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6 Ways to Empower Your Employees to Be More Productive

Posted by Sylvia Giltner on Sun, Jun, 03, 2018 @ 16:06 PM

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Being a manager or a team leader can be difficult to process. While you are in charge of a group of people and have the place of authority, you also have a duty to your employees. In most cases, productivity and employee motivation is a direct reflection of their manager’s mood, experience and overall character.

This can make it difficult for young, inexperienced managers to effectively motivate employees to be engaged and  productive. Luckily, employee motivation isn’t anything new in the corporate world, so let’s take a look at some actionable and effective tips that can help you raise productivity and morale across the board.

  1. It’s not about the money

It’s true that we work for money and the ability to sustain ourselves in a modern capitalist society. However, most employees are unmotivated and lack productivity for very different reasons.

Low salary is very rarely the reason for a lack of productivity, which means you should steer clear of “bribing” employees with bonuses. Instead, communicate your displeasure with their overall (not individual) productivity.

Don’t point fingers at anyone (even if you might know who the real detractors are) and focus on the bigger picture instead. Emphasize you are also an employee like themselves and you are there for them if they need you. This will create a good starting point for your relationship and a foundation upon which productivity can be restored.

  1. Happiness versus Motivation

Don’t misinterpret employee happiness with motivation and productivity. For example, if you give your employees a box of chocolate each, they will be happier – but not more productive.

Productivity is often associated with professional development, working environment dissatisfaction, coworker misunderstandings, too much overtime, etc. It’swise to openly discuss these topics with your employees in order to determine what the real issue is.

Remember you are also under the microscope of your own manager or CEO. If the employees aren’t productive, the results will reflect that, after which you will have to explain what is going on. Make sure to have the right answers for your own boss and start communicating with your coworkers as soon as possible.

  1. Be a role-model

As we’ve mentioned before, managers and team leaders are often seen as role-models. Your coworkers, employees and office staff will most likely have aspirations for professional development. This means that they will pay close attention to the way you walk, talk and act with those inferior to you (professionally speaking).

Veronica Wright, CEO of ResumesCentre says: “The better the managers are at their own work, the better their employees will be for it”. Make sure to arm everyone with relevant company information, take your position and job description seriously, as well as smile to everyone. Sometimes all it takes is to look in the mirror and ask yourself what “you” are doing wrong instead of looking for a culprit on the office floor.

  1. Voicing concerns

It’s quite common for employees to keep their mouths shut when they have something to say – the prospect of being punished is too much to handle. This means that there is often a lot left unsaid and coworker relations tend to tense and buckle under the pressure.

People that don’t talk to each other will often work poorly together, not to mention the fact that important projects rest on their shoulders. Try implementing a feedback-oriented working environment in your office starting with yourself. There is no better way to break the ice than to simply start from your own experiences, thoughts and fears.

Employees that share common issues, goals and clear the air through professional communication are far more likely to be productive. While it may seem silly for grownup people to share thoughts around the table, clearing the air like this can completely transform your office’s workflow.

  1. Level the playfield

Most office conflicts stem from misunderstandings between employees and management. Managers often forget where they started their career while employees constantly claim their managers doesn’t understand them.

This catch-22 is quite common in the corporate world and is a root cause of poor productivity, low retention rates and a lack of morale. Managers that want to boost their employees’ productivity should work to leveling the playing field between management and employees. Remember you are all employees of the same company – the difference is only in your job description.

If you claim that you are “better” than your staff, it will likely end in a disaster. Pull up a chair, ask your employees how they feel today and ask them if they need help. Chances are that their eyes will widen with disbelief at first, which will lead to a much healthier professional relationship between you.

  1. Showcase and reward

Lastly, it’s important to share in your successes and take responsibility for your failures. The best and most beloved managers know when to reward someone and when to take the blame. Pointing fingers when going gets tough and claiming the rewards when it strikes gold will quickly erode your employees’ morale and productivity.

Be the example that your employees can really look up to and try to reward their productivity in small but significant ways. Even an “employee of the week” system with a collective clap from everyone can drastically brighten the mood.

James Scott, CEO of EssaySupply notes: “Do what you can to make sure that your employees feel important and that they matter to the company. This is the best way to increase productivity and company loyalty across the board. It will not only make your results shine but also put you in good graces with your own manager for the good work you have done.”

 

Long-form empowerment (Conclusion)

Employee empowerment only works if you take definitive action – a long-term commitment with a constant risk of failure. However, being on good terms with the people you work with is worth fighting for.

You will not only bring good results to your company but also create friendships with the people you work with. Being casually professional can work just as being strict and to-the-letter. Make sure to strike a good balance and be there for your employees when they need you.

Tags: empowerment, employee engagement, employee empowerment, loyal employees

Connect by Looking Up

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, May, 29, 2018 @ 16:05 PM

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Thanks to Okta for bringing us Dr. Mae Jemison, Engineer, Physician and Astronaut, as the closing keynote speaker for Oktane18. In addition to being the first black female astronaut, she is principal of the 100-Year Starship Experience because thinking bigger results in greater progress.

 

Following are my notes from her presentation:

  • Pursuing the extraordinary tomorrow, provides a better today.
  • "The future doesn’t just happen, it is created" – William Gibson
  • I was fortunate to grow up at a time when out potential was unlimited.
  • We all have the right to participate and help make decisions in the world
  • Partnerships and collaboration are important -- "Even the sharpest knife can’t cut its own handle."
  • We are creating the future.
  • Maintain a perspective on science, technology, and society because they are interrelated.
  • The problem set we see is constricted by who is involved in solving the problem:
    • Datasets
    • Methods
  • If we don’t have the right people solving the then we’re going to miss something.
  • What we find is what we’re looking for - that's why it's important not to have preconceived notions.
  • Our ambitions color what we do.
    • They affects what we design, code, and do.
  • When they were trying to reach the moon we were trying to reach the village
  • Space exploration has resulted in tremendous leaps forward in technology = GPS, health, earth observations, social media.
    • The same algorithms used to show body in a magnetic field were used for remote sensing of Venus
  • It’s all about people pursuing the extraordinary
  • Let’s try something really difficult . . .interstellar:
    • Requires capabilities in 100 years.
    • It pushes what we know how to do.
    • It requires something fundamentally different than we used to get to the moon with chemical propulsion.
    • Scale of travel to another star.
    • The extreme nature of interstellar hurdles requires something different.
    • Radical leaps in humanity.
    • How do we get people to work together as teams when they are far apart (geographically dispersed workers).
    • The challenges around interstellar travel are not that different than the challenges we face today.
      • An inclusive audacious journey transforms life here on earth and beyond.
    • The pathway to the stars leaves footprints on earth.
  • Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or destroy it.
  • It’s important for us to use our place at the table.
  • We have to do more than we trained for.
  • We have to work with the things that are common for us.
  • "Science has found no remedy for the worst evil of them all – the apathy of human beings." – Helen Keller
  • We have enough knowledge to be able to do incredible things but we don’t.
  • We’d rather spend more on defense than on the education of our children.
  • A major stumbling block is a lack of shared understanding of our connections across time and space.
  • How do we treat the earth in a way that doesn’t affect the environment to maintain our species?
    • With science and technology.
    • With generational activision.
  • For a truly extraordinary future we need a vision that endures across generations.
  • When the noise of things that separate up are louder than ever before.
  • LookUp
    • What is above us, actually unites us.
    • We can see ourselves by looking up.
    • LookUp is a project that asks people to look up and record what they see on August 28, 2018.
  • All the work we do will be for naught if we don’t figure out how we are all connected.
  • Each of us needs to be comfortable in our own skin.
  • Don’t take other people’s issues and make them yours.
  • Some issues are how others see you versus your own perception of yourself.
    • Do not tie yourself to someone else’s stumbling block
  • We’re all connected to the entire universe.
  • Be comfortable being any place with the universe – we need to connect with one another.

 

Tags: empowerment, vision, innovation, inspiration

4 Tenets of Conscious Capitalism

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Jan, 05, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

I just read an interesting interview with Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store and a leader of a growing movement called Conscious Capitalism which teaches business leaders to create shared value by making their companies more successful and competitive while advancing the quality of life for the community and the world.

 

The concept of Conscious Capitalism is consistent with a personal philosophy that I shared with a colleague several years ago -- there's plenty of business for everyone that plays nice and plays by the rules.

 

Sadly, we see a lot of individuals who do neither making a lot of money at the expense of others (i.e., executives at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Bank of America, et.al.).

 

Conscious Capitalism puts purpose before profits with the belief that balancing the needs of all of a business' stakeholders -- employees, customers, suppliers, community and shareholders -- is the right thing to do and will result in a more profitable and successful business.

 

Four businesses that exemplify Conscious Capitalism are The Container Store, Whole Foods, Zappos and Southwest Airlines.  

 

All four of these companies put employees first and focus on providing an outstanding customer experience -- both of which are integral to the second tenet since employees and customers are both key stakeholders.

  1. Higher purpose.  Also known as the "mission" -- the purpose of the company beyond making a profit or dominating a market position.  A compelling sense of purpose can create a high level of engagement by the stakeholders and generate tremendous organizational energy.
     
  2. Stakeholder orientation.  Explicitly managed for the good of all stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, suppliers and the larger communities in which the business participates.  By creating value for all stakeholders, the whole system advances.  Zappos is making a dramatic contribution to their community by significantly revitalizing a "dead" downtown Las Vegas.
     
  3. Conscious leadership.  Management is driven by service to the firm's higher purpose and focuses on delivering value to the stakeholders. Conscious leaders adopt a holistic worldview that goes well beyond the limitations of traditional business.  Enterprises, and individuals, are part of a complex, interdependent and evolving system with multiple constituencies.
     
  4. Conscious culture as captured by the acronym TACTILE.  T = trust.  A = authenticity.  C = caring.  T = transparency.  I = integrity.  L = learning.  E = empowerment.  A conscious culture is very tangible to stakeholders and outside observers.

The result of this is empowered employees who we know work harder, are more creative, care more and are responsible for driving greater customer experiences.

Another result is long-term trusted relationships with suppliers, consistent with The Integrity Chain, which is more profitable for both parties.

Would your company benefit by following the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism?

What is your higher purpose?

If you're interested, you can sign up for the Conscious Capitalism newsletter here.

 

Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: conscious capitalism, empowerment, transparency, integrity, mission