Each week we bring you news, opinions and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Motivation, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.
How to Know if Someone is Ready to Be a Manager
Management experts share their point of view on the skills and personalities to look for in a manager.
Moving into a management role requires divesting oneself of some individual contributor duties and taking on new duties as a team leader. If the new manager doesn’t fully understand that, they might hold things up by:
- Doing tasks that should be delegated to team members
- Taking back the tasks that they have delegated because they believe they can do them better
- Undercommunicating with direct reports, making them unsure of their duties
- Micromanaging in a way that doesn’t allow team members to expand their own capabilities
Dr. Jim Mitchell, a computer scientist who retired as Vice President at Oracle Laboratories said that people skills, including empathy and self-knowledge, were the most important characteristics he himself needed to possess when he transitioned to management. Self-awareness, gained from life circumstances or professional experience, is therefore what he subsequently first looked for in a potential new manager.
Martin Brauns, retired chair and CEO of Interwoven Inc., agrees that emotional intelligence, and the individual’s ability to look beyond the current task and the immediate situation to the additional considerations that a manager should demonstrate: a vision for the future and the ramifications of that vision as well as an understanding of how to implement big-picture thinking.
It’s important for both the candidate and the team to understand the critical elements of management. What’s the organizational culture, what kind of professionals work here, and what are the constraints or resources in this kind of work? Read much more at Harvard Business Review
Blog: How Good Are We at Seeing the Opportunity in Our Challenges?
A friend has recently taken it upon himself to accumulate and then share, on a daily basis, quotes that are intended to provide a source of inspiration. Today’s offering is one that – while most everyone is familiar with the principle – was an important reminder to me that the lenses through which we observe our worlds from time to time require adjustment. The quote is one from Winston Churchill:
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
This same principle is often expressed through the concept of a glass half-full or half-empty, and reminds us that no situation: personal, familial, business or other organisations to which we may be a part, should only be viewed from one perspective – that challenge will indeed offer us many opportunities for growth. Read more.
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3 Questions Every Engagement Survey Must Ask
[Ed – I love this example of a simple approach by a line manger to making employee engagement his every-day focus; if only every manager worked like this, how different things could be..!]
Eric Chester shares a story of a company that had a remarkable record of attracting and keeping in-demand workers, without offering above-market compensation, perks, or benefits.
Asked how he held on to them, Darrel, the plant manager, said: “It’s simple, really. I know exactly what they want from their job. My job is to find a way to give it to them.”
He included three questions in each week’s pay slip envelopes:
What do you like best about working here?
What do you like least about working here?
If you could make one change to your job, what would that be?
Result? He received about two to three dozen responses each week, of ideas he could actually implement.
Employee Engagement: Disengagement as Self-Protection
The ever insightful David Zinger challenges us to rethink disengagement as self-protection.
He refers to Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong, as source of the idea We disengage to self-protect. “Rather than looking at disengagement as laziness, malingering, or apathy” says Zinger, “I encourage you to think about disengagement as self-protection. What might the employees in your workplace be protecting through disengagement?”
Zinger invites us to transform disengagement from a punishable offence into a trigger for a conversation.
[Ed. This is a great idea for turning a problem into an opportunity…]
Even Tiny Rewards Can Motivate People to Go the Extra Mile
The authors conducted research that revealed small, even piddling, rewards could promote, rather than undermine, autonomous motivation.
The basic idea of small rewards is fairly simple. When rewards are large enough to trigger behavior but too small to fully justify the behavior, individuals will seek another justification for their efforts. It has been theorized that receiving piddling rewards creates a sense of dissonance (why am I doing this?) which can be relieved by either ceasing the activity completely or by developing an interest and finding enjoyment in it.
We know that rewards can crowd out autonomous motivation when the reason for engaging in the task is attributed to the extrinsic reward rather than to some intrinsic interest. In the case of small rewards the effect is reversed, as they are too low to fully justify the behavior, which forces people to assume the reason is based on something else.
A good case can be made for using small rewards to encourage cultural adaptations in previously successful businesses facing disruptive change. In such circumstances, small rewards may provide a way to nudge employees into embracing change. When employees start to alter their behavior without attributing the reason for these changes to external rewards, those mark the first steps toward sustainable behavioral change. Read more here.
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