Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Instilling “Ownership” in Your Employees (part 2 of 2)


Managing from the heart is not about being all warm and fuzzy, but creating an environment where individuals excel because there is an Open Heaven and standards in place that are guidelines which lead to success.

These guidelines are, in essence, systems that must be established, maintained and “tweaked” as needed. It does not mean everyone has to be a clone, but rather, each person, using their individual talents and strengths within the structure, helps to meet the demand of a growing business. It is important for a manager to observe each employee’s progress in having ownership.

Of the “Business Plan:”

The purpose of a manager is to put together a staff that has “ownership” of the business plan.  With “ownership,” staff comes to work with one collective purpose, one desire – to work.  Imagine an employee with a “want to” attitude, who actually “wants to” work, “wants to” perform, “wants to” excel, and wants the business to excel.  Imagine an employee who recognizes that his success and the success of the business are intertwined – one.

As in ownership of position, acquiring ownership of the Business Plan necessitates the individual participating in the development of the plan.  Getting and giving input, being open to feedback, agreeing on goals and setting vision, inspires responsibility and accountability.  It’s much more difficult to find fault and blame with my own plan than it is with another’s.

When I take responsibility for creating something it becomes, at least partly, mine.  I am more inclined to respect it, nurture it, take pride in it, and diligently pursue its completion.  When I find fault or problems, I am more inclined to be creative and cooperative with those I need help from.

I have an annual “Business Plan” meeting in which we dissect the plan of the previous year and critique what worked and what didn’t.  Then I let staff create the plan for the upcoming year themselves.  Basically, I only facilitate to make sure everyone is heard and considered.  If the vision appears to settle (if it appears goals and standards are being set too low) I make suggestions and ask questions based on the pervious year’s performance, in a way which implies they may be short changing themselves.  If it appears goals and standards are being set too high, I make suggestions and ask questions which lead them to consider more realistic expectations.

Bottom Line: Staff creates the plan they are going to work and live by for the next year – it’s their plan – they own it and they must take responsibility for it.

Creating the experience by making my office and department a home, establishing and open and honest forum, setting boundaries, abolishing kingdoms and territories, and giving staff ownership of their positions and business plan is the foundation of Open Heaven – a foundation supported by the Four Pillars.

Finally, I must be a mentor of the Four Pillars. I must “be the orange” and exhibit what I preach.  As mentor I must take each employee and demonstrate what I want them to do and how to do it.  Being the example is the best way to train, and observing the example is the best way to learn.

Story # 13             Mentoring Mona

Kyle was the top interviewee as far as dress, interacting and responding to questions from the panel. The decision seemed obvious and Kyle was offered the job.

However, within two months it was apparent he was in over his head and not able to handle the requirements of the position. He also exhibited great difficulty becoming part of the team. After several counseling sessions, I decided we needed to let Kyle go.

Hiring and then firing someone is very expensive from the standpoint of loss of productivity and having to retrain someone else. However, delaying the inevitable is more costly in the long run, especially when it comes to the overall environment of the department.

In every situation opportunities arise which enable other staff members to increase their skill levels. These occasions can easily be missed if you are focused only on the employee who is struggling.

During the few months of dealing with Kyle, I used this process as an opportunity to mentor Mona, who had just added being a supervisor to her responsibilities of Registered Assistant.   Mona and I met regularly to discuss Kyle’s progress, or lack of, and the direction which needed to be taken to best help Kyle assimilate.  It was also a time for her to observe how I handled working with staff members.

First, Mona and I would meet for a “prep meeting” to make sure we were on the same page.  Then we would meet with Kyle to discuss his needs and wants, and how we could assist him in meeting standards.

Mona was instructed not to speak, only observe, at her first meeting with Kyle and me.  Our next meeting, she was instructed not to speak unless I asked her a question.

In our third meeting, she was asked to participate along with us.  In our fourth, she led the meeting and I contributed when appropriate.  Our fifth meeting, she conducted and I only observed.  The sixth meeting, Mona ran by herself without me present.

As mentioned, Mona and I met for “prep” before each meeting with Kyle.  But after each meeting, we also met again for debriefing and critique.  During the critique, Mona would say how she saw the meeting progress and what she considered her strengths and weaknesses.  Then I would share how I thought the meeting went.  I would point out problems and potential stumbling blocks for her to consider.  Then I would make suggestions on how she may improve her style.

Focus was kept on two points: 1) How could we best help Kyle, and 2) How could she best help Kyle?

Basically, Mona listened as I led the meeting, then Mona ran the meeting while I listened, and finally Mona can ran meetings without me there.   The less experience, the less one participates.  The more experience, the more one participates.

Mentoring is advising, guiding another in a way they wish to go.  It is sharing wisdom born of experience.  It is one human being helping another human being grow without having to live through the pain and pitfalls of life.

*              *              *              *              *

Note:  In my last meeting with Kyle, the meeting where I had to let him go, Mona was again present only as an observer.

– excerpt from “The Manager as Orchestra Leader”

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May 4, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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