On Leadership and People, Process and Production

People Process Production

Regular readers know that I try to help both newcomers and experienced project management practitioners and other leaders to achieve above average results using what they have at their disposal.

Because very few projects have the luxury of having the best of the best, the kingpins, or the people who make things happen on their teams, project managers need to be exceptional people managers and motivators. (Projects by nature are risky, so organizations usually keep the best people focused on the known, the proven and the established.)

The leadership method described here is not well documented – nor is it recognized as an “official” management or leadership strategy – but I can guarantee that it is a principle that will work in both management and leadership environments.

People, Process and Production

People

Most people have lives outside of work, ambitions, aspirations, hopes and dreams. If you follow one simple rule – EVERYBODY IS IMPORTANT – you will move mountains.

Acceptance, appreciation, interest and above all trust are the highest forms of recognition. If you expose your team members to these (genuine) affections, they will find ways to align themselves to your goals, they will search for ways to excel and I promise you that they will search for the plate to step up to.

If someone is wanted, regarded and trusted, they reward such positive treatment with the behavior that is suitable. If your team is made up of the “second-best” or even not that flattering groups, you will be able to show that their behavior, dedication and hard work is appreciated, recognized and NOTICED.

Superseding the once “best-of-the-best” has happened to many of the people who were on my teams. The moment they get used to the good behavior = good results programme, they are hard to stop…

What do you have to lose? Give it a go…

Process

In its narrowest form, a process describes how we move from one point (state) to another. If we think about the common understanding of a process, it can be likened to a roadmap.

What is hidden from view are:

  • Departure point – Known
  • People responsible for each action / task / node –Known
  • Information required to complete each action / task / node – Known
  • Input requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Output requirements for each action / task / node – Known
  • Success factors for each action / task / node – Known
  • Documentation for action / task / node – Known
  • Completion requirements for entire process – Known
  • Success factors for entire process – Known

If people know and understand what they are required to do, by when and to which standard, they will do whatever is required to achieve the result (successfully). If they understand who will take something forward, they humanize the situation, they treat others as clients, and your example (above) is sound, they will treat each other in the same way.

If you look inside you – you will be able to attribute each failure that you have had to the absence of clearly defined goals and objectives – internal or external.

Production

The sentence that people DO NOT want communicated inside an organization is this:

>>> IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO FAIL.

The reason organizations try and avoid this is because they have not learnt that the correct statement should be this:

>>> IT IS UNACCEPTABLE NOT TO TRY!!!

Bloopers, failures and whoopers can be repaired – with honesty and integrity.

If everybody is allowed to try their best, fail, learn, and move forward – progress in every sense will be staggering.

Fear is one of the most negative emotions that people can experience. If they are required to perform any function within a basis of fear you can predict the results.

Q: So if your team is motivated, know what they need to do, and they know that their best will be acceptable – what should the manager or leader do?

A: Stay out of their way!!

The only way that a leader or manager can enhance the performance would be through enablement – Make sure they have what they need, help where they need help, encourage when the day is dark and praise when the sun is shining.

THE ABSOLUTE PPP RULE:

Superior production (delivery of agreed results within time-frames, budget and materials consumption frameworks) is achieved by positively motivated people, doing what is expected of them, and working without fear.

GUARANTEE: If this does not work for you – Let me know!!! I will publicly renounce the statement!!!

Please feel free to comment, share and re-post this…

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–

Anton van den Berg is a Project Professional at Aveng Limited
He serves Organisations to Advance to the Next Market Level
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog

Image Sources: tycoonplaybook.com

On Leadership and the Political Season: How All Leaders Can Discern Deceit and Restore Truth

Political Lies

Having a competitive spirit is usually a positive attribute in our culture. Whether in work, life, or play, we’re hard-wired to face competition with power, tenacity, and the goal of winning.

It’s the American way. And for many, winning has become the supreme, all-important goal!

On Leadership and Lies

As we approach mid-term elections in the United States in the height of this season’s political frenzy, many candidates and their parties are desperate to win at all costs, with millions of dollars spent to influence voters. For example, spending for TV ads in several state governors races this year are in the range of $15-30 million dollars.

Beyond the vast resources being spent though, the greater concern is the blatant deceit that has become a tolerated part of election season; if you consistently vilify and defame your opponent and play dirty politics, you have a good chance of winning regardless of your own past performance or political record.

Throughout the election season, we’ll be constantly bombarded with out-of-control half-truths (also called “spin”) and outright lies about opponents, as well as promises that will never be kept.

As voters we have to be more shrewd and discerning to find truth and honor in political candidates.

Deception in the Camps

As a Vietnam POW under communist rule for over five years, I heard lies and half-truths three times a day as the speaker box in my cell spewed forth their propaganda. Consequently, my greatest source of anger and concern since repatriation has come from my aversion to lies and duplicity, especially when someone is trying to get me to believe something that is clearly not true or so far out of context that it has no relevance.

Intentional misrepresentations of facts or reckless attacks on another person’s character are anathema to a free society, and they echo the communist tactics we experienced in the camps many years ago.

Why do we tolerate such dishonorable behavior? Regardless of one’s political ideology, what is the real benefit of defending and supporting spin artists whose actions and words consistently show them to be untrustworthy? Is our Republic on a slippery slope where it’s accepted that the end justifies the means?

Unifying the Culture Through Truth

Here’s a truth that we must never forget: Lies chip away at our freedom as individuals and as a nation, and truth is the cornerstone for liberty, justice and a free society. We should make electing honorable leaders our highest priority.

The mission, vision, and values of the 4th Allied POW wing in the Hanoi Hilton were eventually combined into three words, “Return with Honor.” Our actions were governed by the Military Code of Conduct, a list of six statements developed after the Korean War to guide prisoners of war. Even though we had ideological differences on some issues, this code clarified our commitments, held us accountable to each other, and inspired an amazing bond that held us together in unity. It was our highest priority as we fought to do our duty and serve honorably under the grimmest of circumstances.

You may have sensed that truth has been under attack in our society for a long time. With our current communication technologies, the truth is twisted and spun so fast and so cleverly that it would take a full-time team of researchers to sort out the real truth in a single political contest.

Seven Codes of Honor

Clearly we need a unified code of ethical behavior—a Code of Honor to guide and draw us together into truthful dialog and debate.

Here’s a step in that direction: seven principles to renew our commitment and unify us as honorable people and leaders -

  1. Tell the truth even when it’s difficult. Avoid duplicity and deceitful behavior.
  2. Treat others with dignity and respect. Take the lead, and operate by the Golden Rule.
  3. Keep your word and your commitments. Ask for relief sooner than later if necessary.
  4. Be ethical. Operate within the laws of the land, the guidelines of your profession, and the values that you proclaim.
  5. Act with responsibility, do your duty, and be accountable. Own your mistakes, and work to make things better in the future.
  6. Be courageous. Lean into the pain of your fears to do what you know is right even when it feels unnatural or uncomfortable.
  7. Stay attuned to your spiritual core, your conscience, and your deepest intuitions. Listen for wisdom about honor, ethics, and courage.

What do you think would happen to our society if we all did our best to follow these seven short principles of honor? Don’t underestimate the power of a few honorable people to make a significant difference in our culture. Make a commitment to do your part as leaders in affecting positive change, and expect results from your efforts. Would you join me in making that commitment?

Get a free copy of this Code of Honor.  

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

Image Sources: pinimg.com

How to Lead Stupid People

Stupid People

“How to Lead Stupid People” as an article title… Offensive, right? Who would think that the people that work with them are stupid?

Well read these statements:

“I was just promoted into management and am shocked at how stupid my employees can be. I give them directions and then they do 18 things I didn’t want. I’m getting really frustrated and curt with them. How do I make sure they do tasks the way I want them done?” – Actual question sent in by recently promoted manager (Source)

“My organization has tripled the number of employees I supervise, and I’m exhausted with how many stupid mistakes they make. I make every effort to train them, and yet they still manage to misunderstand nearly everything I say. How can I make the job to clear to them and not waste so much time with their mistakes?” – Yes, another real question sent into a newspaper! (Source)

Not only do people think that their direct reports are stupid, they are also willing to ask for advice about them… And “experts” are willing to answer.

But take a different look at the equation:

What if the reason that a team is “stupid” has more to do with the person in charge than the people on the team?

People Are Only As Stupid As Allowed

We are the masters of how we interpret the world. That’s why people can see the same glass as half full or half empty – the glass isn’t different, the perspective is. It’s a phenomenon called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is a trick our brain plays, only looking for evidence supporting our preconceived notions or strongly held beliefs.

In one my first real jobs, my first manager struggled to identify three positive attributes in my first quarterly review. Right after that, I got the opportunity to do the same job for another leader in the organization. In three months, I was given a huge project to reduce attrition in a key area. It was successful and I was promoted to manager of the group.

  • Was I smarter while working for the second manager? No.
  • Did I make mistakes and fail while working for the second manager? Absolutely.

But for manager two, I was a capable and resourceful employee. For manager one, I was a total screw up. I didn’t act differently work any harder. The difference was in their perspective…

Do you think that the people who “work for you” are brainless? It likely has more to do with your view of them than their performance.

If Your Employees Are Stupid, That’s On You

Teams are only good as their combined abilities. Leaders aren’t always given the opportunity to pick the people, but they can shape a high-performance team culture. This culture encourages people to step up or step out. Either is fine, as long as everyone is rowing in the same direction.

During a promotion, I “inherited” a team that wasn’t doing so well. I interviewed the team. They were passionate and diligent about doing a great job, but the previous manager assumed their jobs were mundane and they must be “simpletons” (his words, really). He also didn’t deal with a single performance issue.

I took the following actions immediately:

  1. Started to promote the wins of the team
  2. Met with all the business partners to realign goals and projects
  3. Had a tough conversation with the person that was not performing their duties

The team’s performance turned around dramatically.

On Leadership and Culture

Shadow of a Leader

Did the team change? Not really. I didn’t rejigger their processes. It was really a matter of what I thought of the team. It’s the notion of “shadow of the leader.”

Essentially, the team will emulate the leader’s actions, and will be a reflection of the leader’s perception of the group. Think about a person you were in a relationship with that didn’t work out, then they end up great relationship. It’s likely they didn’t really change much.

What’s more likely is that they found someone that saw their inner greatness.

You shape how the people around you show up. Unless you are in a war zone (and research tells us sometimes even then), you control how great people show up.

You Can’t Fix Stupid, But You Can Fix You

What does this all mean for the stupid team that you are forced to lead?

It means if you think you are leading stupid people, look in the mirror. The likely cause of the collective stupidity of the team is that you haven’t answered/addressed some very important questions:

  • Do you really know what the team does?

    • Not just the “they process form 47” level, but the impact on the end customer or bottom line – if you can’t clearly articulate that, then how can your expect your team to know the impact of their actions?
  • Do you know how your team impacts and interacts with other teams?

    • Part of overcoming the label of “stupid team” is understanding the interactions between teams.
  • Do you know what motivates your team members?

    •  Not the fluffy stuff, but the underlying motivation – this insight enables you to see why they act the way they do.
  •  Do you know their strengths?

    • Far too often, leaders don’t really know what their team members’ strengths are – they constantly give them either crappy, mundane work or tasks they struggle with. I’m 5′ 1″ tall – if my manager gave me the task of being the center of a basketball team, I’d fail no matter how hard I worked.
  • Do you know what they want to do with their careers?

    •   Its vital to know what folks want out of the time they are working. Is it to be the manager, to get a paycheck, or to start his or her own business? All of those are awesome. This gives you insight into how you can work with them to achieve those goals and frame tasks or projects. You will really have to think about why you are assigning things (and to whom) when you’re assigning them.

Are the people on the team you have the privilege of leading really stupid? Probably not. A team being “stupid” has more to do with the leader than the members of the team. Everyone is masterful at something – it’s just a matter of finding out what.

  • A leader actively looks for the greatness in each and every person on the team.
  • A non-leader just complains that the team is ineffective because the people on their team are stupid.

Which one are you?

**********

“I love L2L because I can review the topic first thing in the morning via email, and make a decision if I want to read the full article. I usually can make that decision within the first few lines. I really appreciate this format in our busy, fast-paced world.”

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————

Anil Saxena is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | (847) 212-0701

Image Source: tommyland

A Recipe For Failure: Focusing On Success

Great Recipe

When cooking food, a little too much or too little of an ingredient can ruin a dish. So if you are cooking from a great recipe, it is vital to focus on every aspect of building that recipe in a way that will yield success.

Great meals don’t come from great recipes; they come from great execution of a great recipe.

Great Recipes Do Not Equal Great Results

At first, I couldn’t understand how someone could have a great recipe for a great meal but still not be able to produce a great meal. With that reasoning, everyone should be master chefs (and we know that’s not the case). I have come to realize in my ignorance and oversimplification of cooking that the problem lies not so much in the recipe as it does in the placement of focus.

Let me explain, great chefs have great focus and an innate ability to place focus on the right things at the right time. A masterful meal is the byproduct of placing great focus on the details and the processes. The reason many fail at making great meals is because they are focusing too much on… making great meals.

Notice Your Focus

As a youth football player I tried being a kicker (kickers are cool in little league). I couldn’t make the cut and had to settle for a skill position. Who knew playing a position other than kicker could be a demotion! The reason I kept failing as a kicker was because I was focusing too much on trying to make successful kicks rather than the actual process of kicking.

Q: So what does a successful kicker, cook, and company have in common (if only “kicker” was spelled with a “c,” my alliteration would be classic)?

A: The answer is, they all do well when they focus on the details and not the results.

They don’t focus on success because they recognize you can’t place focus on results; you place the focus on the details and processes it takes to produce results. Great kickers have an incredible ability to avoid the temptation of wanting to look up and see if their kick in going to be a successful kick or not.

Similarly when it comes to organizations, I have seen where leaders really wanted to be successful but were not able to stay focused on the details and processes it took to produce success.

Recipe for Disaster

Here are a few examples of how recipes for success can come up short:

1. Missing Ingredients

A team wants to be successful, yet no one brings the focus down to the real issues that preventing or hindering its success. Take the time to find what’s missing; could very well be the key ingredient to your success.

2. Half-Baked Plans

An example of a half-baked plan would be having a long-term strategy that you abandon when the early results are not what you hoped for. If this is a long-term process, then stop assessing it by short-term indicators.

Indicators are important, but they are not results.

That’s like pulling the chicken out the oven half-baked and tossing it in the trash because it’s taste was not what you had hoped for. News flash, don’t expect half-baked chicken to taste like anything other that half-baked chicken! You don’t pull out half-baked chicken to taste it, you pull it out to see if it’s cooking according to plan.

Leaders can feel the pressure to show immediate returns on their work that they fall into taste testing their approach and not merely assessing it. This can lead to constant abandoning of incomplete plans and approaches. This can also lead to high turnover and instability within an organization or group. Be sure to keep checking on you plan, just remember that it’s still not finished yet.

3. Wannabe Master Chefs

Don’t try to get creative until you’ve mastered the basics.  People often view creativity as if it is the opposite of order and discipline. Creativity should actually be an expression of high level mastery of the fundamentals. Many try to go out and start with this new creative, out of the box approach only to fall well short of all expectations. Before we become creative, let become competent. Once you’ve mastered your understanding you can begin to apply it in unique, and innovative ways.

What’s your recipe for success? Once you have your unique ingredients, turn your attention to the details and process of following your plan, strategy, or approach. This will help you have the success you’re looking for. My wife (who’s a wonderful cook) at times would ask me how I would make such wonderful dishes on the rare occasions that I do cook? My reply is usually the same,  “I followed the directions from the recipe, Sweetie.”

******

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Dr. Tommy Shavers

Dr. Tommy Shavers is President of Tommy Speak LLC. and Unus Solutions Inc.
His lenses are Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Books

Image Sources: brooklyn.mamasnetwork.com 

Empathic Leadership Is Not Doormat Leadership

Doormat

Does this describe your leadership?

  • Inherently, you’re always able to tell how others are feeling on any given day.
  • You don’t need to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” because you naturally imagine yourself in others’ lives or situations.
  • You are often referred to as intuitive and conscientious. In fact, you’re ability to understand where someone is coming from, sense their concerns, and give voice to their emotional concerns can make it feel as though you’re reading their mind.
  • You always weigh the feelings and perspectives of others before taking action, which people tend to notice. Even if someone on your team hasn’t voiced a question or concern, you are aware it is lingering in their mind.
  • Though everyone is capable of being empathetic, you have a natural talent for knowing the right things to say in the moment, and understand where people are sitting even without any personal connection.

That is because you are talented in the strength of Empathy.

Soft Does Not Empathy Make

Make no mistake, just because someone has the strength of Empathy does not mean they are weak, a push-over, emotional, or any other barrier label you can think of. If unsophisticated, it is very likely they could show up that way; however, a sophisticated Empathic leader will leverage their strength to build relationships and trust that allows their team to feel heard and important.

People want to follow a leader who recognizes they are people and is able to take their perspective into account. NOTE: that does not mean a leader with Empathy cares or will act on that information. This strength simply allows them to be aware and see the human element innately.

Leading With Empathy

If you are a leader with Empathy, it’s important for you to recognize where your boundaries are. While people’s personal lives and opinions are important, you cannot submit to, or accommodate all of their woes.

Being a good leader means taking into account what is relevant and important to their engagement at work, otherwise, you’ll be easily taken advantage of.

Remember, everyone has bad days and everyone has parts of their job they dislike; your people do not need to be over the moon 100% of the time! Utilize one or two of your other strengths (Analytical, Deliberative, Focus, etc.) to determine when to bend and when to acknowledge, draw the line, and move on.

—————————————————

“So what’s MOST important to your Team?”

Signature ShowcaseFind out & Learn to Lead with Empathy with
Recalibrate Values Sorting Exercise!

—————————————————

Building Effective Relationships

You are able to build relationships with emotional depth which will make you approachable and safe. That will help you when you have to deliver the tough messages – you’ll be able to deliver the information in a way that your people feel accounted for. If they feel they are invested in and you actually understand their situation, they will be more likely to invest the time and attention required to improve their performance.

You’ll also have the advantage of insight into those others might find “difficult” to work with.

All people seek to be understood, whether they are consciously seeking understanding or not. Your ability to connect in a real way will help people who have built up walls trust you and begin to open up.

While some people will never be “open books” or want to discuss every issue they have, you will still be able to establish a trust that will allow them to let you support them when they actually need it.

Overly Emotional vs. Emotional Awareness

Attributes related to emotion often get a bad rap in the business world because being emotional is seen as a weakness. While most people would agree constantly getting upset or frazzled by every little thing would impede performance, being aware of your emotions and those of others is actually an asset.

Depending on the other strengths are wrapped around an individual’s Empathy, it could be used in a very strategic way; if they are aware how their boss is feeling, or what makes them happy, or what time of the day they are most approachable, those with Empathy would know when to make requests on behalf of their team or themselves.

There is also a possibility, depending on their intentions and other strengths, that they could manipulate others to achieve their own ends. So, don’t discount someone with Empathy – that may end up being a big tactical error on your part!

If you’re a leader that has the talent theme of Empathy, how do you leverage it to lead? Have you ever been called emotional? How did you respond? Do you lead someone with Empathy? How do they display it? Are they unsophisticated? How would you coach them to become more sophisticated inside this strength?

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP

Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web

Image Sources: geekalerts.com

On Leadership and Succession Planning – Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Succession Planning

Recently, my wife Mary and I discussed the need to review and update our will, which is now about fifteen years old. The next day over coffee a friend asked me if I had a will. Later that day in a random conversation, a stranger mentioned that he knew an estate attorney in my neighborhood. The next day I heard on the radio that August was national “get a will” month.

I got the message! After dragging our feet for several years, we have an appointment this week to begin the process.

Planning For Success

As you know, the topic of succession planning is more than keeping a personal will up to date. Did you ever notice how hard it is for leaders to plan for the time when you or one of your team members leaves the organization? The military does this well by consistently developing officers and enlisted to move up to the next level.

When having the right leader in place is a matter of life and death, the goal is succession at every level without missing a beat.

In the POW camps of Vietnam, having clarity about who assumed command was a huge plus for our success and morale. Not only did we have amazingly well prepared leaders, we had an automatic succession plan—the next senior person became the leader. If you had two people of the same rank, then the one with the earliest promotion date was the leader.

“Had the military not intentionally trained each officer, the outcome of our POW experience could have been very different—increased confusion, mixed messages, lack of unity, and greater loss of life.”

The Value of Succession Planning in the Workplace

If you believe in the mission of your work and want it to continue, you must proactively plan for turnover and succession at all levels –

  • Top Leaders. Succession planning at the highest level is about finding leaders that can protect the vision and move it forward. A bad hire is always costly, and costs at the executive level are tangible and intangible whether it’s a loss of revenue, momentum, or direction needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Mid-level Managers. Pro-active companies have a training pipeline for managers—especially those deemed to be high potentials.
  • Front Line Supervisors. Leadership always makes a difference, regardless of the level. These leaders are most involved in getting the job done (results) and taking care of people (relationships).

With good succession planning in place, you’re much better prepared to promote internally, which has many advantages. You’re hiring a known entity and already understand their talents, character, courage, and commitment. Remember—the best insight for hiring is the old saw “has done–will do.” Other advantages include –

  • Saving on outside recruiting costs. The average cost of finding and hiring someone from outside the company is 1.7 times more than an internal hire ($8,676 vs. $15,008) reports the Saratoga Institute.
  • Better morale and retention. It shows you value your people inside the organization.
  • Quicker on-boarding and ramp up. Internal hires know the culture and processes of the organization.
  • Great chances of long-term success. Statistically, experts say that 40-60 percent of external hires aren’t successful compared with only 25 percent for internal hires.

“Developing your own people also provides the opportunity to add knowledge and skills as well as reinforcing your organizational culture, values and policies.”

Looking Outside, and A Final Note

Even with the best internal succession plans and programs, sometimes it’s necessary to look outside. Typical situations that might favor hiring outside would include a –

  • Lack of qualified and experienced candidates.
  • Need for new energy and innovation in a new project/direction.
  • Need for a turnaround person in an area that’s stalled out or dysfunctional.

Regardless of your succession planning process, one thing is clear—it begins with the hiring process. Getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats will be critical to success (Jim Collins), and we should begin with the end in mind (Stephen Covey).

So what are you doing about succession planning? And by the way, when was the last time you updated your will? Both are too important to neglect. Think about it and share your thoughts and experiences.

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

 Image Resources: piercecfo.com

Giving Your Employees Freedom To Encourage Creativity

Creativity at Work

If your employees are like most of the respondents to an international survey conducted by Gallup, twice as many of them are unhappy than happy in their jobs. Not only does workplace satisfaction have a direct impact on expenses for recruiting, hiring and retention, unhappy employees can derail productivity, workplace culture and customer experience.

One way to thwart the likelihood that your employees loathe each day on the job? Give them the freedom to be creative in their roles.

Giving Employees Flexibility to Be Creative

Here are a few reasons why giving employees the flexibility to be creative can transform your workplace — and how to do it.

Set the stage.

Sitting at a desk doesn’t necessarily induce a feeling that “the sky’s the limit,” but you can give employees a mental refuge by taking a cue from Google, which has common areas sprinkled throughout its campus to provide employees with a place to change gears and their perspectives.

Whether they use the rooms to think, relax, brainstorm or chat, they’re physically free of the constraining environments of closed meetings rooms and conference tables. As a result, they can change their mood — and their thinking. Any business can provide a space that inspires creativity with something as basic as a room with futons, fluffy cushions, a comfy rug, interesting paint colors, games and gadgets.

Establish a time for mental recess.

Though your employees are presumably more equipped to practice mental discipline than children, who are given recess in order to burn off energy and refocus, adults also need an opportunity to think outside of their pressing “to-do” lists to start thinking about new ways of problem-solving in their jobs.

As science writer Jonah Lehrer explained in a 2012 NPR story on the science behind workplace creativity, the idea of a daily workplace recess has proven successful for 3M, which gives its engineers time out of each day to spend however they wish, as long as they later share with colleagues what they worked on for that hour. Not only does the break give employees a chance to refresh their mental batteries, it communicates a sense of trust between company and employee. As a result, they’re more likely to want to work with an employer as a partner, versus feeling like a “worker bee.”

Give employees at every level the opportunity to create.

Employees in “creative” fields like design, engineering and marketing usually have the opportunity to share their creative input, but as Lehrer also told NPR, those who aren’t in a creative role often have the most important input to share, given their exposure to the “front lines” of the business.

By establishing a norm that everyone in the organization is invited to share ideas free of judgment, you can increase the collective sense of accountability as well as the degree to which employees at all levels feel respected and appreciated by the organization.

Honor results more than face time.

It’s easy to spot the employees who have a “clock in, clock out” mentality, but if your organization places high importance on arriving and leaving the office at defined start and end times, these employees are behaving in the exact way your organization has implicitly stated, or indirectly implied, is required.

To inspire a culture of creativity, focus your organizational emphasis on results, not basic task completion.

Though you don’t have to go for a total “results-only work environment” (which allows employees to come and go whenever they want, as long as they’re producing results), the ideology is an important shift in growing a culture of employees who feel empowered, important and fulfilled in their work.

In addition to ensuring that managers behave in a way that reinforces the idea that true engagement is more important than simply being present, performance reviews should reflect a similar ideology.

Freedom to Create

Giving employees the freedom to create may represent a shift in your current operations, but given the payoff that it can provide in reduced human resources overhead and a competitive advantage in innovation and customer service, it’s likely a risk worth taking.

So how are you doing as a leader to give your employees the freedom and flexibility to be creative? What are some steps you can take now to insure a better bottom-line by have more people doing the things they love? I would love to hear your thoughts!

**********

Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Kristen Gramigna

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay
She serves in the Bankcard Industry in Direct Sales, Sales Management and Marketing
Email | LinkedIn | Web |

Image Sources: onlinecareertips.com/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43,082 other followers

%d bloggers like this: