• Shayne Leslie

“People are our greatest asset”: How do your employees make or break you?

How do your employees make or break you?

To get the job done may take that extra bit of effort.

That extra effort may require time, or learning a new skill, or reaching out to others. Effort usually is tied into personal sacrifice and discomfort in small or large ways.

How much will it break you that your workforce won’t put in the extra effort? When they don’t see a small personal sacrifice is worth it?

The cost to an organisation in which employees are unmotivated can be enormous; staff turnover, lost productivity, low morale.

It doesn’t have to be a large group. Just one or two employees, especially if they are in senior positions, can influence the entire mood of your workplace. Working alongside selfish independents will exhaust the spirit of motivated team members very quickly.

If it is not recognised and managed, business will never be as productive or as profitable as it could be.

As leaders, we are becoming increasingly reliant on the creativity of others, especially people younger than ourselves. More than ever, the solutions of yesterday will not work tomorrow.

Creative environments flourish where there is a mood of safety, respect between staff and management, and risk taking and support. It could be argued that there needs to be a light-heartedness in the workplace with a serious and selfless side.

The organisational culture must value getting the job done for the benefit of workmates and the business, and because the employee will know they will be recognised for extra efforts.

Where to start to improve your team’s motivation?

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.

Change starts with yourself. It is the easiest – and toughest – place to start.

When my business wasn’t realising its potential a few years ago, growth didn’t happen when I blamed industry politics, competitors, and a lack of capital. Business went backwards.

My business started to flourish after I changed the way I led myself.

I adjusted my purpose, improved my emotional intelligence, built stronger and more useful networks, and motivated myself to take that extra effort to get the job done.

It wasn’t easy, and I would still like to sleep in most days. But I had to change to grow.

If you google ‘organisational change’ you’ll receive the shopping list of things you could do to begin the difficult journey of turning people’s motivation and productivity around in your business.

I rephrased them here as a personal checklist because it starts with you. Asking these changes of yourself, you realise what a mammoth task organisational change can be, and why it needs to be led from the top.

As a leader, how much will your personal change affect your team?

The answer is: a lot.

  • Am I communicating?

  • Am I communicating in my natural style or in the style to which my employee will best respond?

  • Have I written things down clearly, like the rules of the organisation, the dos and don’ts, instructions, the organisation’s vision, and strategy… that kind of thing?

  • Do I hold myself accountable to the things I say and write down? How do I appraise myself?

  • How do I manage my own motivation and discipline?

  • Have I got favourites in the workplace? Have I got targets? How does that reflect in my body language? My tone of voice?

  • Do I make decisions and act to benefit myself? Or others? For the future? Or for now?

  • How do I say, thanks?

  • Do I train to improve my leadership fitness?

  • Would I hire me for my job?

  • Where do I want to be in 5 years? How am I getting there?

Start to live the change, and put yourself in a significant position to lead the change you want to see in the workplace. Then ask those same questions of your workforce.

And thrive.

Shayne Leslie | shayne@integratedgovernance.com.au


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