Contributed by Wes Escondo, Campus Director Globe University – Eau Claire
For decades, the concept of management has remained relatively intact. It’s actually quite simple, oversee a group function in a way that drives maximum effort and production. Historically, if systems were enacted to provide structure to our efforts, we believed we could perform well.
Today, we see a generation of employees who yearn less for the iron clad fist of management and more for balance of heart and mind. I call this management the “Decision at the Door.” Everyday employees walk into their places of employment and consciously or sub-consciously decide if it’s going to be a 45% day, a 65% day, or perhaps a 90% day. Each day, employees are already determining the limits of their efforts before they have even walked through the door. Blame it on culture or generation, it is happening. As leaders, we can’t curb the cultural evolution of employees but rather understand it. We can create value- building management systems that cause employees to make a pro-active decision to work more 90% days than 45% days.
Why the shift in effort mentality?
Eric Konsela, Dean of Students at Globe University in Eau Claire believes it to be the shift in how the world communicates. “In both the adult and traditional aged student population” Konsela said, “it is taking people much sooner to determine value. Even in simple buying decisions, you can find reviews in a matter of seconds using any online search engine.”
It is the social norm of instant gratification that allows employees to make snap judgments regarding their functional capacity.
Build Value in Relationships
To get more 90% days out of your employees, there needs to be a visible importance in the relationships that exist within the organization. Build value in the relationships that exist and the ones that have yet to be built. As social beings, people want to know how they fit into the organization’s big picture. Employees want to know that there are relationships available that will enhance their skills as well as hold them accountable when expectations are not met.
The “Whys” Behind It
Historically, any conversation around the importance of expectations has been viewed as a negative confrontation. Managers too often correlate the “whys” conversation to a notion that the employee must not be committed to a level of high performance. The best cultures communicate often, and communicating the “whys” only strengthens a winning culture. Like negative feedback, employees will look at it through the eyes of a victim or the scope of an analyst. A victim will struggle to move forward and is more concerned with the fear of accountability. The analyst, however will be grateful to have been afforded information that will now aid in developing additional skills. Going over the “whys” is a great exercise to develop more analysts.
The Decision at the Door really comes down to how much value employees see in their managers and in their organizations. While we can’t directly control how our employees view us, we can lead in a way that continually shapes the value in their efforts. We can manage the balance of heart and mind to draw out commitment versus compliance to their roles and responsibilities.