I have just finished reading a great book on Employee Engagement – ‘Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work’ by a gentleman called Paul Marciano. Crazy stuff! Of course they work – offer them a carrot and if they don’t want it, give them a sound flogging with a stick. Makes perfect sense to me. In my day you didn’t get offered the carrot, you just got an old fashioned flogging to set you up for the week ahead and look how I turned out (twitch, twitch). The more I read, the more I understand that there is a vast array of opinions on this subject, this employee engagement business, opinions that overlap even while varying considerably. I’ve found some good stuff in this book and I’d like to share a little bit and see what you all think.
So Mr Marciano thinks the answer to this engagement equation is a sum of respect. Take a moment to think about someone you have worked with and who you really respect. Were you prepared to go the extra mile, happy to put in that discretionary effort? Who was your favorite boss and why? I mean, what were the characteristics that made them such a great person to work with and for?
Something I respect in a boss is when I know the person is listening – that they are genuinely interested, not just well rehearsed in management techniques. They’re open to other people’s ideas, and respect my ideas and experience. Are you genuinely interested in your staff? If you’re unsure, take the 5 minute coffee test I posted last week, that will give you a starter to think about how well you know your employees and colleagues and how well you listen, which is one of the most important characteristics of a great manager/leader. (Coffee Engagement To-do) .
Marciano says that in the perfect job you will feel respect in 5 key areas. There is respect:
- For your organisation
- For your leader
- For your team mates
- For the work you do, and
- From your leader and team mates.
Sounds almost too good to be true. All the planets align and you have found Nirvana. Marciano says it’s this respect that leads an individual to engage and be happy to achieve the goals of the organisation – of their team.
Your Organisation – Do you respect it?
Are you a true blue company person? Are you proud to say, “I work for XXX company”? Why? No, really, why? Do you feel aligned with your company’s visions, behaviours and goals? What is it that drives your commitment?
If you’re a true blue company guy or gal, then you probably have a keen eye on the level and quality of service your company delivers and you’re proud of it. Go on, admit it, it gives you a real kick. What makes me feel good is my company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and what a positive impact we can and do have on communities. And when it’s all said and done, I want to be part of an organisation that is open and transparent, that has integrity. What does your company do well, what does it do better than anyone else in the market. Be proud of it. Have some respect for the fact you are leading in whatever field/discipline it is.
“Find those areas in which your organisation excels relative to others and advertise it to your employees to boost their sense of pride and respect.” (Paul Marciano, Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, 2010)
Our Leadership, your Boss
What is it about your manager you respect? Do they have an amazing work ethic, are they highly competent technically, are they really empathetic, and are they innovative, flexible? What is it? What is their X factor?
When I am describing my perfect manager, they are going to be a fair person who you can trust. You know that they genuinely care about your welfare. As they sit there chatting to you, building rapport, both eyes are on you, not one on the clock and one on their mental to do list.
And you know what, for me, even after all this, they must add to their attributes the study and practise of being positive. A negative supervisor who denigrates the company, the team or individuals is not worthy of your respect and is unlikely to procure it.
Your Team Mates
What about your team? Do you feel part of a cohesive unit, a winning team? Do you marvel at their capability, their collective competence, their cooperation and my alliteration? Are they open and honest and do they all pull their weight individually as well as a team?
Marciano says one of the great ways to develop respect amongst team members, and frankly I agree, is by encouraging them to get to know each other. Team building exercises that include a bit of understanding someone’s background are great revelations to all that often open eyes to points of interest and sometimes commonalities that help form bonds. In a bonded team everyone lifts their game because they want to be respected and no one wants to let their mate down.
The Work you Do
So what’s that like? Is it challenging, rewarding and interesting? Yes I know, sometimes its pretty routine, but News Flash, sometimes life’s pretty routine. We’re not all part of One Direction, or for the older of you, The Beatles or Rolling Stones. But you know what, you should expect moments (as a minimum) of challenge and engagement in the tasks you do.
Do you feel like your doing something worthwhile, making a contribution?
Some ways to help people respect the work they do include:
- Not only giving people tasks they are good at, or perhaps the best at, but letting them know that you trust them to deliver and that’s why you’re giving them the task,
- Asking them to cross train others (demonstrating respect for their competency), and
- Taking time to explain why a task is important and where it fits into organisational or project goals.
And What about You?
Do you feel like the boss respects you? Like your company respects you? And what about your team – is your head held high – are they aware of what a top person you are – do they respect you?
What is it that makes an employee feel respected? According to Marciano it’s seven key things:
- Recognition – feeling acknowledged and appreciated for your contribution
- Empowerment – being provided with the tools, resources and training to succeed
- Supportive Feedback – receiving timely, specific feedback in a supportive, sincere and constructive manner
- Partnering – being treated as a business partner and being allowed to actively collaborate in business decisions
- Expectations – having your goals, objectives and business priorities clearly articulated
- Consideration – working in an environment where consideration, caring and thoughtfulness toward one another are commonplace and expected
- Trust – knowing you’re trusted and management has confidence in employees’ skills and abilities.
Holy smoke, I am exhausted just writing all that, let alone thinking about creating an environment that fosters all that respect. But, wow, if you’ve got all that, you should be paying your company to let you come to work. Marciano feels that if you feel respect in 5/5 of the key areas I mentioned up top, then you will be entirely engaged. But fact is – well I reckon at least – feeling great respect in any one area can result in engagement. If you respect your team mates and they respect you, then undoubtedly your focus will be on working toward collective success, whatever the targets and challenges are.
I enjoyed reading Paul Marciano’s book, ‘Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work’. If you’re interested in a more in-depth read on this subject then grab this book.