“Leadership is the ability to put the right people in the right jobs and then sit on the sidelines and be a rousing good cheerleader.” – Anonymous
Recently, a client of mine said, “Why can’t my staff seem to figure out how to motivate themselves? I have 6 office employees, and none work as hard as I do.” I know we all need to get it out of our system, so I let the venting happen for a bit. Then, it’s time to get down to asking the tough questions.
As a leader, how are you showing up to help motivate your team? Are you doing more work than them because you are doing their work instead of your own work?
In this situation, I shared the following ideas to help my client feel less frustrated and improve the workload in the office.
1. Identify if you are the problem.
If you were promoted through the ranks, it can be far more comfortable doing the task because that’s what got you into the leadership role. However, a leader gets the work done by motivating the team members to complete the tasks. Of course, an employee will let you do the job if you want to. Allow the staff to do what they have been hired to do.
2. Align the work with the best person to do it.
Some employees love to work on spreadsheets while others love to answer the phone. Allow staff to shine by using their strengths when possible. Find out what they like, what they do well, and where they have opportunities to grow. Use the delegated tasks to help them feel like they are contributing. And, for those tasks that no one likes, divide the workload so no one person feels it’s all on them.
3. Define all aspects of the expectations.
As leaders, we are thinking about the next task even before we have finished delegating the current task. This skill set ensures things are done on time; however, it also causes us to rush through the explanation of the expectations. When delegating a task, cover each detail of the expectation. Include specifics such as where it needs to be done, what needs to be done, when the due date is for the task, how it needs to be done if there isn’t flexibility, and why it is important for the department to complete it. Then confirm the employee has heard and understood the expectations.
4. Follow up.
Sometimes people forget details. Follow up with an initial email to reinforce the expectations. If the task is something that would take a week, schedule check-ins and send follow-up emails periodically. For example, send a check-in email a day or so after you delegated it to ensure the employee has the resources necessary to complete the task. Send another follow-up email two days before the due date to remind them of the due date and to see if they are on track to achieve the task on time. After they are done with the task, send a final email thanking them for the efforts and highlighting a specific area that they handled well.
While there are more steps to being a good leader, the ones above will help you build motivation amongst your team and create an environment where everyone knows you are there to support their growth.
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