Have you ever caught yourself saying “if only my employees would….”. Chances are you have since the majority of business owners complain about such things as “Why do my employees give the bare minimum?”, “How do I get them to stop complaining and gossiping?”, “How do I get them to contribute more in meetings?”, and “How do I get them to keep their word and their agreements around following through with what they say they will do?” Does any of this sound familiar?
Many business owners feel stumped when it comes to dealing with these issues. The short answer to all of your questions about how to change the behavior of other is…you can’t. We can never control what others do. They chose their behavior and the more we try and control what they do, the more resistance we usually get. Can you relate to that?
So what can we do to motivate the people around us to give us their best? What do we have control of? Well, we do have control of the consequences that are a result of another’s behavior. And we do have control over the way we communicate in order to greatly improve the chances of being heard in a way that is intended.
With that being said, the following ways that you can be to influence those around you in a greater way than trying to control what they do are:
Be Positive- In the realm of setting consequences, it’s easy to point out negative behaviors and then punish those behaviors. As a manger, relying too heavily on negative consequences or feedback will result in employees doing just enough to avoid the pain of hearing those things. Therefore they will never give you their fullest effort. On the flip side, rewarding good behavior with positive consequences will greatly improve the chances of them being happy, therefore less complaining and gossiping, and more real effort on a daily basis towards their job.
Be Clear- People feel safe in an environment where they know what to expect. Clearly defining the expectations of how the company operates with one another, their clients, and the outside world will build a context in which the employees can flourish, knowing what to expect of themselves and others. Having a clearly defined culture statement is a must for any successful team. That way everyone knows the rules of the road when they chose to work for your company. And you have something to hold them accountable to. Chapter 19 of Unshackled Leadership, www.unshackledleadership.com, contains detailed instructions on how to create such a culture statement.
Be Consistent- this is key in any relationship, personal or professional. Your consistent OR inconsistent behavior sends out a message to those around that they can count on. If you consistently reward good behavior and address unacceptable behavior, the team will come to count on that. If you are inconsistent, your team will also come to count on that. The latter creates a lot of uneasiness in people as they never know what to fully expect. As difficult as it may be, being consistent in your communication and behaviors creates a great level of safety, loyalty and respect.