Does Your Workplace Foster Excellence Or Mediocrity?
Everything needs the right climate for growth.
If you have mediocre conditions you are going to get mediocre results.
You have to provide the right conditions to manifest excellent results.
It doesn’t really matter what results you are seeking, if you are not mindful of the climate you are operating in and/or creating, your results may be mediocre rather than excellent.
Take a look at your company… an honest, objective look.
- Are you achieving your goals? Are you generally meeting or exceeding your forecasts without some kind of threat or negative consequence?
- Do your team Leaders regularly reach out to you with questions and concerns?
- Do they occasionally reach out and tell you that they aren’t sure what to do, ask how best to proceed, and to ask for advice or clarity?
- Do they sometimes question your decisions? And does this lead to an open discussion?
- Do you trust pretty much all of them? Do you extend trust as a rule?
- Do you foster a culture of encouragement, and give 5 to 9 positives for every constructive comment? Do you do this yourself, and do you remind others to do this?
It doesn’t matter what you would like to happen, or what should happen… Answer these questions with what is actually happening in your workplace.
If you answer mostly no to these questions…
You are likely creating and supporting a culture of fear, and you are fostering mediocre performance.
You are teaching your team Leaders to keep their opinions to themselves; to play it safe and shoot for staying under the radar; that they are not safe in their jobs; and that they should not take any risks or chances to strive for excellence.
You are developing a culture of ‘every man for himself’. Your team Leaders do not feel that they are an important part of the team, nor do they share your goals.
You will see this reflected in disengaged team members and team Leaders. They will be going through the motions, however they will not be showing any passion for their work. Your team members are not happy in their jobs, and this will not feel like a happy workplace; they are not engaging with your customers; nor are they striving to do their best.
You can turn this around! It will take time, and energy, and you can do it.
How to foster excellent results…
- Excellence follows clear and transparent expectations. Everyone at every level should be aware of the expectations, and they should be consistent at each level.
- Encourage innovation by aligning rewards with attempts at innovation and risk taking, in addition to excellence, as long as it is supporting the stated goals.
- Encourage mistakes… if you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough! And if you can’t afford a mistake then be a partner in that area/process. Don’t leave your team leaders out to dry… work with them to assure success where it is critical.
- Understand that everyone is not great at everything. We all have our strengths, and we should be playing to our strengths and working to build on them. People will need help in areas that are not their strengths, support them; partner them with those who have those strengths; partner with them yourself. Fully support them through the hard times and they will reward you will trust and loyalty.
- Build strong trusting relationships… this is Leadership people. Creating relationships with others is what allows you influence them. Yes it takes time and energy… do you want to achieve your goals or not?
- Build a culture of trust. This means that you, the Leader, must extend trust to those around you. It is up to you to say, out loud, publicly, that you trust them, believe in them, and are confident in them. It’s up to you to help them feel safe in their jobs… safe trying new things, safe attempting and possibly failing. Your Leaders and team members are the ones carrying out and achieving the goals of the team… each one of them needs to feel like an appreciated, and important part of the team.
- Build a culture of encouragement. This means you are not critiquing everything everyone does all of the time. Would you welcome someone outside your company to come in and second-guess every decision you ever made? So stop criticizing all of the time, and start praising every little win. You will be amazed at the difference in the attitudes of those around you when you start seeing the things they do right. Yup… they will start doing more things right.
- Understand the cyclical nature of everything… no one stays on top forever. No one will be striving to be at the top of their game if they will get in trouble for every slip. No team Leader will work harder, and push his or her team to be atop the KPI list if all they get is hassled when they cannot maintain that position.
- Reward Leadership and Leadership development — people have to feel inspired to achieve excellence, and we are not inspired by some disconnected goals, or by tasks. It takes Leaders, people who build relationships to inspire a team to greatness. Reward leadership development because you need to be in this for the long run… you need to build bench strength… tomorrows Leaders.
People will not take the time to do any of these things if your reward system is not in alignment. You will get more of what you reward and celebrate… you will not get what you do not reward. It’s that simple.