The thought of this article came up when a couple of months back I was helping a business founder in the manufacturing industry to increase staff productivity. During that time, we both discussed many strategies and thought of various new ways to help the staff be productive.
One of the things that I noticed during my years of work with business is that most of the leaders work very hard towards ensuring productivity in the staff. But we fail to notice that whom are we making productive- humans or robots?
It will not take you any microscope to observe that your staff has mastered the formula to follow directions, they have excelled in following set curriculum. Infact, even the responses they give to you are completely robotic. …..
Director : Why is your project late?
Teacher: The meeting were planned in late.
Director: Why didn’t you anticipate this?
Teacher: Because you told me to focus on my work only.
Director: The art design is your work.
Teacher: I was doing what you said to do.
Director: Well you’re making excuses for your own mistakes.
And the conversation goes on…… It doesn’t matter what you say. Everything is twisted and turned to show that you are always wrong. A clear sign that you are dealing with robot.Did you hire robots during the interview or did you turn them into one? How do you get them back to being energetic productive staff…..a staff you always dream of.
I always tell clients - no one hires a robot, we definitely know how to turn them into one.When someone walks into an interview, they come with so many ideas, thoughts and energy. They want to grow with the company. Somewhere down the months the same employee only follow instructions and do not want to take any ownership. Why ? Among many factors, one major factor is we as leaders give quick orders to our staff on what to do and what not to do. We do ask for suggestions but not with passion. Exceptions to the "Don't give orders" rule include situations involving emergencies or the health or safety of individuals. The right orders at the right time can save lives, prevent injury.
It takes some efforts from you as a leader to get your staff to be productive. Below are extremely simple yet very powerful steps to follow:-
Pause to ask question for inputs instead of issuing order. Let them get into the thinking mode otherwise their brains will soon get rusted.
Ownership - When you tell a staff what you want done, instead of giving an order, you give them the freedom to come up with their best way of completing the task. Let them do their jobs without interfering—micromanaging people stifles them and makes them less likely to give their best. Having ownership of work is rated as the top most motivator.
Walk with your staff to their desk or just spend few minutes over coffee in the kitchen. Listen to their ideas and connect with their thoughts.
Enrich their jobs - Learn to present new assignments as challenges to the staff. Let them feel there is more than just routine tasks.
Relax your staff - Stress demotivates each of us, it drains us out. Don’t wait for your staff to come to you telling you they feel stressed. Walk with them will help you know what they are feeling. Use that as an opportunity to make them feel relaxed. You do not need to spend big bucks on them to be relaxed- just everyday simple things work.
Put it all together and you get- POWER employees.
As leaders, we have many hats to wear and one of them being guiding our staff and ensuring they never get to be robot. And this will lead to happy staff, happy children, less turnover and more enrollments.