Great places to work are a WONDERland of productivity, collaboration, innovation, and success. The leaders of these great workplaces W.I.N. every day. In my last post, I talked about great leaders taking the time to WONDER what will make this a great place to work and what type of employees do they need to do that. Once the climate is established and the right people are in place, great leaders take the next step in the W.I.N. formula, they IGNITE the passions of each employee.
In the month of July, we celebrated the independence of America and a large part of that celebration is fireworks. Fireworks are typically ignited by a lit fuse that leads to the explosive in the firework. Just as the firework is packed with explosives, employees are packed with motivations and passion, great leaders know how to IGNITE motivation and passion in employees. They ignite in 3 ways: they tell the story of “why”, they understand the “where” of the individual and they know “what” the big deal is.
The story of “why”: Do you remember being a kid and asking why questions like, “Why do I have to go?” “Why do I have to clean my room?”… If you asked these questions to your parents, many times the response would be the proverbial “because I said so.” Now as an adult imagine asking your manager the question of “Why is this task important,” and their response being “because I said so.” How long are you going to want to work for that person? My guess would be not for very long. Great leaders have the ability to tell the story of why your job is important to the strategy of the company. When employees can connect the importance of their task/job/responsibilities to the strategy of the company, they are more likely to become corporate citizens and advocates for the cause.
Great leaders understand “where” their employees are: Every employee is at a different level of skill, ability, and motivation when it comes to the individual tasks of their job. Great leaders have the ability to identify what each employee needs in terms of support, feedback, and motivation. Have you ever purchased an item that claimed to be one size fits all? The truth is there is no way to make an item that fits every shape and size of a person, the same holds true for leadership. Someone who is new to a position or task is going to need an entirely different type of leadership and support than a more seasoned employee. When leaders can meet employees where they are, they are more likely to keep them engaged and motivated to grow their skills.
Leaders know “what the big deal” is to each employee: Some employees require some personal attention, such as a hello in the morning or a thank you every now and then. Some employees need to know the reasons for a change. Some employees want to know the step by step process before they feel comfortable while some employees want the freedom to brainstorm first.
If you’re actively working in time to WONDER about your employees (the 1st step in the W.I.N. Formula) then you likely have a sense of what ignites them. To take it one step further, referencing a person’s Emergenetics Profile I immediately know their preferred methods for thinking and behaving… and I can tailor my interactions with them accordingly. For example, if the person I am working with has a preference for Conceptual thinking then I know I need to provide the big picture before diving into the specific tasks that I expect them to do. And if their behaviors are in the third-third of Expressiveness (especially if they also have a preference for Social style of thinking), then I can likely expect some discussion and brainstorming on the topic and will need to schedule some extra time for that. Whereas if they are in the first-third of expressiveness then they’ll likely want to process the information on their own and come back to me with questions at a later point.
To the average leader, these needs may be overlooked, but great leaders understand that incorporating these little details in their leadership styles to their employees is a big deal to many of them. Great leaders understand the varying “languages” of their employees and make the necessary adjustments when necessary to connect with their employees.
To create a winning organization and W.I.N. your employees, strive to IGNITE their hearts, minds, and motivations.