- Are your employees clear as to what your expectations for performance are?
- Do your employees know what the non-negotiable attitudes and behaviors are that are expected of all team members (yourself included)?
- Do your employees know what the consequences are if they do not meet these expectations?
- Are they certain you will take action, one way or the other, depending upon how they choose to perform?
- Have you clearly drawn your "leadership line-in-the-sand"?
If you didn't answer "Yes" to every one of the above questions, you have some communicating to do. You see, if your employees aren't clear as to what standards, values, and attitudes you expect them to perform to and demonstrate, you're causing them to guess. Or, by default, you're allowing them to continue to under-perform or demonstrate behaviors that you believe are "inappropriate." You continue to be frustrated with them, and they continue to underperform! This vicious cycle is your fault, it's not theirs. You've not clearly drawn your "leadership line-in-the-sand."
I recently talked with a senior manager who was describing how his team is learning where his leadership line is. He's been managing this particular team for about one year. During that time, he gathered data on production, attendance, billable hours, overtime, etc. As a result, he has hard data on who is working hard and who is "getting by." Over the past several weeks, he's communicated his "leadership line in the sand" on work hours, overtime, production standards, etc., needed to best meet their customers' needs. He also clearly stated he wanted the workload to be more evenly spread across all team members. As a result, the employees who were already working 20+ hours of overtime a week to meet the customers' needs, were intrigued. However, the few employees who had had attendance issues and had not been performing to these clearly defined standards soon started to identify the ramifications of being on one side of his leadership line or the other.
An underperforming employee asked the manager, "So you want to ensure the work is more evenly distributed." "Yep," replied the manager, "That's right."
"I agree it should be evenly distributed.... But that'll mean I'll have to work 3 more hours a week." "Yep."
"But I'll have to change my commuting schedule." "Yep."
"But this is going to be more work for me!" "Yep."
"So,... could I like lose my job if I don't work the additional hours?" "Yep."
Which side of the leadership line will the underperforming employee choose? It's his choice. Now that he knows where the line is, he can choose.
Where's your "leadership line in the sand?"
Copyright MMXII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about me on LinkedIn!