Over 10 years ago, Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization published First Break All the Rules, What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Their extensive research suggested that the best business leaders and their managers are those that build a work environment where the employees answer yes to these 12 Questions:

Do I know what is expected of me at work?
Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
At work, do my opinions seem to count?
Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
Do I have a best friend at work?
In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?

How many of your key direct reports would answer all yes? How many nines or is it just six? How would your manager’s direct reports respond if given the opportunity?

Think about what you need to do to improve your “fun to come to work” quotient in creating a better, more cohesive work environment.

Late last year, I wrote about weekly, monthly or at the very least quarterly structured one-to-one’s with your direct reports that enables them to keep you abreast of their deliverables. In doing so, you then have the opportunity to spend time with your best employee’s, praising, nurturing and guiding them to take on more responsibility, accountability and authority.

When this transfer or delegation takes place your plate gets smaller freeing you to focus on strategy and vision. Buckingham encouraged leaders to spend time with your best people and provide constant feedback. If you can’t or won’t spend an hour every quarter talking to an employee, then you shouldn’t be a manager, team leader, president or CEO of a small to mid-sized company.

I’ll harp on performance contracts again suggesting you mutually agree to the right outcomes, not steps. Standardize the end but not the means and encourage or mentor your employees to use his or her own style to create their own steps to deliver the result or outcome you want.

In a recent post late last year, Who’s in YOUR Wallet, I shared the Aptitude x Attitude = Success. So during your one-to-one’s and your MBWA (management by walking around) study the best managers in your company and revise your training focus to incorporate what they know.

Send your talented people to learn new skills or knowledge.

Change recruiting practices to hire for talent, revise employee job descriptions and qualifications.

Buckingham and Coffman explain how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience; how they set expectations for him or her — they define the right outcomes rather than the right steps; how they motivate people — they build on each person’s unique strengths rather than trying to fix his weaknesses.

“There’s Nothing Like a Good Old Fashion Recession To Make You Run A Business Better!’
Millard Drexler; CEO JCrew

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