Whether it is Disney characters singing, “Whistle while you work,” or the Nebraska volleyball team featured in the October 9th Wall Street Journal article, A Team That Digs Deeper to Have Fun, the idea of applying fun to make hard work easier (and more successful) intrigues us all—unless you practice, or are in a culture of, fear-driven leadership.
PLEASE don’t miss the point by being put off by the word “fun.” If it’s more appropriate, use the phrase ”enjoying yourself while working.” The point is that, when people are enjoying themselves, they are not stressed and are more productive.
Remember that The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on. When your team members are focused on what stresses them then they will attract even more of what stresses them – like being behind schedule. When they are focused on enjoying their work, they will attract more of what is enjoyable – like being ahead of schedule.
I once had an attendee at one of my programs report, “When we’re laughing at work, we get into trouble. Our boss thinks we’re goofing off.” That made me sad, especially since not only was she and her co-workers negatively impacted by this, so was that fear-driven boss. He was missing opportunities for his team to increase productivity and lower stress.
More than ever, it’s important to pay attention to the impact of high stress/no fun on productivity WHY?
It’s so simple to allow people to enjoy their work. It requires leadership that is fun-driven as opposed to fear-driven. Asking yourself every day, “How can we make this more fun?” will pay off in ways you cannot fathom. Try it for a week. Just one week. And watch what happens.
By the way, that Nebraska volleyball team I mentioned earlier? Their motto is: Laugh Together, Win Together! In December 2017 they won their FIFTH NCAA title.
To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone call about how you can make your work environment more fun, email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com
This election is over. Throughout the trials and tribulations we continually heard, “Why can’t we talk to each other rather than at each other?
We all crave dialogue. We resist monologue. Let me rephrase that – we resist the monologues of others but love the sound of our own voices.
It’s easier to see the lack of dialogue in the extreme rhetoric of what’s happening politically. It’s more difficult to see that we all engage in some version of this in our own lives.
Because my work is focused on Employee Engagement, I see it most clearly in the work environment. It doesn’t matter whether it’s leaders or front-line workers, we are making more declarative statements than we are asking questions.
The formula for dialogue is simple:
Questions = dialogue
Statements = monologue
In workplace situations, there are great questions to ask that can stimulate some eye-opening dialogue:
These questions have something in common: they can’t be answered “yes” or “no” and so open up a dialogue.
A monologue can feel like an assault. A dialogue is an invitation to participate.
If you’re bone-tired of the divisiveness we’re being subjected to, why not take on the task of improving your corner of the world? Encourage dialogue at work. Heck! Why not try it at home, as well?
Like the old joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time.”
How do you get people to talk with each other? One question at a time.
“Humility is even more pleasing in people in whom arrogance would be understandable.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Two interesting pieces of information came across my computer screen today:
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, humility is defined as follows: freedom from pride or arrogance.
It would be difficult to view an arrogant boss as a partner. We’re more likely to view him/her as someone to fear, or steer clear of. Neither encourages happiness or teamwork.
On the other hand, someone who is free from pride or arrogance is often what we term “approachable” or easy to be around. Each of us carries within us a desire to feel like our boss likes us and is “one of us;” that can only be fulfilled by someone who is humble.
Here are a few clues that your team sees you as someone to fear:
If you’re interested in improving your likability, the best book I know is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
If you’re not interested, consider this: A study conducted by economic researchers at the University of Warwick discovered happiness resulted in a 12% increase in productivity. On the other hand, unhappy workers were 10% less productive.
Besides, not wanting to improve your likebility is pretty arrogant, don’t you think?
In my continuing research on Employee Engagement, I run across some fascinating ideas. Today I want to talk about corporate liberation, a term that is new to me, although the concept is something I’ve been promoting for years.
Coined by two men, Brian Carney, author of Leadership Without Ego; How to Stop Managing and Start Leading, and Isaac Getz, professor of leadership and innovation at ESCP Europe Business School in Paris, France, the concept of corporate liberation has been around for more than half a century and its advocates believe it has been more than proven by real data about the results.
What is corporate liberation?
Getz outlined it in a March 14, 2017 ChangeBoard.com article: “The idea can be stated simply enough: A liberated company allows employees complete freedom and responsibility to take actions that they—not their managers—decide are best for their company’s vision. That doesn’t mean that these firms are unmanaged. On the contrary, the specific actions that we observed in close to one hundred liberated companies prove the opposite.”
In a liberated organization, managers act as coaches and eschew the outdated technique of “command-and-control.” A “kissing cousin” of the process I teach, Socratic Delegation, liberated managers use questions to explore what the workers think is the best approach and then empower them to take action.
Since the Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on, then honoring the expertise of your team in these ways results in a growth of expertise. In a command-and-control environment, the emphasis is on the need for employees to be told what to do. The result is more and more people who don’t bother to think for themselves because really, what’s the point? Disengagement grows; profits do not.
You can well imagine what a difference it would make in Employee Engagement to work at a liberated corporation. Each individual would be much more attentive to their input and output because they would know it’s up to them, not management, to get things done. Although the importance of workers has always been significant, because their value has not been acknowledged as strongly as it could, workers end up disengaged and profits drop. This is not a theory; it’s been proven repeatedly.
“Michelin, the global tire manufacturing giant—with 11, 400 employees-has also embarked on a corporate liberation campaign. In one of its German plants, teams self-direct most activities and managers have transitioned into the role of coaches without formal authority. Operators set their work schedules and their vacations, design and monitor their own performance indicators, do their own maintenance, and are consulted on the choice of new machinery. Michelin is a huge company in a relatively mature industry, but it has still managed to nearly double its free cash flow since 2015, to $1.75 billion in 2017 compared to $979 million in 2015. In 2018, Michelin was ranked the #1 America’s Best Large Employer.”
To paraphrase from the movie Field of Dreams, if you liberate your team, they will grow—their engagement AND your profits.
9/11/2018 – Today, along with millions of Americans, I have been watching footage of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Recurring themes include heroism, people’s inherent kindness to others during times of duress, and going the extra mile.
These attributes are why I have never despaired, “What will become of us?” I know that, deep down we are all connected and want the best for each other, for our country, and for the world.
What does this have to do with employee engagement? Simply this: you needn’t wait for a crisis to practice kindness. You have opportunities all day long, both at work and in your personal life.
At work, striving for an environment where employees look forward to coming to work each day is one of the kindest things you can do for your co-workers, and yourself. Caring enough to ask, “How are you doing? How can I support you?” goes a long way toward allaying any underlying fears your team may have. Fears like: “Am I alone? Does anyone care that I’m struggling? Does my work even matter?”
A sense of belonging is also one of the themes of the 9/11 aftermath. We bonded together as Americans.
We all want to belong. If you doubt this, think back to your High School days.
Work is a place where the opportunity to experience a sense of being included is present every day. More than anything, creating an environment where everyone strongly feels they are an important part of the team ensures a culture of engagement.
While we are remembering 9/11, we also have an eye on Hurricane Florence, scheduled to hit the East Coast soon.
It is comforting to know that neighbors will help neighbors even if they live in different states far away.
Having said that, please don’t wait for a crisis to help your neighbors at work. You don’t know who on your team may be suffering now and need a kind word, a confidence-boosting assignment, or some feedback that will help them to grow.
“Make a difference, not just a living.” – Anonymous
Let’s strive to be every day heroes. No one will make a documentary about it but to those around you, it can make all the difference between an existence of simply marking time or work they look forward to each day.