Exit… “The Golden Rule”: Treat others how you want to be treated.
Enter… “The Platinum Rule”: Treat others how they want to be treated.
Yes, it requires actually looking beyond our own self-centredness, and learning what’s truly important to the people we work with, and serve.
Here’s a way to do this – It’s a framework I work with …
- A sense of purpose/meaningful work/contribution:
Help your people connect the dots between the mission of the organisation, the people they serve, and their own personal “why”. The organisation and it’s people don’t have to have the same “why”, they just need to be aligned. In my experience this leads to people naturally doing the right thing, to a high standard, wanting to learn and grow, and investing discretionary effort. Alignment eliminates the need for approximately 90% of the work and cost that goes into things like incentives, command and control efforts, performance management, and loss of good talent. Most people aren’t really clear on their “why”, and may need a little help to go beyond the superficial. It’s worth the effort.
- Perceived progress, learning and growth:
Understand how your team members define “progress” in a way that’s meaningful to them. Work with them to create their own trajectory, and encourage and empower them to take responsibility for and control of their own growth, learning and development.
- Perceived control:
None of us like feeling dictated to, or that we don’t have a choice. Give people freedom to move and make decisions within appropriate boundaries and context. Yes, there will always be prescribed ways to do things to ensure safety, efficiency and consistency. But, where there’s room to move and for your people to bring themselves and their own strengths, talents and personality to the table – encourage it. If they want to challenge the status quo or see opportunities for improvement – make it easy for them to contribute, and acknowledge it. Educate them on how to do this.
- A sense of connectedness and belonging:
We all like to feel that we belong somewhere, and that we’re accepted for who we are. We want to work where our strengths, talents, and uniqueness is more than tolerated – it’s celebrated. We relish the opportunity to be ourselves and to have a voice, while feeling part of something much bigger than ourselves, and serving others. That’s one reason why peer and team rewards and awards tend to work so much better than individual. None of this is possible without “trust”.
Yes, you can buy an employee engagement “fix” or “hit” by shelling out additional benefits and bonuses, by throwing a few colourful bean bags around, and a pool table – but long term gain, and genuine engagement costs much less.
More than anything else, it requires that you genuinely care, and that you treat people as they want to be treated. If you’re not sure what that is for them… perhaps you could ask.
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By Lisa McCarthy: CEO & Founder at oAi. Email email@example.com