BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR PEOPLE

BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR PEOPLE

Three tips to encourage a solid performance from your team

All businesses are made up of systems and procedures that are meant to encourage specific outcomes; usually profit and growth. If the systems aren’t in place or are ignored, it’s unlikely (except in rare cases) that these goals will be reached. Consequently the viability of the business will be affected.

By “neglecting” to put systems and procedures in place you will cast your business adrift, and the consequences will be costly. But with a proactive approach to managing both your employees and yourself, you will be able to steer your business away from stormy waters and towards the calm of the bay. This requires constant attention and effort, but the outcomes can be hugely rewarding.

Here are three tips to help you manage your team – and yourself – proactively:

MANAGE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT EMPLOYEE – YOU

Psychologists have an interesting theory when it comes to the impact leaders have on their followers. Termed the “credibility of the source”, it means the more credible the source the more persuasive the message. Would you take pedicure pointers from Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or investment tips from Bernie Madoff? Extreme examples, but you get the point.

In business, it means if you expect your employees to follow the rules you set, you need to follow them yourself first. This includes all your behaviour in and towards the workplace. Your actions and example will always have more of an impact than your words.

THE POWER OF PUNISHMENT AND REWARD

Your employees need to understand that their actions impact the working environment, and you need to put motivations in place to encourage positive results. Rewards can be internal or external. An external reward could be a photo on your employee-of-the month board, or a bonus, while an internal reward could be the emotional impact of sincere words of congratulations from a respectful leader. Combining the two greatly increases the perceived value of the reward.

No disciplinary code? Get one! There are many examples available on the internet, and even more available from labour specialists. Put it in place, communicate it to all staff, and study the severity of certain workplace misconduct. Study the disciplinary code and be consistent when handling non-compliance. South African labour legislation is extremely pedantic and can be difficult to work with. Be aware of your rights, and seek advice if you need it.

THE LEVERAGE OF LOYALTY

Employee loyalty will have a significant effect on your business, including its ability to tap into the valuable skills sets on offer. A loyal employee will gladly work extra hours, will take on tasks that are outside of the contract, and will take on extra responsibility. A loyal employee is extremely valuable to a business; worth more than any asset that depreciates!

Loyalty is difficult to measure, but can be encouraged through your fair and reasonable approach to running the business. Fairness, as an employer, means treating staff in an equitable way and not discriminating. Your employees will see this as the norm and will do their part to maintain the status quo.

Be reasonable in the tasks you dish out. It’s part of your role to delegate tasks, but be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t expect your accountant to paint your house in a day! And don’t extend the goals too far as employees can become addicted to the excitement of a challenge and broadening their skills to the detriment of their key tasks.

There are positives and negatives to leading a team, but your primary concern should be ensuring the longevity and success of the business. Good leaders put structures in place to ensure their business stay on course and they manage their expectations, while striving for excellence, but not blind to the strength of their team.

Reference:

Matt Haddon – Consultant at Copia Consulting (Your Business – Volume 19 No 2)