I was listening to a podcast this weekend and it was a panel of leaders discussing how to deal with people who are not connected to your vision. One of them said some really incredible words that I think ring true and apply across all industries.
He said (and this is not a word for word quote) that no one who works for you will have the exact same experiences as you. You cannot expect them to come to work each day and execute the way you do. He stated that you need to humbly realize that everyone’s story is different and based on that story is what they will bring to work, and how they will act. It does not mean they are less then you and it does not mean they are not committing with everything they have.
It is a really interesting way to reflect on people’s behaviours. I worked with someone 20 years ago who used to say “there is no such thing as common sense. Everyone’s common sense is based on what they were taught growing up”. She would describe putting a dish in the microwave to reheat something. If you were brought up to cover it each time, that would be your common sense. But if you were brought up to let things splatter, that would be your common sense.
I am often quoted for saying “no one comes to work to fail each day”. I say this to my leaders when they are frustrated over someone not executing. I use this to try and get them to dig deeper into what is really going on and reflect on what else they can do to help.
All 3 of these concepts can tie into the bigger question “How do we get the best out of the people who work for us?”
Connect People to a Why
People want to know what they do has a bigger purpose and meaning. Help people understand how they directly are making a difference and impacting the people around them. This can be done in many ways, but you need to be clear, honest and consistent with delivering this message. If you only deliver this message sometimes and then when the going gets tough it gets lost, you will lose your peoples faith in what you are saying.
Create a Culture of Trust
Say what you mean. Follow through on what you say. Accept people’s intentions in good faith. Know that people will assume your behaviours are consistent. If you gossip about someone, they will likely assume you will gossip about them. This can be used in a positive way as well though. If you are supportive and have someone’s back, people will assume you will support them and have their back in a similar situation. If people can see that your actions are consistent with your words- integrity- they will assume this behavior will consistently happen in the future as well.
Be Open to New Ways of Executing
You may have a way of doing something. Your way may work for you. That does not mean it is the only way, and it also doesn’t mean it is the right way. The best way for someone to do something is in a way they will actually do. If your way creates stress for an individual in a way that will limit their execution of a task, then how well will it actually get done? On the flip side, if someone executes their way with 100% effort, although it may not get your results, it will get more then your way with limited effort. A completed task always accomplishes more then an incomplete task. Trust that people want to succeed and give them an opportunity to try it their way.