No ostriches, no elephants
Best of times or worst of times, leadership begins with honestly understanding what employees are feeling, then honoring those concerns with consistent, direct communications. But to motivate people, words need to become action. As we head into the upturn and the expanding job market that will go with it, leaders would do well to focus their efforts around four critical qualities.
First transparency: In our case, during the downturn, I made a point of having town halls in which employees were encouraged to ask me any question, with all questions and all answers posted on the web. In turn, leaders at other levels are expected to deal with people's questions with equal candor. No ostriches. No elephants.
Appreciation, also critical. I always make it a point to thank people, and in that spirit, we've told our leaders be sure to let our best employees know just how much they are valued, especially during tough times.
Respect: Another form of recognition. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all jobs and inflexible hours. Today's worker expects to be treated as an individual, and will tend to stay longer in a job built for his or her unique needs. Such flexibility is challenging for a large organization but we're building it into the way we develop our people. It definitely makes employees think twice about leaving.
Finally, honesty: As the upturn approaches, people need to know that, as the economy improves, the rewards will come. Honestly having this conversation during tough times will make your position more credible as conditions improve. But then the organization truly needs to deliver, matching rewards with the strength of the economy.
In short, in good times or tough times, people are motivated when they feel leaders share their goals and see the same picture. No ostriches. No elephants. No hidden agenda.
Posted by: woodscw | January 6, 2010 5:53 AM
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