According to the Gallup organization, only 29% of the American workforce is fully "engaged" in their work. The other 71% have chosen to "quit and stay." They are working far below their potential. Or they've retired but haven't told the Personnel Department yet.
And is that a problem worth addressing? You bet it is!!! If you’re not getting a full hour’s work for a full hour’s pay, you’re being robbed.
Think of it this way. If you ran a small business with 20 employees who were paid $50,000 each, your annual payroll would equal $1,000,000. And if 71% of your employees were not delivering a full hour's work for a full hour's pay, $710,000 of that million dollar payroll would be flushed down the toilet.
That being the case, it would be very difficult to stay profitable or stay in business. It would be as crazy as refusing to serve 71% of your customers or refusing to operate 71% of your machines. It would be a recipe for disaster.
What about your team players. Are they fully engaged or somewhat disengaged?
There's an easy way to tell the difference. Engaged players focus on results. And if they don't get the results they want, they keep on fine tuning their performance until they achieve their desired results. They never make excuses. They never blame other people or outside circumstances for their difficulties.
By contrast, disengaged team mates focus on excuses. They've always got a reason as to why a job didn't get done or a job didn't work out. They're like the people Charles Schultz talked about in one of his cartoons. He said, "Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we have never even used." Disengaged people ... quite simply ... aren't using all their gears.
There is good news, however. There are 4 ways leaders can get superstar performance from all their players.
As organizational consultant Betsy Allen puts it, the relationship between the leader and his players is key. As the relationship builds, so does the engagement, motivation, and performance of the player.
That means, as a leader, you've got to take time to listen to your coworkers. You've got to listen to what's on their minds and what's in their hearts. You've got to make yourself available for that kind of dialogue if you want to build a climate of trust that leads to more engagement.
One way to do that is to ask Brave Questions that go beyond the superficial “how are you” and “what’s happening?” Ask Brave Questions that start with who, what, where, when, why or how. Reduce the number of questions that can be answered by a superficial yes or no. Refrain from questions that ask something like "Are you okay with this?" The quiet people may give you a polite "Yeah, I'm okay." But that’s a far cry from openness.
Ask more questions and ask better questions, but make sure you listen to their answers. Just remember, leaders take time to listen to their players. Managers request your time to have you listen to them.
In other words, people are seldom fired up when they keep on doing the same old same old. So it's your job to give your people some new projects and give them the training they need to ensure their success on those new projects.
Of course challenge isn’t easy. Even though your players may say they want and need some new challenges, they may resist the change that entails. As author David H. Free notes, “When people get very good at doing things a certain way, they become surprisingly inept at learning new skills when changing conditions demand it."
To overcome some of that resistance, remember the words of the 20th century educator and diplomat James Bryant Conant. He wrote, "Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out. That means you've got to give your players some challenges that are worthy of sticking their necks out for.
With that second element in place, to get superstar performance from your players, you must...
Make sure the organization's vision and goals are so clear that anyone and everyone in the organization could speak them back to you. And make sure everyone at every level knows how her job is linked to the overall goals of the organization. Without that, it's almost impossible to fully motivate your coworkers.
One way to do that is to communicate your goals, over and over again, in a variety of ways, over a long period of time. Anything less allows the grapevine to take over and the rumor mill almost always kills off engagement.
Another way to do that is conduct regular performance reviews. In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, managers frequently don't take the time to let their employees know how they're doing.
You must remember, it's only natural that your team mates want to know where they stand with you or the boss. Of course, they all would prefer a positive performance review, but even a negative performance review does a better job of maintaining employee morale than no review at all. When employees have to guess where they stand, they usually imagine the worst things or the wrong things.
And finally, you've got to...
One of the time-tested motivators of people is appreciation. People want to be seen, heard, and recognized ... no matter how much they may feign indifference to such tactics.
In fact, I know many people who have changed jobs ... actually taking a lower paying job ... so they could work in a place where they are appreciated and their accomplishments are celebrated. Studies even show that people who love their jobs feel appreciated for what they do and who they are.
Take every opportunity to reward and recognize your employees. And low-budget, informal recognition is just as important as larger, formal reward programs.
In today's extremely difficult business environment, you CANNOT afford to have any demotivated. After all, engaged employees are the secret to productivity and profitability. As Atlanta-based talk-show host Clark Howard wrote in one of his newsletters, the higher your employee morale, the higher your company profitability.
To get superstar performance from your players, Connect, Challenge, Communicate, and Celebrate.
About the Author:
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman has helped more than one million people transform their lives through the power of a positive attitude. In his new book, The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work, he reveals the strategies that will take anyone from ordinary to extraordinary. Read a free chapter and take this fun quiz: “Are You Destined for Success or Failure?” at http://thepayoffprinciple.com.