It is surprising how many employees leave their brains and their hearts at the door when they come to work. Sometimes this is because they have learned that management just wants people to do what they are told. Or, it may be the result of work overload sapping their energy. Whatever the cause, with 70% of the workforce not engaged, there’s a lot of this going around, isn’t there?
We talk about how to make people happy at work, how to engage our people, and there’s so much written that we might see the forest without noticing the trees.
The very best leaders do one critical thing differently than their peers: they implement a strategy of Inclusion.
We all love being part of the action, as participants at the very beginnings of decision-making discussions, and in being able to use our knowledge and skills to initiate as well as taking part in planning change and improvements that we help implement. This is a freedom that managers must infuse into the culture, so that it becomes known to all that this is how things work throughout the organization. When we are asked to and enabled to apply ourselves in this way, most of us become excited about our jobs.
There is a book I read years ago that is still, today, a key component in customized supervisory development programs we provide to clients, “Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment”, by William Byham with Jeff Cox. This book reminds me of Columbo, in that it can be easy to underestimate the power, the transformational impact leaders can have on their organizations by acting on its principles. This book, written as a fable, is short, fun to read, easy to understand, and simple to put into action.
The following five steps, as provided by Byham and Cox, help leaders to make lots of proven management theory actionable.
- Maintain and enhance self-esteem.
- Listen and respond with empathy.
- Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale.
- Ask for help and encourage involvement.
- The soul of Zapp: Provide support without removing responsibility for action.
In our experience, leaders who apply these simple principles authentically and daily, throughout the organization, meet and exceed their strategic goals, while enabling their people to re-energize themselves and to find greater fulfillment in their work.
Implement Zapp!, along with additional action to enable people to connect their work to the company’s competitive differentiation strategy, and see how far you can take your organization!