Management Skills – Helping Employees to Understand the Bigger Picture

We know from research that employees want to ‘connect their efforts to the mission and purpose of your business’. In short, I guess, they want an answer to the question – ‘why am I doing this?’

The mistake I see business owners and managers making is assuming that the answer to that question is obvious. Well maybe it should be, but often it just ain’t. Helping your employees to see the bigger picture is a key management skill that pays real dividends

One way to help employees to see how their efforts contribute to their organisation’s success is to show them why and how achieving their performance objectives are crucial to that success. Here are some ideas on how to do this.

Let’s begin with the objectives that relate to the quantifiable parts of the job – the numbers element.  There’s a simple process you can use to frame the conversation:

Management Skills: Communicating quantifiable objectives

WHAT – the objective is
WHY – it’s important

Here’s how this might sound for the objective ‘Submit the month end statistics within 3 days of the month end.’

 Jac, I’d like to have a conversation with you about the month end statistics, just to get some clarity around what’s needed. You need to complete and submit the statistics within 3 days of the month end and I want to agree that with you as a performance objective. The stats have to be submitted to the accountants by the 4th of the month because we use the stats to make our financial decisions for the rest of the month which means your statistics are really important. Are you clear that we need you to meet this deadline and why? 

So, simple descriptions of the what and why and a quick check that they are clear.

Management Skills: Communicating behavioral objectives

When you are communicating behavioral objectives it’s always a good idea to explain the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ and to associate the ‘why and how’ with a business need. This is because most people can relate to doing something new or differently when they can see it’s to improve business performance. It just makes more sense to them.

So it’s about explaining WHY – why we need the new behaviors and HOW the new behaviors are going to meet the business needs.

Here’s an example of how these principles could apply to behavioral objective for ‘Teamwork.’
 

WHY

  • Major challenges facing the business – in the current economic climate we’ve got to retain more clients
  • Challenge to us – to improve our efficiency in servicing our clients so they stay with us.

HOW the new behaviors are going to meet the business needs
 

  • If we work better as team we’ll improve our efficiency and client satisfaction
  • Working better as a team should improve our job satisfaction.

In short, if we work better as a team we’ll keep more clients and enjoy work more!

Here’s an example of how that might sound

Hi Jamal. I want to have a chat with you about the way we are currently working together as a team and to explore how we might improve    this. As I’m sure you know we’ve got some big challenges facing us as a business including increasing our client retention rates. It seems to me that if we can improve the way we work together as a team we can improve our efficiency so that we improve the service we give to our clients, and so improve retention.  As a start point I think we need to understand what effective team work looks like in practice and I want now to share with you the performance objectives I’ve got here…

Summary

It’s all about helping the employee see the importance of their work to the success of the business – to answer the question ‘why am I doing this?’
 

Would you like to see more examples of ‘Classic Management Mistakes’? Then check out my special report ‘Boost your business performance through effective people management’ which includes ‘The 5 classic mistakes that could be getting in the way of ‘effective management’ (and what to do about them)’ Grab a copy now at http://www.boostemployeeperformance.com

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