If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.
- Steve Jobs
As the founder and former CEO of Apple points out in the quote above, the more passion that exists in the individual or group, the increased effort that will be displayed for task innovation and completion. Within an organizational setting, what are the components, outside of salary, that lead team members to devote extended time and effort towards advancing the service or product? Here are the three that I believe make a difference within the success and productivity of an organization.
Overcommunicate – The leader of the team or organization must repeat the company beliefs, values, vision, goals, and any other ultra important information that will increase team member buy-in. When the group is on the same page and has an increased understanding of purpose, the organization will prosper and innovate. Reiterating the beliefs, values, vision, and goals during meetings, phone calls, emails, and personal interactions provide a clear message that allows the group to function in a cohesive manner working towards a common objective.
Empower – As team members have to increase decision making responsibility due to today’s fast-pace work environment, the need to have empowered employees has become a necessity. According to Allen (2016), in order to feel fully empowered an individual must:
- have a sense of real meaning in one’s work.
- possess a sense of making an impact through the contribution you make at work.
- feel competent about the capacity to complete work.
- have a sense of freedom to make choices that effect the work experience.
A few specific leader behaviors that promote empowered team members are delegation, self-driven decision making, information sharing, training for greater competency, encouraging feedback, and mentorship. The leader must challenge team members so they can demonstrate and achieve their full potential. This empowering process also requires the leader to trust team members through the process of setting parameters with project flexibility. As the level of responsibility for the individual increases over time, the leader is able to provide more meaningful opportunities for personal empowerment.
An environment that promotes mentorship relationships supports empowered employees. Learning and developing in a caring organizational mentor/mentee culture will multiply the effectiveness of the group. Read more about the mentorship process at this Educated Coaches article: Learning Through Mentorship on the Athletic Field.
Accountability – The effectiveness of an organization increases when team members are accountable for their own decisions, work, and results (Folkman, 2014). Staub (2005), defines accountability as doing the right thing consistently, day in and day out, in tasks and relationship interactions to fulfill or further the mission of the organization. Accountability increases when employees are in control of the what, when, and how of a decision. As people feel like their voice is heard, their investment in their work increases far more than when they’re being told what to do and exactly how to do it .
Leadership behaviors have a significant impact on employee accountability. According to Folkman (2014), exceptional leaders are able to drive high personal accountability through the following actions:
- Drive for clearly defined results and let them have a fair amount of control on how the results are delivered.
- Honesty and Integrity – Be open and direct with team members.
- Build trust through positive relationships, knowledge, and consistency.
- Provide clear vision and direction.
- Teach people the skills and make absolutely sure they know how to do the job you expect.
- Effective communication – especially listening.
- Institute change in an organization by accepting feedback, taking on challenges, innovating, spreading optimism, showing concern, and setting clear goals.
- Collaborate and Resolve Conflict – Teams who collaborate and are cooperative are far more successful than those who compete.
The organization that can create an environment where the leaders overcommunicate, empower others, and hold team members accountable has the possibility to establish an employee culture that promotes extended time and effort towards task completion and innovation. Through the above described proactive leadership behaviors, the expectation should be for leaders to work together with organization team members to provide a meaningful work experience.
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Allan, D. (February, 2016). Leadership empowerment: What is it and how do you do it? Retrieved from: http://www.evancarmichael.com/library/dave-allan/Leadership-empowerment–what-is-it-and-how-do-you-do-it.html
Folkman, J. (November, 2014). The ‘8 great’ accountability skills for business success. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joefolkman/2014/11/14/how-do-you-score-the-8-great-accountability-skills-for-business-success/#2d500a224820
Staub, R. (January, 2005). Accountability and its role in the workplace. Retrieved from: http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/2005/01/17/smallb3.html