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HOW TO ENGAGE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS

How to Engage Different Personalities for Business Success

The winds of change are moving fast through the modern economy. Business performance improvement is no longer just about left brain rational processes, new products, technology and information. Rather, it is about integrating a more right brained engaging approach by navigating the human differences of diverse employees and clients (or customers). Further, in order to improve revenues and productivity, businesses need to customize employee and client experiences.

In the new behavioral economy, deeper relationships with employees and clients are being built based on higher levels of emotional engagement. By engaging employees, the organization can build confidence for open communication with others on the individuals terms. The key to maintaining engagement, however, is fostering a culture of two-way communication.

Independent research indicates an increase of up to 240% in bottom line performance achieved by emotionally engaging BOTH your employees and clients. Many businesses focus on the customer or client experience and engagement which ultimately affects the bottom line.? Whats more interesting to note is that engaging employees also affects the bottom line and cuts down on counterproductive behaviors like passive aggressiveness, lethargic pace, or gossip. An engaged person is more involved, produces ideas, and is willing to own their role as part of the bigger company vision and structure.

Here are some pressing reasons to start engaging your employees and encouraging them to engage each other:

  • Keeping on budget
  • Meeting project scope and quality
  • Efficiency of work completed
  • More and better ideas for a better end result
  • Avoiding burnout or dropout
  • Happy employees
  • Unified goal
  • And ultimately, bottom line growth

Here are powerful ways to achieve engagement for any reason:

  • Tailor workflows based on natural talents ? do you have a project team that envies each others role but not their own?
  • Keep an open pathway of multi-directional communication ? encourage relationships within team and across teams so that everyone feels part of the same unified company and will therefore champion the business goals and vision forward.
  • Encourage awareness ? it is fundamentally easier to practice the give and take of a great and engaging relationship when both the weaknesses and strengths of team members are known
  • Find business/team harmony ? regardless of number results, a long-term successful team and company will have a variety of personality types that will hold each other accountable while also respecting differences.

Management Principle: Thinking and Staff Development

In today’s world we’re not really encouraged to think, and by that I mean to wrestle long and hard over issues that involve different mindsets, considering tradeoffs, and then arriving at specific well thought out conclusions. Rather, we are asked to adopt and accept certain belief systems and simply conform. Since Pavlov’s famous experiment with man’s best friend, humanity has become the target of social conditioning, where like food shopping, we pick our favorite brand off the shelf–a concoction that if we could only see how it was made, we would likely decide to raise it and cook it ourselves. As the late Dr. Glenn Martin, professor at Indiana Wesleyan University would say, “Ideas have consequences.” What this means for organizational leaders is that developing today’s staff will present a very different challenge compared to other eras. Applying time-tested professional techniques are going to feel foreign, strange and even unsettling, particularly with the emerging generation.

Thinking and Staff Development, business planning, business management, employee engagementIf we want to effectively mentor and develop others then we must get them to think. Why? Good thinking yields good judgment; good judgment yields good decision-making; good decision-making yields win-win scenarios for all parties involved. It produces an owner mindset if we are careful to create a culture that supports risk-taking and innovation. Yet in juxtaposition to thinking cultures are many of today’s business environments, where we’ve followed the same protocol as the rest of society, engaging in telling platforms, communicating conformity rather than encouraging the originality and creativity that come from contemplation and having our conclusions tested by the questions and thinking of others.

If we really want to develop staff into people that can ultimately take our place, we have to engage in a more radical approach. I remember becoming aware of this truth when my boss walked into my office one day as I was standing in front of my window, staring at the outside world. He snuck up behind me and said in a pronounced voice, “Caught you!” I was so embarrassed–I knew I wasn’t really “working.” I’ll never forget his next statement… “I caught you thinking, and just so you know, that’s what I pay you to do.” He then walked out. This boss of mine is the reason I am who I am today, thanks to his ability to know the right and professional thing to do to make me a better man and a more professional manager.

Below are some keys steps to develop thinking in your staff:

  • Ask Questions. A professional manager will ask discovery-based questions rather than provide answers when employees approach them with problem-solving needs. This can feel uncomfortable for staff, since it exposes their current (and usually inadequate) thinking and makes them feel vulnerable. A safe culture is a prerequisite. In school, when taking tests, we are presented with questions for which we must provide answers. We study because we know we are going to be asked difficult questions. And if we’ve studied hard enough, we’ll give the right answer. Telling bosses stunt the growth and development of their staff.
  • Next Steps. To ensure an employee fully owns their job, all next steps must be placed on them. If we say to our staff, “Let me think it over and I’ll get back with you,” we’ve stumbled in our professional role. What we are really saying when this happens is, “I don’t trust your thinking, so I’m going to use my thinking until I come up with the right answer.” One of the key principles when training a soldier how to shoot is to keep the instructor’s finger off the trigger. If we hope to increase our employees’ competency over time, we need to push the thinking down, keep the problem-solving on them, and avoid doing their work.
  • Insure Decision-making. It would be a disaster if, by only asking questions and assigning next steps, our employees went out like the old cartoon character Tennessee Tuxedo and acted on their half-baked ideas. We’d spend much of our time accounting to our boss, making excuses for the actions of our employees and our inability to lead. This is why I like Bill Oncken’s Freedom Scale. Depending on our anxiety level, there are certain levels of freedom we assign to employee decisions to insure sound actions. If we don’t like their ideas, rather than give them the answer, we find the next best question to ask to help them see the bigger picture.

I know what you are thinking. All this sounds great but it takes too much time. And, time it does take. But, like a good financial investment, it means delaying current gratification for long-term gain. The truth is, for a telling boss, he or she will spend most of their time answering the same questions over and over again, which is a waste of time. By applying these principles on the front end of staff development, we’ll produce people who will ultimately think and judge the same way we do. If you want your staff to improve in their judgments and decision-making, then you must cultivate your thinking in them. This same process works well with teenage children, by the way.

Coaching questions: When your employees seek your direction or some version of problem-solving, how do you usually respond? How can you take steps to make sure your thinking is being developed in them, so that they can ultimately replace you in a succession process? Write your answers in your journal.

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Management Principle: Human Incentive Systems

I hope your new year is off to a great start as we are all busy implementing new strategies and tactics. Collaboration, knowledge sharing, and teamwork are more critical than ever due to constrained resources. The difference between a good company and a great one is its people–providing the right human incentive systems is what ultimately creates a great company. I hope you enjoy this week’s principle.Human Incentive Systems

Human Incentive Systems. Professional leaders and managers thrive on large-scale initiatives that are carefully planned and well executed. To achieve anything of scale, we must leverage the thinking and output of others. Some mistakenly believe that if people are paid fairly, they will be motivated to do good work. Research suggests that pay will only guarantee an employee will show up for work. To motivate them to perform at higher levels, we must utilize a battery of human incentive systems that are nonfinancial in nature. Professional managers both understand and embrace this dynamic, and work successfully with diverse people using the human touch. They build strong managerial relationships, support their staff with discovery questioning to develop their thinking and judgment, and, even when correction is necessary, they do it in the employee’s best interest without getting emotionally hooked. While they are hard on principle they are typically soft on people–caring, but not sentimental–firm, but not harsh. Treating people as valued human beings ensures the best possible results.

Coaching questions: What non-financial human incentive systems do you currently have in place that builds staff loyalty and increases productivity? What could be done to go to the next level?

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

Engaging Your Employees

Mary Lorenz of? CareerBuilder.com recently published an article focusing on management of employees, “How not to motivate employees: 10 management habits to break now“.

The ten habits that are pointed out in the article are great and include – Don’t assume people understand your reasoning behind decisions; Don’t forget that praise is about them, not you; and, Don’t speak negatively about other team members, their peers or senior management and leaders.

It is important to remember that everybody wants to be recognized for their strengths and in an environment where they can use them. This means leaders need to manage people based on their unique strengths. Further, they need to be emotionally engaged with communication customized to who they are. In the end this will build confidence which is the key to performance and realizing human potential.

Click here to read the article.

What are your thoughts?