Tag Archives: teamwork

What Would the World Be Like if We All Loved Our Jobs?

When you wake up in the morning, are you filled with excitement about the prospect of a new day at work, or do you dread the thought of having to make it through yet another day of drudgery? A great question which we will often answer in the negative! But what would it be like in the positive? Asked and answered by one of Inc’s finest, author and futurist Jacob Morgan @JacobM.

What Would the World Be Like if We All Loved Our Jobs?

If you’re like much of the population, you fall into the latter category and disdain going to work. Surveys have found that only 13% of people around the world actually like going to work–an astoundingly low number.

Low employee engagement can lead to a number of problems, including low office morale, physical ailments, and emotional disorders. Employees who don’t like their jobs, especially when they work together, tend to feed off each other, which can cause distress in many other areas of an employee’s life and lead to more sickness and familial problems.

What would the world be like if we all loved our jobs? Think of the power of that question. To start, the emotional and physical problems from having to spend hours a day in an unsupportive environment would go away or be mitigated. People would likely be much happier and spread that happiness to their personal lives. Think of the potential of what problems society could work together to overcome. With a world of engaged employees who are excited about what they are doing, we could solve some of the world’s biggest problems and bring people together in new ways.

There are a number of reasons people dread going to work: it could be that the work itself isn’t challenging or engaging, the management is difficult to work with, the pay and benefits are lower than the employee would want, co-workers are difficult, the culture isn’t a good match, and many other reasons. And while we may not be able to create a world where every single person loves his or her job, each company can work towards creating that environment in their own office. Imagine what could happen with a full team of engaged and passionate employees–goals and success would likely be higher than ever. Every person deserves to work for an organization that they feel deserves their time and attention to be there.

In order to create this ideal environment, management needs to be on the same page with employees. The right to love your job doesn’t arrive once you hit a certain level or get a promotion–employees at all levels should be excited to come to work. Start a dialogue with honest conversations about what employees like and dislike about their work environment. For some organizations, this happens through town hall meetings or performance reviews, while others use anonymous surveys. Those results can point leadership in the starting direction. If a majority of employees feel unengaged because of the physical office space, management knows that one of its first steps should be reevaluating the office and perhaps creating something that better meets the needs of employees.

Creating an engaged environment isn’t a one-time thing, however. The best companies keep the conversation going and involve employees in the entire process. Constantly asking employees about their ideas for the future and their thoughts on the progress of the company gives leaders at all levels a metric of how their efforts are playing out. Being flexible and listening to employee feedback creates a cohesive environment where people are happy, engaged, and productive.

Everyone around the world deserves to wake up excited to go to work, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. While we can’t control what is happening other places, we can focus on what we can control: our own attitudes and the environment in our organization. By putting a bigger emphasis on employee happiness and engagement, organisations can reach new levels of productivity and success.

UNEXPECTED HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL LEADERS

insanely-successful-leaders

If you’ve been following Marcel Schwantes, Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core (@MarcelSchwantes) for a while, you’ll have noticed humility is one of his favorite leadership traits to write about; This time for Inc.

But because this word has different effects on different people, it’s often misunderstood. Some interpret it as having a lack of self-confidence or being timid–traits too soft to survive in the harshness of business life. Far from the truth.

The word first struck me in the context of leadership when Jim Collins mentioned it in his seminal book Good to Great.

Collins examined 1,435 “good” companies, and out of the masses he discovered 11 unique companies that became “great.” The insanely successful leaders at those 11 companies were known for directing their ego away from themselves to the larger goal of leading their company to greatness.

Collins found these leaders had a paradoxical mix of intense professional will and extreme personal humility. They are described as modest, with a determination to create results by shifting the focus away from themselves and continually recognizing the contributions of others.

Bruna Martinuzzi, president of Clarion Enterprises and author of The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow, observes these five habits in leaders who practice humility:

1. Stop talking.

Allow the other person to be in the limelight. There is something very liberating in this strategy.

2. Three magical words.

Use these words for better results than a week’s worth of executive coaching with me (or anyone else, for that matter): “You are right.”

3. Catch yourself.

If you slip into preaching or telling others what to do without permission, think again. Is imposing your point of view overtaking discretion? Is your correction of others reflective of your own needs?

4. Seek input from peers.

Wondering how you are doing on your leadership path? Ask. It takes humility to say “How am I doing?” And even more humility to consider the answer.

5. Set an example.

There’s no better way to encourage the practice of humility in your circle than by practicing it yourself. Every time you share credit for successes with others, you reinforce the ethos.

Parting thoughts.

Interesting things happen when we apply the humble approach. It opens us up to possibilities. We choose open-mindedness and curiosity over protecting our point of view. We become more willing to learn from what others have to offer. We forget about being perfect and better enjoy being in the moment. It also improves relationships, reduces anxiety, and enhances one’s self-confidence.

There’s clear competitive advantage in mastering humility.

read more at inc.com

Company Runs Without Managers

Fascinating article by Inc’s David Burkus. Holocracy, Does it work in practice? (read more at inc.com)

managers meeting

To most business professionals, the idea of  firing your managers sounds insane. However some of the most successful companies do in fact run manager-less, while others have found ways to push some of the management function down to the level of those who are being managed. In either case, more and more leaders are discovering that employees are most productive and engaged when they control their own destiny.

Employees at Valve Software don’t have to take orders from ‘the boss.’ That’s because, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company, there are no bosses to give orders.

As I write about in Under New Management, Valve is a company with no managers. They don’t believe in managers, or job descriptions. When new people join the company, they rotate around on various projects, talk to lots of people, and then decide which project (or projects) to jump into full-time.

Valve isn’t just a small handful of programmers working in a garage either. The company was founded in 1996 by Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell. The company grew organically and quickly based on the success of its critically acclaimed game series Half-Life. The company has grown dramatically from the original partnership to more than 400 people.

Ordinarily, that type of growth would require a fairly rigid hierarchy to manage everyone and keep them working in the right direction. But Harrington and Newell chose to ignore the traditional structure and to build something that would allow innovative and talented people to thrive.

In fact, what Valve employees work on changes so much each day that every employee’s desk is equipped with wheels and organized such that only two cords need to be unplugged before it can be rolled to wherever it’s needed in the shop.

There are lots of people, however, to tell them what they could do. Since Valve has no managers, all projects are started by an individual employee or a group pitching an idea and then recruiting a team. If enough people join the group, the project starts. Sometimes an individual employee is referred to as the ‘leader’ for a project, but everyone knows that this simply means that this person is keeping track of all of the information and organizing what’s being done — not giving orders.

There are also lots of people to tell employees how they’re doing. Valve may not have managers, but it does have a performance management system in place. A designated set of employees interview everyone in the company and ask who they’ve worked with since the last peer review session. They ask about their experiences working with each person. That feedback is collected and anonymized, and then every employee is given a report on their peers’ experiences working with them.

Valve also empowers all of its employees to make hiring decisions, which it describes as “the most important thing in the universe.” Valve attributes the success of its organizational design to hiring the smartest, most innovative, and most talented people it can find. The company’s handbook reminds employees, “Any time you interview a potential hire, you need to ask yourself not only if they’re talented or collaborative but also if they’re capable of literally running this company, because they will be.”

The leaders of companies like Valve have discovered something that researchers have known for decades: when individuals feel free to determine what they’re working on or how they work, they’re more motivated, more loyal and more productive. While Valve’s almost free-form structure may not be ideal for every company, the lessons learned here about improved productivity and engagement are of use to all.

read more at inc.com