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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.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Are mornings the most productive part of the day? We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.
Friday, May 08, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development.
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.
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