- Posted by J. Nirdosh Reddy
- On July 28, 2017
Getting ordinary people (the vast majority of employees) to deliver extraordinary results should be one of the most important goals of any enterprise. And it can be done!
Good Management – Art or Science?
How we motivate people is a topic that has been discussed for ages. So, why are we still talking about it? Because, while we have known the answers, there have been difficulties in implementing them. Until now, good management has been considered to be an art. As new concepts of management evolve, it is becoming a science.
Managers were trained to organize the workplace for efficient functioning. They were taught to manage their employees. Managers felt that they needed to control their subordinates and were afraid that if they didn’t control them there would be chaos. So, control they did, and while doing so, created numerous conflicts. Countless hours and energies were spent on managing those conflicts. We heard many horror stories of supervisors taking credit for the ideas of their subordinates (to save their skin and look good to their bosses). Some supervisors came out like heroes while their employees felt cheated out of their ideas. Under such a scenario, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to motivate employees to perform to the best of their abilities. Under these conditions employees tend to do the least they can get away with. So much of human potential is unutilized or underutilized. The system creates a few winners and a whole bunch of losers!
In spite of all this, great managers succeeded in overcoming the deficiencies in the system and motivating their employees to outperform their competitors. Their charisma and style could not be easily taught, and hence remained as an art.
Now, we know that there is a scientific and better way to manage. We now know that results come from processes. Therefore, instead of managing tasks and controlling people, managers who manage processes and involve their employees in improving those processes achieve better results. Those who are willing to let go of their belief that they need to control people succeed in empowering their subordinates to perform at higher levels. There is absolutely no risk of chaos. Publicly recognizing the contributions of team members motivates them to do even better. You create a winning environment where work becomes a joy, and employees can’t wait to get to work. You win because your results are better; your employees win because their self-esteem is better. You create a win-win situation.
Good management is emerging as a science – repeatable, reproducible and teachable.
Change performance appraisal parameters
Remember that your supervisors do what they are measured on – if they are measured on personal, individual tasks, they try to achieve their objectives any which way; if they are measured on improvements made to the processes assigned to them, they would involve their subordinates to improve those processes. The supervisor wins and the employees win.
When coupled with proper education, training and guidance, the change in your appraisal parameters brings in the desired changes in the behavior of supervisors.
Dr. W. Edwards Deming says in one of his 14 obligations of management that the aim of management should be to help people to do a better job, not control people.
What can you do to unleash the potential of your employees?
In the book ‘American Icon: Alan Mulally and the fight to save Ford Motor Company’,
Bryce G. Hoffman writes – ‘His first employee quit after Mulally kept redoing all of his work and showing him his mistakes. The young boss realized that his job was not to show his subordinates how much smarter he was than they were, but to bring them up to his level. It was a valuable lesson, and one he never forgot.’
Here are a few things you can do to tap into the underutilized potential of your employees:
- Adopt the six guiding principles of business process management
- Create a holistic mindset – One company mindset (Breakdown barriers between departments)
- Involve your employees in improving your processes
- Create ownership of their processes
- Empower your employees to express their ideas
- Train and cross-train
- Nurture pride in work
- Remove fear of failure
- Allow freedom in trying out their ideas
- Celebrate successes – big and small
- Revamp your performance appraisal system to incorporate the above
When you do the above, ordinary people will deliver extra-ordinary results!
I would like to hear from you. Please let me know your thoughts.