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|Friday, July 26, 2013|
BY TOM COX | BUSINESS TIPS CONTRIBUTOR
Whether you’re a CEO or a front line manager, you should always be trying to get more out of the people who report to you.
(As a worker, you should always be looking for ways to contribute more and increase your efficiency and effectiveness. And you should encourage your boss to push you.)
No, not burn anyone out — you should be seeking to grow capabilities.
The Uncomfortable Push
Humans aren’t insects. We’re not born as soldier ants or worker ants, with a role programmed into us. If we’re going to get good at something, it’ll be because several things happened — we had some innate ability, we had an external opportunity– and often, something or someone pushed us (or “gave us permission”).
As a manager you can get more, not merely by demanding more, but by growing people’s capabilities. Sometimes that means pushing them to do more, faster. Other times it means getting them to stop doing things, that they should either delegate or simply discontinue. And other times it involves you helping them grow their skills.
In all cases, you are responsible for the productivity of each person who reports to you.
And just as you have to communicate with each of your direct reports differently depending on their style and personality, and just as you motivate each one differently based on their unique goals and skills and drives, so too you need to boost productivity differently for each one.
Abilities and Interests
In order to push the right piece of extra “stretch” work to the right person, you need to know each person’s abilities and interests.
You think you do — but you don’t.
Bosses always tell me “I know what my each of my people is good at. I know their abilities.” Then we hold an ice breaker activity where we take turns revealing positive personal things that other people present don’t know about us. Inevitably, 80% of staff reveal significant abilities of which their boss was completely unaware.
(Bosses: stop over-estimating what you know. It’s safer to assume every one of your people has a strength and an interest of which you are completely unaware.)
The reliable way to get to know your people’s abilities and interests, is to have weekly 1:1 meetings with them, and to work with each of them on a career plan.
What motivates each worker? What’s their career aspiration? What do they find fulfilling?
You can find this out by listening closely during your 1:1s with each person. You can also fall back on some basic things that tend to motivate all humans.
As a bonus, give your people this multiple choice quiz and write down the answer in their file — it tells you what types of extrinsic rewards appeal to them.
Which would you prefer? Please rank these by what you’d enjoy, from most to least:
You also need to know if they prefer rewards to be given in public or private. This matters more than you might think. A Walt Disney HR honcho admits that he “rewarded” a deeply introverted employee for 30 years of work with no sick days, by dragging her on stage for an award. The next day she called in sick — to prevent that from happening again.
Every time you get more work as a boss, it’s an opportunity to find something to delegate. Even if you haven’t been hit with more work, you can still choose to delegate something that’s on your plate, that would be in the “abilities and interests” sweet spot of one of your direct reports. Do it.
Pushing, not Scaring
When you push people out of their comfort zone, some of them will push back, resisting the growth opportunity.
That’s okay. Acknowledge that they may feel uncomfortable, express your confidence, and remind them they won’t be perfect: ”I don’t mind if you make some errors — I simply want you to stretch yourself. You’re stronger than you realize.”
You only need to be wary of pushing someone SO far out of their comfort zone that they actually feel afraid — fear is qualitatively different from mere discomfort. Don’t terrify people. If you can’t tell which one they’re feeling, don’t do it — and get back to doing 1:1s so you re-learn how to read their emotions.
Nothing boosts loyalty like a boss who has faith in you and also pushes you to grow.
You can be that boss.
Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
BY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED
Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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hubbub health uses behavior change science to rethink wellness programs.
In Ashland, a public-private partnership results in online resources to help diversify the local economy.
How sports tourism is driving economic growth and making cities across Oregon a better place to live.
If you have given a former employee access to your company’s electronic information by virtue of assigning a desktop or laptop computer and you suspect he or she of having taken electronically stored data, there are several steps to follow to preserve electronic forensic evidence from spoliation.
The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.