing with no chance of growth.

In a company, everybody has a part to play. The work you and your employees do are all pieces of a whole with some pieces being dependent on another part being completed. Some might become so overwhelmed by the big picture that they end up missing the smaller deadlines resulting in delays and setbacks. Breaking up your goals will save your business from these losses and unhappy customers.

Get feedback from your employee and engage with them. 

When you talk about expectations, don’t lecture, have a conversation! Getting employee feedback on expectations, or having them set goals themselves will increase their willingness and motivation to do it.

Instead of a top-down tone of a boss addressing a worker, adapt a more mentor-like approach. Have them tell you what they think your expectations are. Clarify, make changes or suggest improvements if necessary, and give them resources or suggestions on how they can meet your expectations.

An important part of this mentoring is to find out their expectations for you. Expectations on pay, work performance, promotion opportunities, job description etc. Being able to discuss these topics openly with your employee will go a long way towards being able to relate to them.

For example, they might be expecting a raise or even a promotion up the ranks for their good performance from the last few months. Talk it over with them to find what they hope to gain from you and do your part to meet their expectations. Better yet, set up asuccession pathway with ProSky where the whole process is clear for both parties.

Follow-up

Set routine meetings where you can follow up with employees to meet and talk about progress. During these predetermined follow-up times, give praise and reward for completion of goals, or correction and encouragement if needed. This is a great time to review and check-in with them and to give updates on the progress of the company as a whole.

If you are coaching them through achieving their own personal goals that they set, follow up on those as well. Don’t forget to answer any questions or concerns they had for you from a previous meeting. Lead by example and keep your own commitments to employees.

There you have it, all the steps to get started setting clear expectations with your employees! Though this will take practice, it will help you and your worker relationships immensely in the long run and give them a reason to stick around! You will see employees grow through your mentoring as well as increased retention and satisfaction in your company. Start setting clear expectations with employees using succession pathways today!.

Make sure your company’s managers truly know the people who work for them

Have you ever worked for a manager who showed little interest in your personal interests, unique talents, and long-term career aspirations? Based on the statistics about employees quitting managers, the answer for many people to this question is likely to be a resounding “yes”.  Many managers do not know their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, what motivates them, or the special skills and talents they possess. Nor do they know what project employees are most excited about working on, or how they feel about their job right now. These managers are doing a disservice to their employees, themselves, and their organization.

To be fully effective, managers must customize their management style to fit the preferences, likes and dislikes of their team-members. By discovering employees’ preferred learning styles for example, managers can create better training programs. Recognizing preferred communication styles enables more effective information sharing and avoids misunderstandings.   Managers must also understand their employees’ strengths and weaknesses if they want to effectively delegate tasks and job duties.  Truly understanding employees is also critical when organizational shifts occur, as it provides managers with the foresight to know whether changes are likely to cause their employees to struggle or thrive.

Doing these things requires managers to understand employees at a deeper level beyond their name, job title, and goal plan. Achieving this level of understanding comes through meaningful conversations with and about employees and their talents and interests. This starts with having effective ongoing conversations with the employees themselves. But equally important are in-depth discussions with people across the organization who have diverse perspectives on employees and their work.

The following are three basic tips to help managers truly understand who their employees are.  These are things every manager should view as a core part of their role that they should be doing on a regular basis throughout the year:

  • Talk with employees. Show interest into their current level of satisfaction. Are they excited about what they’re working on? Are they looking to make a change in the near future?
  • Talk with other managers and coworkers. If your employee collaborated with another manager or employee on a recent project, how did it go? Were there any specific skills or strengths the employee exhibited that you should be aware of?
  • Be their advocate. Look for opportunities to help your employees achieve their goals. Actively promote their capabilities to others.  Being an advocate not only helps employees leverage their strengths, it also ensures the organization is making full use of its talent.  It also makes it easier to have those “difficult conversations” about performance and potential should they be necessary.  Employees who believe a manager appreciates their strengths and recognizes their contributions are less likely to feel defensive about having their performance evaluated. They are also more likely to accept the results of the evaluation as being fair, despite its outcome.

Doing these things will take time. But not doing them could cost you some of the most valuable members of your organization. We know that employees are willing to leave organizations over bad managers.  But avoiding turnover is just one of the reasons why it makes sense to invest emerging into getting to know employees at a deeper level.

  • Increased engagement. Consistent communication between employees and managers has been linked to significantly higher engagement.
  • Improved performance. Building relationships with your employees creates trust, which is shown to have a significant impact on employee work performance. Being cognizant of the things going on in your employees’ lives outside of work (i.e., a parent who has fallen ill, dealing with a personal issue, etc.) can also give you, as the manager, important context to consider if your employee were to display performance that seemed out of character.
  • Increased productivity. Do you know what time of the day your employees tend to be most productive? Adjusting schedules, distributing assignments and setting deadlines based on these preferences and tendencies could amount to major improvements in productivity.
  • Increased satisfaction. What are your employees most motivated by? Is it monetary incentives, job security, having interesting work, growth in the organization, feeling appreciated, or something else? Understanding the motivating factors for your employees is critical not only to their satisfaction, but also to your organization’s financial strategy, succession strategy, and learning and development planning.

Ultimately, being an effective manager requires knowing your talent. And knowing your talent starts with having meaningful conversations with and about your employees. Calibration talent reviews are an effective method for doing this at the group level, but day-to-day actions on the part of individual managers are also necessary. Strive to understand your employees’ unique preferences, strengths and motivations, but most importantly, use this knowledge to inform those critical decisions facing your organization.

A Tribute to Aspiring HR Professionals

 

  • Published on Published onOctober 3, 2017
 
Dave Ulrich

Dave Ulrich

 

Each year, I have the privilege of participating in two weeks of intensive HR development with aspiring HR professionals in both the Advanced HR Executive Program (AHREP) at the University of Michigan and at the HR Learning Partnership (HRLP) offered by The RBL Group. Participants come from large and small companies, work in public and private sectors, represent multiple countries, have long-term HR background or may be new to their role, work as generalists and specialists, and represent many belief systems. While they are diverse on many dimensions, they share a common commitment to discovering how to add value to their organizations, employees, the HR profession, and themselves. I have the privilege, along with exceptional faculty and support staff, of teaching and coaching one-on-one with these remarkable 140 to 170 HR professionals each year.

I want to pay tribute to them, and others, in the HR profession.

They are caregivers.

In recent years, we have come to appropriately regard first responders as heroes. When disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes hit, first responders risk their personal safety and put aside their personal belongings to rescue others and offer support to those in need. Likewise, in organizations today, emotional traumas such as restructuring, strategic reorganization, and other disturbances hit many. HR professionals are caregivers who put aside their personal emotional demands to offer support to others facing professional and personal disruptions. They are the emotional first responders, heroes, and the front line in helping individuals understand and manage the inevitable challenges of change.

They are learners.

Like most other things in our lives, the field of HR has changed and continues to change. These disruptions pivot HR from an internal focus (employee) to an external focus (customer and investor), from delivering employee value and experience to organization capability and culture, and from HR scorecards to business impact (among other changes). These HR professionals have a growth mindset as they work to learn about ideas that will impact their future success. As learners, they are willing to put aside their orthodoxies and assumptions and explore new ideas that require curiosity and risk. As a co-learner with them, I feel I learn more from them than I actually teach to them.

They are committed.

As I coach these high-potential HR pros, I recognize that they each have a personal professional journey often with inevitable challenges of managing work and life trade-offs (families and relationships), overcoming failure and rejection (by taking personal and professional risks), working with good and bad leaders (both inside and outside HR), and being overburdened by their success (because they are so good, they often get asked to do more). But in the face of these realities, they continue a virtuous cycle of learning by trying and improving.

They are competent value creators.

For many, competencies are a list of desired attributes about what someone knows and does. For these professionals, they are not just interested in their personal competence but how their personal competence delivers value to others. As value creators, they focus their competencies on helping others become more effective. The “others” may include employees within the firm (and their extended families) and organizations as entities which require capabilities to deliver strategy; but they can also include customers, investors, and communities outside their organization. In a recent course, we discovered that the companies involved collectively had about 500,000 employees. Imagine if these HR professionals attending the course could create a better working environment for these 500,000? While not earth shattering, clearly this is an opportunity to make a sizeable impact in the world in which we both work and live.

They have zest.

In a more personal evening session with a group of 30, I asked the question, “What inspires you to stay engaged in HR?” The answers showed remarkable insight:

  • To establish a system that helps individuals.
  • To create value for others.
  • To face unique, not routine, people and organization challenges that require evolving judgment.
  • To scale and leverage my personal impact to thousands.
  • To change and improve lives.
  • To stay ahead of challenges.
  • To school leaders and push them for the value they create.

Amazing! I sense a zest among these colleagues. They not only have competence to do their work well but also a commitment to give their best and a sense of passion and purpose to help themselves and others find meaning. Many feel they have callings rather than jobs as they see the impact of their work in the well-being of those they serve.

I am not a Pollyanna who only sees the good (although I try to be more optimistic than pessimistic in my outlook): I recognize that those committed to two weeks of structured learning are high potentials who have the ambition, agility, and ability to continue to achieve, and they often work in companies willing to invest in these improvements. But, I see and feel from these remarkable colleagues a dedication that has moved the HR profession forward. Our research with large data sets shows the progress in competencies among HR professionals over the last 30 years; these more intimate and personal training and coaching experiences communicate the feeling and personal passion of HR professionals.

While I (and many others) write and present to tens of thousands of HR professionals, these close and personal experiences renew my hope for our profession. As we try to shape and create the future of HR, I realize that this field is in good—very good—hands.

So, a tribute to those aspiring HR professionals who will make a true difference and add real value to so many.

How Giving Employees a Say In Their Work Schedule Can Make a Difference

 

A talented workforce is the number one differentiator that can set you apart from your competitors. Whether you’re a retailer trying to deliver a great in-store experience or a hospital aiming to provide the best patient care, your workforce is your biggest differentiator for success.

Instead of using technology simply to reduce workforce costs, smart organizations are using it as a tool to engage employees, keep them happy and reduce turnover. The following excerpt from my new book, Your Last Differentiator: Human Capital, explains how one hospital is doing just that, and the amazing results they have experienced.

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What progressive employers have done is to provide increased transparency as to what the workload is and to simultaneously increase their trust levels in employees.

One example of this is that rather than having a manager or automated scheduler figure out all the last-minute changes to work schedules with no way of understanding the personal impact on all of their affected employees, these organizations are letting the employees reschedule themselves. By increasing the ability to communicate the need for coverage to all available employees and providing a method for them to instantly accept open shifts, employees who want more work can take it, and those who need to get out of a shift are able to find coverage, reducing their stress.

One organization that has been an early adopter of this approach is Cohen Children’s Medical Center. The cost of turnover led them toward self-scheduling. Losing a nurse cost the hospital about $150,000 in coverage, recruitment, and time in getting the replacement nurse up to speed. Cohen realized that by sharing control of the work schedule through a mobile scheduling application, nurses could swap shifts more effectively.

Patients benefited through better coverage. The organization benefited as nurse turnover dropped from 5% to 3% and nurses gained more control over their lives.

“When your workforce is engaged, they’re happy with the days they’re working; they understand the practices, policies, and expectations of the organization; and they’re smarter and safer.” — Carolyn Quinn, Chief Nursing Officer, Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

A quote from leadership is helpful, but what do employees really think? Potential candidates looking for a new job or even a patient looking for reviews about the hospital might take a look at Glassdoor to see what employees think. As it turns out, Cohen and its CEO are reviewed positively. Not every review is glowing, but overwhelmingly, Cohen’s employees and patients post positive, realistic comments, boding well for the organization and how it’s managing its workforce. It’s also a great indication that Cohen is taking good care of patients as well.

This is just one example of how an organization has changed its relationship with employees. Empowering them to make decisions that work well for both leads to improved results.

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Reducing the stresses that a job puts on an employee’s personal life also provides benefits to the employer in terms of attracting more and better candidates, and enjoying higher productivity levels and lower turnover. Creative organizations have been able to improve engagement while also improving operations. Henry Ford even shared those benefits financially with his employees.

Reducing control and trusting employees to make the best decisions for the organization and themselves is a technique that improves outcomes for both organizations and employees. It is clear that organizations can compete effectively in the most challenging of markets by thinking creatively about the relationship between people and work and trusting employees to make good decisions when treated with transparency, trust, and respect.

Top 10 Tips for Effective Peer-to-Peer Feedback (That You May Not Have Tried Yet)

  • Published on Published onSeptember 25, 2017 Bob Randal

It is no secret that receiving feedback from a peer in the workplace is difficult and often emotional. It is also true that many times it can be just as hard to give as it is to receive – whether it is finding the right time, choosing the right language, or treading carefully to avoid frustration, there are many tough decisions that go into giving feedback to others. Not only do you have to work with each other for 8+ hours a day, but you also want to make sure you are preserving your professional relationships in the workplace to avoid passive aggressive behavior, setbacks to projects or emotional exchanges in the future.

Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years as both a peer and a manager:

Get offsite (and don’t catch them off guard)

Going to lunch, coffee or happy hour is an excellent way to get people to look at themselves and situations in new ways. A more social setting is disarming, and people are more likely to let their guard down. I once had a boss who upset me because he made disparaging remarks during a meeting I was conducting. We went to happy hour together and had an honest conversation about how his behavior made me feel, and started to set some ground rules for future interactions.

Focus on behaviors versus traits of their personality

Peer feedback is often based on a shortcoming of the employee, whether that is a mistake they made, or a behavior that you thought should change- so it is natural to think first in your head about what in their personality made them do such a thing, or upset you in that way. Before acting or giving any feedback to others, make sure you are prepared with language that focuses on behaviors- not traits of their personality. Not only will attacking their personality make them feel angry and cornered, but it will dissolve any trust that person had with you and could cause them to dislike you in return.

Include your own shortcomings

Starting the conversation off with your own perceived shortcomings can be an excellent way to level the playing field and not make the other person feel like you think you are better than them. Obviously, you should never bash yourself, but you can offer a statement that allows the receiver to relate to you and feel more relaxed. This depends on the situation and may not be usable in every aspect. As an example: “I know it’s difficult for me to manage deadlines in these types of projects as well. Have you thought about including the project manager on the final communications so they can assist with getting the project in when its due?”

Show respect

Making sure to treat the person and the interaction with respect and delicacy is important, especially if showing respect is important to how that person perceives feedback. (Check out some personality tests to learn more about how to individualize feedback for different personality types). Treat this person as if you know your feedback is going to be well received because you already have a profound respect for one other.

 Learn your colleague’s communication style

It goes without saying that everyone has extremely different styles of communications. Varying your communication based off their personality can change the course of the conversation. Touching base again on the personality tests, these can be an extremely helpful source of information on how your peers receive feedback, interact with each other and voice frustrations. Helping curate your feedback and responses based on each other’s communication styles can be invaluable.

 Change up the phrasing

Using phrases like “just a couple of thoughts” or “just something to consider” can also be effective ways, in some instances (like feedback about implementing an idea), to relax the conversation and not make the peer feel attacked. Presenting an idea as an option instead of an order is a simple matter of phrasing and can make a big difference.

 Utilize the passive voice

Passive voice can be effective for feedback because it draws attention away from the coworker. Instead of blaming them for something, passive voice allows for the subject matter, and not the person, to be the focal point of the exchange. For example, instead of saying, “Your comments really derailed the meeting,” one might say, “The meeting seemed to be derailed by some of the comments made.”

Find win/win solutions

Explain how the feedback you are giving is in the best interest of your peer. For example, I once worked with someone who was occasionally disrespectful to others. He had ambitions to move into management, but he needed to know that his behavior was damaging his relationships inside the organization and limiting his ability to move up. Explaining how he could be more mindful of his language with coworkers would not only create a healthy work environment for his coworkers but was an important part of his own growth and helped pave the way for his next step into management.

Use inquiry

I have found the best way to help someone is to use inquiry. How is inquiry feedback? Here is an example; you just left a meeting where things got heated between two coworkers. You might talk to each person individually and ask them why they think things got heated. You might ask them if that was the outcome they were looking for. You might ask them what a better interaction would have looked like. Planting these questions is like planting seeds. You are helping the person reflect on a situation, which is sometimes more effective than trying to be judge and jury about who is to blame for the heated exchange.

Ask “How can I help you?”

This is a great way to start a feedback conversation. You are inviting feedback from the other person first. Hopefully after a constructive conversation, your colleague is more prepared to receive feedback themselves.

Meet the Author- Bob Randall, Transcend Engagement

Bob has spent the past 23 years in various leadership roles in private industry. He has led large domestic and international sales organizations, managed one of the largest architectural glass manufacturing facilities in the U.S., helped his company acquire the largest architectural glass fabricating facility in Brazil and held P/L responsibility for a number of businesses.

Bob completed his undergraduate degree in Management at St. John’s University, as well as his MBA in Finance and Doctorate in Organization Development from the University of St. Thomas. Today, Bob is an adjunct professor at the College of St. Scholastica in addition to leading Transcend Engagement

Google is sharing its management tools with the world

BE LIKE THE BEST 

 

OBSESSION

The Office

August 21, 2017

Speaking at his alma mater in January, Sundar Pichai, Google’s low-profile CEO, revealed his key to effective management: “Let others succeed.”

Enacting Pichai’s advice is easier said than done. But Google is sharing some tools that might help. Its Re:Work blog is offering a series of instructive documents used by managers at Google. They cover everything from feedback and career development to setting agendas for one-on-ones, and codify the insights Google gleaned from spending years analyzing reviews and other observable data at the company to determine essential leadership traits.

Here’s an overview of what’s available. Each section header below has the link to the corresponding documentation from Google.

Manager feedback survey

Googlers evaluate their managers on a semi-annual basis with a 13-question survey. The first 11 measure whether employees agree or disagree with statements like “My manager shows consideration for me as a person.” The final two questions (“What would you recommend your manager keep doing?” and “What would you have your manager change?”) are open-ended.

 

Career conversations worksheet

Google’s management analysis reveals that above all, employees value knowing that their manager is invested in their personal success and career development. To help managers effectively discuss development with their direct reports, Google uses the GROW model—which organizes the conversation into four recommended sections:

  • Goal: What do you want? Establish what the team member really wants to achieve with their career.
  • Reality: What’s happening now? Establish the team member’s understanding of their current role and skills.
  • Options: What could you do? Generate multiple options for closing the gap from goal to reality.
  • Will: What will you do? Identify achievable steps to move from reality to goal.

“One Simple Thing” worksheet

To encourage personal well-being and work-life balance, Google uses the popular goal-setting practice “One Simple Thing.” The goal should be specific enough to measure its impact on one’s well-being. “Managers can encourage team members to explain how pursuing this one thing won’t negatively affect their work,” Google explains. “That goal then becomes part of a team member’s set of goals that managers should hold them accountable for, along with whatever work-related goals they already have.”

1:1 Meeting agenda template

At Google, the highest-rated managers hold frequent one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. However, as most leaders know, individual check-ins can often feel rushed and disorganized. To squeeze the most out of each one-on-one (which Google managers are advised to hold every week or two) Googlers set up a shared meeting agenda ahead of time—which both the manager and the report should contribute to.

Some agenda items Google suggests include:

  • Check-in and catch-up questions: “What can I help you with?” and “What have you been up to?”
  • Roadblocks or issues
  • Goal updates
  • Administrative topics (e.g., upcoming vacations, expense reports)
  • Next steps to confirm actions and agreements
  • Career development and coaching

New manager training course materials

As Google explains, “These course materials were originally designed for Google managers to help them transition from individual contributor roles to manager roles.” As anyone who has done this can attest, conducting the transition gracefully requires a bit of perspective shifting, and more than a little awareness building.

The course materials include a facilitator guide (to help whoever is training the new managers), a new manager student workbook(including interactive exercises), and the presentation slides that Google trainers use internally.

 

Why Being a Coach and Mentor Pays Off for Leaders

  • Published on Published onOctober 2, 2017
Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman

What Makes a Leader? Emotional and Social Intelligence

Coaching is not just for the folks at the sidelines guiding players on the basketball court, or just those professionals hired to help an executive up his or her game. Smart leaders know they can be coaches in most any business situation. Every leader can be a coach and mentor, regardless of their formal role or level in an organization.

High-performing leaders know the effort they put into coaching and mentoring others pays off not only in the productivity, job satisfaction, and career growth of subordinates, but also in their own status within their organization.

What I Mean by Coach and Mentor

In the context of my model of emotional intelligence, coaching and mentoring aren’t just roles – they’re skills, a frame of mind, and an approach to working with others. And, like all skills, the Coach and Mentor Competency is an ability that leaders can develop.

It comes down to the ability to foster the long-term learning or development of others by giving feedback and support.

In this competence, you have a genuine interest in helping others develop further strengths. You give timely constructive guidance. You understand the person’s goals, and you try to find challenges for them that will provide growth opportunities.

Support That Works

Think about one of your direct reports and an area where they could stand to improve. What’s the best way to help that person move forward? To point out where they’re lacking skill? Or to talk with that person about how gaining skill in that area could help them progress toward their own goals? Keep in mind, it’s not about dictating what youthink they should do, it’s a collaborative process where both parties are open and on board with such development.

See Coach and Mentor: A Primer, by Daniel Goleman and fellow EI professionals

Research done by my friend, Richard Boyatzis of Case Western Reserve University, and his colleagues, provides some insight into the strategy that will be most effective. They looked at coaching sessions focused on a person’s hopes and aspirations versus on their deficiencies.

For some of the sessions, they asked people to describe their dreams for where they’ll be in ten years. For other sessions, they asked people about their difficulties in accomplishing their current work and assignments. Different parts of their subjects’ brains were activated depending on which type of coaching they received. Focusing on future possibilities, hope, and strengths that help us move toward a desired end activates a part of the nervous system that eases stress and is generally calming. That positive approach stimulated sections of the brain related to being open to new situations. On the other hand, focusing on problems, fear, or apparent weaknesses stimulates the part of our nervous system associated with our body’s stress reactions. The subjects in the “how is your work going” sessions had brain areas activated that are known to indicate self-consciousness and guilt.

What happens when brain areas related to stress are activated? People close down and narrow what they can perceive or the range of options they entertain. Worst of all, they become cognitively impaired, thinking with less clarity. Coaching that focuses on a person’s negatives—poor performance and weaknesses—creates stress and hampers the coachee’s ability to perform well. In contrast, a focus on a person’s strengths, dreams, and aspirations has the opposite effect, energizing and motivating that person to learn better.

It’s not that we should ignore performance lapses, but that the overall negative-to-positive feedback should pitch to the positive.

Start with Yourself

How can you develop the Coach and Mentor Competency? Start with yourself. Ask yourself or talk with a friend about these questions:

What are your goals?

How might developing the Coach and Mentor Competency help you move toward achieving those goals?

What strengths do you bring to this effort?

Who nurtured your dreams and helped you develop yourself?

What did they do to support you?

What concrete step would that supporter encourage you to take toward enhancing your skill in being a coach and mentor?

By starting with yourself, you’ll get practice providing coaching and mentoring to someone else and experience what it is like to receive this kind of support. When you’re ready to take it a step further, be open to conversations of inquiry with your subordinates. You cannot force your advice on people, but you can have genuine conversations where you ask questions and offer support in a way that fuels growth.

For more in-depth information about this topic, see Coach and Mentor: A Primer.

This Primer was written with Richard Boyatzis, George Kohlrieser, and fellow respected colleagues in the fields of Emotional Intelligence, research, and leadership development. It offers a concise overview of the Emotional and Social Intelligence Leadership Competency Model, and goes on to define how to develop the coach and mentor competency regardless of your formal role.

It’s Not Them, It’s You. Why a Healthy Corporate Culture Needs To Be Your Priority.
SCOTT JORDAN

Happy employees

Expectations need to be set in every relationship in life and employer-employee relationships are no different. If you’re not upfront with new and old employees your turnover rates will skyrocket. And it’s not just about their responsibility or job functions. You also need to clearly explain what it’s like to work at your company and how you expect them to behave while they are an employee.

Now it’s my time to be upfront: my business had a high turnover rate. For years we struggled to figure out why. So I met with leadership coaches, other CEOs and anyone else who would listen to me and could give advice.

I learned it’s not my employees, it’s me. More specifically, it’s the corporate culture that I established when I first started my company 16 years ago. Over that amount of time, many things can change but for some reason, I never took another look at our corporate culture — that was something for HR to worry about.

Now my eyes are opened. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Words matter

Any communications or HR professional will tell you this, but your corporate culture is integral to the long-term success of your company. It’s often met with eye rolls or disinterest by executives or business owners who are interested in revenue and short-term success of the company. So, before you fall into the rabbit hole that I did, you need to figure out exactly what you expect from your employees.

Most importantly, you need to figure out how to communicate this to employees! Everyone wants an honest employee, or hard working, but the “how” is often left out when defining employee conduct.

For example, one central theme of our culture was “Figure It Out,” or FIO for short. We thought this was straightforward enough: if the information you need is readily-accessible, don’t ask others for help unless you absolutely need it. However, at times this had a negative impact on employees new and old. They would research or try and track down the answer for questions that would take 2 minutes for a colleague to answer. Or, they would truly try to FIO themselves so they wouldn’t bother a colleague, but this lead to easily-avoidable errors.

Identifying miscommunications, like this example, in your corporate culture and quickly fixing it is the difference in cultivating employees who show up 9-5 for a paycheck vs those who are truly invested and dedicated to the success of your organization as a whole.

Lead By Example

No one will buy into your mission or culture when they see you, or other higher-ups, breaking the rules that you set or not acting in-line with how they’re expected to act.

If you keep seeing employees leave for the same reasons, it’s not that you’re hiring bad employees (well, maybe a few). It’s because you’ve not done a good enough job of defining what it’s like to work at your company and what you expect out of employees.

In another example, a previously-used quote of ours when onboarding employees was, “anything worth doing is worth doing quickly.” We meant for that to emphasize efficiency and prioritization, which all of our upper-level employees are great at. But, this piece of our corporate culture had the unintended effect of making new employees feel like they had to get everything done at once.

I have a million ideas a minute, and never expect employees to work completely at my speed, and this miscommunicated portion of our corporate culture was causing new employees to drop everything they were doing to shift to a new project or idea far too often.

No one wants to be blindsided after starting a new job. Be brutally honest and clearly communicate what it’s like to work at your company. The ones that turn down your offer weren’t right to begin with.

It’s Not Them, It’s You

Part of leading by example is owning mistakes. I’m not talking about typos or improperly imported data. I’m talking company-wide failures. A perfect example is something my friend Guy Kawasaki coined “the Bozo Explosion.” It’s simple: “A players” hire other A players, and B players hire C players to make themselves look better.

Years back I hired a President to handle most of our day-to-day. Turns out, he was a B player and hired a slew of incompetent employees and contractors that inevitably cost my business just shy of $1M and took months to reverse the consequences.

Was I mad at the President? Sure I was. But at the end of the day, it was my fault for hiring him. When looking for the bozo, all I had to do was look in the mirror.

The truth is, there’s no easy way to determine who an A player is. Tons of candidates can look good on paper and appear to be a good fit for your culture. But if the culture itself is off, you’re going to keep hiring the wrong people time and time again.

So sit down and define who your ideal employee is. Everyone’s company is different, and thus everyone’s ideal employee is different. But, by working backward from that profile to define your corporate culture, you’ll prevent the downward turnover spiral.

The biggest revelation of all is that people are your most important asset. I’ve found that I spend the least time with my best employees. So, when looking to take your business to the next level, don’t look for that secret marketing initiative. Look for how you can strengthen your employees and the health of your organization, then the rest will follow.

Setting Clear Expectations for Employees
DILLON CHEN

Setting Clear Expectations for Employees

Everybody knows the importance of communication. Whether it be with family, friends, coworkers or customers, proper communication is what helps us understand and connect with others. Clear expectations lead to seamless communication and help in overcoming barriers as problems and challenges arise.

As a manager in a business setting, setting clear expectations for employees is an absolute necessity! Imagine this: during a weekly meeting, your employee presents what he’s been working on for the whole week only to find that it’s nothing at all like what you expected or wanted from his work. You can be sure that neither of you is going to feel very good when you ask him to redo everything!

If both sides don’t know what the other wants, it opens the door to feelings of resentment and frustration. There are multiple reasons why employees end up leaving a company. Setting expectations from the very start can prevent these kinds of things from happening.

Here are steps on how to set clear expectations for your employees:

Define the goal/expectation

Know what your expectation is. In order for employees to know your expectations, you must know them yourself! No broad, vague instructions like “do your job better”, be as direct and specific as you can.

Ways to be direct and specific:

  • Use simple language
  • Be straightforward, no room for confusion
  • Focus on details
  • Give examples
  • Make it measurable, completed: yes or no?
  • Set a time limit/deadline if applicable

Know the reasons behind the expectation

“Because I said so” isn’t going to cut it here! Backing up your expectations with specific reasons as to what positive effects it will have for you, your business, or your employee themselves will lead to greater acceptance.

When employees have a better understanding of the reasons behind the task, they will be more compliant and willing to meet expectations. They will see the context of how their work affects the bigger picture and be able to wholeheartedly commit to doing their work.

Document It

You know that saying ‘If you didn’t take a picture, it didn’t happen?’  The Same rule applies here. Once the goal or expectation is defined, it’s time to document it. It should be so clear to you that it can easily be written on paper or notated digitally. Having it written down actually makes for a great resource to refer back to for both you and the employee to refer back to so that nobody forgets.

This is a change that you can start implementing right away. Expectations that are straightforward and leave no room for misinterpretation will greatly improve your employees’ ability to perform to your satisfaction.

Break it down

Breaking large goals into smaller, measurable pieces will help your employees from becoming discouraged. Add these checkpoints or milestones into your succession pathways so that both parties can benchmark and track long-term progress which will help the company hit deadlines.

Breaking down projects will not only assist employees to accomplish the goal, it gives them clear standards on how to move to the next level up in the company. By being transparent, companies earn the employees trust. Employees are more likely to stay with the company knowing they aren’t stuck doing the same thing with no chance of growth.

In a company, everybody has a part to play. The work you and your employees do are all pieces of a whole with some pieces being dependent on another part being completed. Some might become so overwhelmed by the big picture that they end up missing the smaller deadlines resulting in delays and setbacks. Breaking up your goals will save your business from these losses and unhappy customers.

Get feedback from your employee and engage with them. 

When you talk about expectations, don’t lecture, have a conversation! Getting employee feedback on expectations, or having them set goals themselves will increase their willingness and motivation to do it.

Instead of a top-down tone of a boss addressing a worker, adapt a more mentor-like approach. Have them tell you what they think your expectations are. Clarify, make changes or suggest improvements if necessary, and give them resources or suggestions on how they can meet your expectations.

An important part of this mentoring is to find out their expectations for you. Expectations on pay, work performance, promotion opportunities, job description etc. Being able to discuss these topics openly with your employee will go a long way towards being able to relate to them.

For example, they might be expecting a raise or even a promotion up the ranks for their good performance from the last few months. Talk it over with them to find what they hope to gain from you and do your part to meet their expectations. Better yet, set up asuccession pathway with ProSky where the whole process is clear for both parties.

Follow-up

Set routine meetings where you can follow up with employees to meet and talk about progress. During these predetermined follow-up times, give praise and reward for completion of goals, or correction and encouragement if needed. This is a great time to review and check-in with them and to give updates on the progress of the company as a whole.

If you are coaching them through achieving their own personal goals that they set, follow up on those as well. Don’t forget to answer any questions or concerns they had for you from a previous meeting. Lead by example and keep your own commitments to employees.

There you have it, all the steps to get started setting clear expectations with your employees! Though this will take practice, it will help you and your worker relationships immensely in the long run and give them a reason to stick around! You will see employees grow through your mentoring as well as increased retention and satisfaction in your company. Start setting clear expectations with employees using succession pathways today!.