What is the worst thing that can happen to a well-established business? What is the worst thing that could happen to a growing business? What is the worst thing that can happen to you as a leader in any organization? Three questions all with the same answer. That answer—employees that do their job, and only their job.
Many of you reading this think this is not a terrible thing. After all, they are doing what is expected. They are earning their pay. I would suggest that kind of thinking is a mediocre response of an ordinary business or organization. If that works for you, stop reading. If you want to become a leader of note, and mediocrity is not acceptable read on.
In the book “We” an incredible employee performance book written by Kevin Kruse, he points out one thing that the most successful companies, regardless of the industry, and national origin, have in common—happy employees. These employees go the extra mile. They do more than is expected. They become the company unsung heroes. What is needed from you, the leader, to get that kind of effort from your employees? I would recommend five things. I will address three: know your employees, encourage them to use their talent, and empower them.
Know Your Employees—is it John or Jon? Does it matter?
Knowing your employees is more than just knowing their name. And yes, it does matter. Everyone likes the sound of his or her name. It is music to the soul when heard and pronounced correctly. Is there a spouse and children? Do you know their names? How are things going in the employees’ life? Knowing is not prying but showing concern for the most precious asset of anyone, his or her family. More importantly, is an exceptional leader that can look an employee in the eye and know that today may not be a good day for an employee to perform a particularly difficult task because of some issues going on at home.
Encourage the use of their Talent
Ensuring an employee is trained and capable of accomplishing the task should be a given. However, if you want to exceed expectations create an environment where an employee can challenge the process. The results can be astounding. Tasks can be accomplished with more efficiency, saving time and money for the organization.
When I hear the word “empower,” I usually have physical reactions that are not good. I hear it from some as no more than a buzzword for today’s business environment. Rarely do I see it practiced. Empower means giving the employee the ability to make a decision.
First order of business in empowering an employee with the ability to make a decision is to ensure the parameters are established. Second, is to ensure the availability of resources to support the decision maker. Third and the most momentous thing a leader can do to promote employee empowerment are to recognize the effort not just the successes.
The most successful companies in the world have the most engaged and heroic employees. They go beyond what is expected. They do that because their leadership knows them, encourages them to use their talent and empowers them. The leadership creates heroes that carry the company to new heights of success. It is up to you. Will it be mediocrity or success beyond your imagination?