The Top 10 Reasons Why Employers Don’t Get What They Want From Their Employees
- They are unable or unwilling to clearly articulate expectations and requirements.
It takes time to produce understandings. We often fail to recognize the connection between problems and unclear goals, expectations, or requirements. To paraphrase the oil filter commercial, given the choice of paying now…taking the time up front to insure understandings, or paying later…cleaning up the messes that get produced by misunderstandings, leaders often unconsciously opt for paying later.
- They are unable or unwilling to generate buy-in to their vision for the enterprise and the values that they stand for as leaders.
Buy-in is created by giving employees an opportunity to contribute to the enterprise vision that includes a dialogue for generating alignment between the personal vision of the employee and that of the enterprise. Values are communicated most powerfully by what leaders do and pay attention to rather than what they say.
- They are unable or unwilling to give employees a clear line of site to the external customer.
The vast majority of employees want to make a difference and do the right thing. They must have some first hand customer interaction to understand requirements and develop a connection between their tasks and the creation of customer delight.
- They make a poor selection of people in the hiring and/or promotion process.
The best performers possess a level of thinking and learning skills, preferences for work content, and a temperament that match the requirements of the job.These can be determined and used to screen candidates for the job, but selection is often based on gut feelings and snap judgments rather than relevant facts.
- They do not create and enforce high standards.
Employees must not only know what is expected, they must have a picture of what an outstanding outcome looks like and have their performance held to a consistently high standard. The importance of leader modeling as a way of engraving the standards in employee’s minds and hearts cannot be over-emphasized.
- They don’t use coaching, appraisal, and recognition effectively.
Leaders must be committed partners in helping employees win, always knowing what the score is, and recognizing outstanding performance in ways that are meaningful to the employee.
- They do not recognize the need for ongoing employee and team development.
Leaders must recognize development as a process that involves definition of job related business success behaviors and on-the-job coaching to become proficient in those behaviors rather than simply a time out to attend a training event of questionable relevance to business results.
- They don’t listen.
Active, empathic, “contextual” listening is far from being a cliché. It is a crucial source of information for the leader about work process dysfunction and worker job mismatch. For the employee, the experience of “being listened to” contributes to the creation of meaning and a sense of being valued in the workplace.
- They don’t trust their workers.
Leaders display mistrust, often unconsciously, in a variety of ways. They may fail to delegate, act punitively without knowledge of the facts or context, or speak in a way that is heard as condescending.
- They don’t share the score.
One of the great paradoxes of the workplace is that the leaders of the organization, who know the least about how the work gets done, get to see the financial scorecard. Conversely, the workers, who know the most about how the work gets done, rarely see the financial score and if they do, don’t understand its meaning and relevance to their work.