Should Outcomes Overshadow Nurturing in Dealing with Employees?
We want our employees to excel at their work and to have outstanding outcomes.
This is because the success of our business depends on this. On the other hand we need to take the human component into consideration when dealing with our employees. If our people deliver poor results or and are not cared for, it will prevent the entire company from reaching its goals.
This is a tough dilemma: Do we focus strictly on results, or do we create a nurturing environment in which our employees continually develop their skills? If we focus only on the endgame, are we limiting our company by limiting our employees? On the other hand, if we make nurturing our priority, do we risk losing the entire game? Is there time to do both and still stay competitive?
Argument #1: Outcomes should overshadow Nurturing.
No matter how you look at it, those outcomes will make or break your company. You have to keep your eye on the bottom line at all times. You can’t simply assume or hope that you will reach your goals while you are spending the bulk of your time training your people. So, yes, outcomes take priority over nurturing.
Argument #2: Nurturing should overshadow Outcomes.
If your people need coaching or guidance in order to achieve those outcomes, then nurturing should have precedence over reaching those outcomes. If your employees are lacking the training or experience to do what it takes to get results, then as their leader, you have to make that training and/or experience available to them.
The Solution is to do both.
As you notice that your company is not achieving certain outcomes, immediately zero in on where your team members are falling short. It may not be their fault. Have the company’s priorities been made clear to them? If not, call a meeting and go over them. Do your people have the skills needed to reach those outcomes? If not, integrate training sessions into their workday or hold weekend seminars, workshops, etc. I do this all the time with my team.
The goal is to create a “dynamic balance” between educating your people and driving them toward success. In order to fill in skill gaps while your people work toward company objectives, you may need to periodically ease up on certain expectations while your people learn and then pushing them hard once they have mastered those skills. Cracking the whip before they are prepared will accomplish nothing except to trigger frustration on their part and yours.
How do you create a “dynamic balance”?
- Schedule workshops to key in on specific skills needed to achieve those outcomes. During these workshops, spell out exactly which skills you expect your people to excel at so that the business outcomes are achieved. Then teach them through a hands-on approach, so that the skills are easily applicable to their daily tasks. Each team should hold its own workshops so they can really zone in on the skills needed in that team.
- Meet individually with employees who are struggling. It is critical that as a leader you recognise when an employee is trying his or her best but still not meeting standards. This does not mean that this employee is a lost cause. Rather, as most often is the case, that employee may be weak on one or two skills and just needs the opportunity to master them. As CEO, you may personally want to talk with some of these employees to help inspire them to push themselves, especially if they have become discouraged.
- Set individual benchmarks toward achieving desired outcomes. As you meet individually with your struggling team members, devise an individualised training plan for each of them, so that they can sharpen their skills and become a valued and essential member of your team. Then periodically follow up to evaluate their progress.
- Set group benchmarks toward achieving desired outcomes. This can often be done during workshops or small group meetings. Use a PowerPoint presentation or a white board (my favourite) to crystallise these benchmarks for your team members. Also offer practical guidelines to help them integrate these benchmarks into their daily work.
- Be emotionally involved with your team. A true leader takes time to encourage and praise his or her people for their efforts to improve. By doing this, you will transform your employees into a highly-qualified and highly-motivated team with one unified purpose—to work together to make sure that all the business outcomes are nothing but outstanding.
Here are my fire point suggestions/questions for you to take stock –
Is your company falling short of its desired goals? Do you suspect that some of your team members may be holding your company back because they lack key skills?
What are ways that you can create a “dynamic balance” so that you can both enhance your team’s capabilities and ensure that your company’s outcomes are achieved?
Recommended read – The One Minute Manager – By Kenneth Blanchard
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