Great Leaders Do These Four Things

Eventually, with most of my clients, we get around to the topic of non-cash motivators. Everybody has to watch the cash-flow, for sure. Plus we all know that after a while it isn’t about the money anymore. Once you’ve started paying enough to make food, clothing, and shelter a non-issue it becomes more about those things higher up Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Plus, you want your employees to be happy, to bond, and to work as  team, right? So we should all go out to paintball, or a ropes course, or just do something fun together. Because cheaper than paying somebody a decent wage, and not a waste of time at all.


Happy Employees Are Not Productive Employees

Happy employees do not make productive employees. Productive employees make happy employees. So here are my 4 quick suggestions for making productive, happy employees. Unless you’re running a metaphorical day-care for your extended family. Then feel free to ignore me.

Fire the Creeps and Bums

Firing a non-productive or anti-social (in the destructive sense) member of a team actually increases the team’s productivity by 30 to 40%. Do the math. That means that on a team size of 4, getting rid of the troll the productivity stays the same or gets better and your payroll drops by a quarter. That’s just the break-even point. On a larger team then you’re making money by getting rid of the bully / degenerate  because of the bump to productivity. If they’re at the managerial or executive level your ROI is even higher.

Why are you keeping them around again?

Celebrate Success

If you’re going to throw a party, BBQ, go-cart race, or day at the pistol range (yes, a real-life example) to do some team-building then make it about a specific business accomplishment. Tie the celebration to specific goals, targets, and tangible, actionable company priorities. Just like good one-on-one, feedback is specific and actionable. So to should be the communication at a company party.

“Hey, we opened a new office in that other city, woohoo! Next quarter we’re going to cut costs by 10% without laying anybody off. If we can do that we’ll have another party! Woohoo!” It’s good communication, another thing that most bosses don’t do well enough.

Make It Easy To Do The Job

This is an example of the KISS principle in action: Keep It Simple, Stupid. By the way, the “Stupid” in KISS does not represent the employee. It’s a reminder to us bosses to keep things straight-forward, clear, and do-able. Otherwise we’re being simple-minded.

There is nothing worse than trying to do a good job and not being able to  because there are too many rules, contradictory directions and guidance, processes and procedures, moving parts, and forms that nobody could ever do it right no matter how hard they try – and then getting in trouble for it.

Clear, simple direction give rise to intelligent, complex behaviour. Complex direction gives rise to stupid, simple behaviour.

Give Specific Feedback

This is the guidance that I started writing this week`s post about. The most effective non-monetary impact you can have on any of your employees is specific, actionable feedback that they can use to get better at their jobs.

This means that you might actually have to pull your head out of your  email and pay attention to your employees. Observe their behaviour. Take notes. Ask questions about their aspirations and career goals. Give guidance. Be a leader.

Most times when somebody leaves it’s not really about the money, even if that’s what they tell you in the exit interview. Employees mostly leave because their immediate supervisor is a poo-poo head. They’ll stay for less money if they know that somebody at work cares about them, and they can do their best every day. They’ll mostly get from their direct supervisor, or not. But it’s too late by the time they’re walking out the door.

Do you have a problem with employee turnover? Then see rule #1 “Fire the Creeps and Bums”. Take a close look at those at the top of the company first. Look at your middle managers second.  There`s an old Turkish saying:

“The fish stinks from the head down”

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