A great company is driven by great people. It really is that simple. Often, when we think of the type of employees we want, we look for those who will get the job done - but really it is not about that at all. As the marketing guru Seth Godin claims, we do not want ‘cogs’, we want ‘linchpins’.
Linchpins are artists - those who strive to be different and continuously out do themselves. They are the ones who create and keep creating. They are not cogs who simply take instruction and complete tasks on time, they go one step further. They take risks, great risks.
I specialise in delivering talent management workshops. Over the last few years, I have delivered several workshops to managers in business who understand the importance of people. Behind every great employee is a great manager, and I would also argue that behind every great manager is a great employee.
There are three techniques that all managers can use to encourage, understand and lift their employees. The first is about the importance of deep, active, engaged listening (the type of listening the involves shutting off your own inner thoughts) and also the importance of asking powerful questions. It is crucial to have a coach approach to managing rather than being a 'telling' and forceful manager or business owner. The concept of ‘ask, don’t tell’ can seem quite daunting at first, but in reality it allows your employees to take responsibility.
The second is about goal-setting with your staff and using the simple yet profound GROW model developed by the renowned Sir John Whitmore - Goal, Reality, Opportunities/Options, Will. When using this model you address where the employee wants to go first, step them into the future as if the goal is complete and then work backwards. What did they do to get there? Then address the current reality and what they need to change to get to their end goal. The next step is about exploring all the opportunities and options. This is about creating possibility for your employee.And lastly, do they have the will to get this done? What will they do exactly? When will they get it done? What will it be like?
Lastly, it is crucial to understandthe language your employees use. What type of learner are they – visual, auditory or kinesthetic? Then, feed them back their own language when motivating or trying to speak to them. It is also about understanding the way they understand and interpret the world. This is an art that takes practice.
As business leaders, we often believe that our actions represent us, and they do. However, your employees are the people who represent you as well, and your business. Great people have the ability to drive great business, and it is up to you to show them how it’s done.
Quinn Simpson is managing director of Prove My Concept