In the early days of Clear Strategy, I gained an amazing insight. Half of the clients who were coming to me for job search ended up staying in their jobs and getting promoted. More than once. It turned out their career management problem was not that they needed a new job. They needed leadership development. They needed influence tools that could make them feel in charge of their destiny. From there they could refocus their energy on performance, which led to results. What if you and the leaders in your organization could get direct reports to meet you half-way — to take initiative over their career path and become more engaged and mature employees? Here are two insights to consider:
- Trust that employees want to feel excited to come to work
- Let them be right
This second principle is critical. Every day I see professionals make employees or team members “wrong.” When things don’t go the way they’d hoped, they vote against someone’s work ethic, intelligence or capability. If instead they trusted that the person had good intention and was in the team for good reason, they could get curious about what (not who) went wrong. They could uncover improvements to vision, interim goals, communication or the decision-making process.
Making someone wrong breaks a tiny thread of trust that, with time, erodes their motivation. Next time you come up to a bump in the road, I invite you to get curious. Slow down, suspend judgment, and ask open ended questions. What assumptions did the person make? What information would have helped? How did your communication help or hinder their ability to ask the right questions?
A team with fire in the belly is a fantastic goal. Will you take it on?
All my best,