Used to be that managers could read a book and the contents of that book would serve them well for decades. Not anymore. Did you know it takes anywhere from one to two years for traditional book publishers to publish a manuscript that may have taken as long as three years to write?
That is the reason you see so many e-books in the market today. They are quick and easy to publish. The whole thing can be done in a weekend.
The workplace is changing. The people in it are changing, the values and expectations are changing. How you address on-the-job performance is changing. How you attract, recruit, hire, manage, and even how you react to change is changing. But biggest of all, communication is changing.
It has all changed. This isn’t your father’s workplace anymore. Everything that was once cast in stone is up for discussion now because everything is changing.
But are you?
For the past few years, generational experts have been making money hand over fist delivering learning sessions to organizations because this whole new Gen Y thing took them by surprise. Really? By surprise? The kids you raised and then turned them loose into the marketplace took you by surprise?
It was no surprise. It was because there is a cultural philosophy in your workplace that says once you become a manager, we are going to stop training you. And if we do train you, it will be in the same way we’ve always done it. Until, of course, something surprises us and then we will react to it.
Even the whole “leadership” movement in the workplace today is creating problems. Companies are sending mediocre managers to “leadership” school and hoping that it makes a better workplace. But it doesn’t. In fact, the most recent numbers say that over seventy percent of your workforce is not fully engaged in their work. That means that less than three out of ten of your own employees are fully engaged. Less than three out of ten.
Leadership development of your managers isn’t working. And the more you insist that your managers become leaders, the further away from relevance they get from your employees. Your employees don’t want their managers to be visionaries. Your people want skills-development. They want someone to coach them to a better performance, something tangible that they can use to get ahead.
Look, you’re never going to get people to engage in their work by expecting them to blindly follow their managers. Managers have to earn respect by rolling up their shirt sleeves and coaching each employee’s performance to better results. And truthfully, it’s nearly impossible to feel disengaged from a job you really enjoy and something you are exceptional at. So help your people become exceptional – even if they fight you at first. No one ever really hates being the best at what they do and the recognition that comes with it. They enjoy it. They bask in it. Once they’re really good at their job, engagement follows.
So here’s how you Make It Work!
Job one today and every day is this: find a way to coach each employee to become exceptional at at least one thing. And not the same for each employee either. That just makes them all mediocre. But one small thing for each employee. Give each one an edge in one particular thing. And then recognize them for how well they do at that one thing. Keep on recognizing them by asking them to mentor your other employees at their one thing.
When you’ve got employees mentoring other employees and everyone is mentoring someone else, you have an engaged workforce. And your job as manager, is to manage that mentorship program.
Y’see, you work for them. They don’t work for you. That’s one of the new changes in the workplace – just in case you didn’t get the memo.
Now go Make It Work!