To its credit, Leveraging People and Profit (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1998) doesn’t preach. Its authors, Bernard A. Nagle and Perry Pascarella, offer practical techniques managers can use to lift employees’ performance and foster mutual respect.
The authors emphasize that a manager’s best motivator is helping employees realize that their work makes a difference. To harness the full power of workers’ creativity and enthusiasm, leaders must take these steps to build trust: Admit self-interest. Don’t hide behind platitudes such as “we all must work together.” Instead, level with your staff about what’s at stake for you if they perform well. If you covet a promotion or want to prove to yourself that you can turn around a troubled unit, tell them. Your team knows that you’re not a selfless missionary; by acknowledging your personal wants, you gain credibility.
State bold opinions. Give lots of this-is-how- I-see-it observations. Share as much as you can about your company’s direction and strategic goals. Encourage your employees to chime in with their views, too. These big-picture discussions help everyone connect their daily jobs to the larger progress of the organization.
Prepare to rule. Participative management works in most cases, but some crises call for an autocrat. If you must switch gears and bark orders, explain why this is necessary so that your staff realizes the gravity of the situation. Help them appreciate what you’re all up against.
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