Seven keys to get your employees to own their job
Include them in the decision-making process. Psychology teaches us people are more apt to follow through on decisions they make versus decisions you make for them. When you roll out new policies or drastic changes in processes, expect resistance because inherently most people do not like change. If possible, before summarily making high impact decisions, have a meeting to discuss the new outcome you are working to attain. Ask them to suggest how best they can make it happen. You may be pleasantly surprised at the suggestions those in the trenches are able to offer. The exercise of co-creating a new process or even policy will increase commitment because people own what they create.
Give people clearly defined expectations. Without having clarity on what they are responsible for, your team members may have a difficult time ‘owning’. I have seen huge international corporations miss in this area. Giving someone a “role” does not necessarily solidify the expectation. Here is a super simplified example but you can apply this psychology to any role. You can tell your customer service reps their job is to make sure customers are served. They may do just that. However, if you define the expectation as, ‘Your job is to ensure every customer you encounter not only leaves satisfied but has an outstanding memorable experience with you.’ Now you have given them something they can own.
Resist the urge to micromanage. Give them guidelines and be clear on the results you seek. Once they understand the “what” allows them to determine the “how”. Do not punish everyone because one or two people need to be told how to do it, have a separate conversation with those people. Most people will live up to higher expectations when you empower them and show you believe in them. You want to foster ownership not compliance.
Stay in touch. Checking in with your team members on a consistent basis creates accountability, which fuels ownership. Set up regular meetings to allow them to tell you their progress and challenges. Use this time to reinforce the expectation and determine where they need support. Your people should know you are there to help them succeed.
Stop creating dependents. The mark of outstanding leadership is when your team can function seamlessly when you go on a two-week vacation. Many managers want their team to depend on them. Therefore, they hold back on information and micromanage, however this is the antithesis of true leadership. Replicate yourself in your team, show faith in them and they will not only take ownership of their job, but their performance will also make you look good.
Praise them often. Look for reasons to let them know they are doing a great job, and praise them for their contribution to the team. One of the seven universal needs of human beings is to feel significance. They will keep doing the thing that helps fill that need. Being lavish in praise will give you the leverage to stretch them to greater performance.
Ownership is an intrinsic value that may need to be built into some of your team members. If you are struggling with employees who seem to only be interested in getting a check and you are dealing with a limited talent pool, you may need to put real focus into helping them to develop ownership.
If you need support, feel free to contact me.
• Kim Welcome is the country’s leading communications trainer/coach/speaker. She is the go-to for top-tier organizations looking to transform the soft-skills of their client-facing and leadership teams. With 15-plus years as a consultant, she also coaches individual professionals who want to strengthen their personal brand, increase visibility and advance their careers. She draws from her BA in communications, professional background in marketing and sales, training as a voice actor and experience as a singer to help her clients to communicate skillfully, intentionally and effectively. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 242-436-3385.