Motivation and Support Part 3 — Troubled, Demotivated Employee
Here are some tips I have found to be useful in motivating and supporting team members and staff, which result in substantial increases in performance, productivity and creativity. Imagine giving a piece of work to a Direct Report and knowing that you can forget about it, that not only will it be done, but no follow up is necessary.
Here is another High-Performance Management technique for managing staff that are:
At some stage in our careers, this tends to happen to us all, most of the time we pull out of it. In this case, I am not talking about someone who may be depressed, that will be the subject of a separate Blog.
I have encountered staff on more occasions than I can remember in one of these three states. The underlying causes are either personal or professional problems. I use the same technique for both as at the outset; I don’t know which is the cause.
I call the staff member in and have a conversation as follows.
“Come in, please sit down, I have something to say to you, and I would appreciate you hearing me out before making any comments. I have noticed that you are unhappy at the moment, and that is bothering me greatly. You are clearly dissatisfied with work just now, and I can see that your morale is low. I don’t know what the cause is, but my approach to situations like this is that I am the cause, the problem is me. I have failed to sufficiently support and motivate you in some way, perhaps the work I have asked you to do is not challenging enough, or I have failed to adequately explain what it is I would like you or the team to undertake.
You don’t have to make any comments about this just now unless you want to. I fact I would prefer you didn’t, but instead come back and see me tomorrow and let me know what you think. Tomorrow I want to talk about what I can do, let’s talk about training, a new job, different work, let’s talk about how you see things, what your needs are. If the issue is a personal one, let’s talk about that. Whatever happens, please accept that the real problem is me; somehow, I am failing to support you in some way.”
Let’s catch-up at 10.00 tomorrow morning.
What happens next is that the person concerned digests that I see the problem as being me; this is a surprise to them. However, it nearly always allows them to come back and be very open and honest about what is really troubling them, be it personal or professional. This creates a context for an honest conversation. The usual causes I have found are:
- Their job role, they are a square peg in a round hole, their current job does not match their job aspirations.
- They are not handling change well, they see their peers doing well, and this is creating anxiety for them as they don’t think they are capable of changing.
- There is a personal problem.
- They are having difficulty understanding what it is I want of them.
At the beginning of the follow-up meeting, I start by saying that I have been thinking about our next catch-up, and I think the issue could be one of the causes I just outlined. I then pass the conversation over to them.
You need to in my view correct whatever the issue is, you can’t brush it aside, High-Performance Management uses the Transformational management style, that is, it puts people first. The risk is that your approach to solving situations like this is that you use the Traditional management style (created in the 1800’s), where people are viewed as units of labour. I’m sure you are not like that.
I have only ever been unsuccessful with this approach once. I put in considerable time and effort to try and turn around one chap (which is my job to do so) but failed. He ended up leaving, which distressed me. To this day I still wonder what was bothering this chap, I have never gotten over it.
So, the approach is that you are the problem, not the staff member. Meet once, outline what you have observed, state it’s your fault, let them go away and think about it, then meet again with suggestions and more importantly, hear them out. I believe that as managers, we are responsible for the health and well-being of our staff; this includes their job satisfaction and morale. We create the work conditions, and therefore we need to take responsibility for a person’s reactions to those conditions.
Originally published at https://www.russellfutcher.com on August 24, 2020.