Machine efficiency and communication efficiency for workers is not just a question of saving time with short, sweet, and to the point conversations. Worker satisfaction and good performance is also a function of how well they get along with other team members and the team leader if it is a team effort. Developing good interactions between team members and leaders takes time and much empathetic friendly interactions as part of the actual work being done. Developing empathetic friendly relationships takes time and it really means short duration time inefficiency to get long duration relationship efficiency in the entire organization.
Develop a goal(s) or mission statement which the organization has which motivates workers to promote the mission because it means that it is a worthwhile value based cause which will maintain a desirable good reputation for the organization.
“Best products and/or services and excellent customer care which leads to satisfied repeat customers” is one example of a mission statement which few organizations can actually fulfill realistically.
“Sustainable products and/or services and great customer care” is another mission statement for innovative companies which may not have the best products on the market yet.
Visionary statements for the organization are also useful which summarize the general goal(s). Here are a few examples for nonprofit organizations:
The Nature Conservancy: Our vision is to leave a sustainable world for future generations.
Ducks Unlimited is wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
WWF: We seek to save a planet, a world of life. Reconciling the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth…
San Diego Zoo: To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.
Get feedback on your vision from employees on a regular basis and ask employees to interact with customers to get feedback on how good the products and services are for them and whether they are helping to promote the vision.
Core values can be written down but you can also have many more written down for reviewing once in a while.
Bright Horizons Family Solutions states its core values as Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and Teamwork.
Some of Zappos ten core values are more vague or open ended and are for example: embrace and drive change, pursue growth and learning, create fun and a little weirdness, and embrace and drive change.
Integrity, honesty, sincerity, dependability, competence, trustworthiness, friendliness, empathy, and satisfied happy customers should be the high priority values which should be promoted by an organization and they are basically unchangeable from year to year.
There may be leadership priorities which change from year to year dealing with expansion plans and new products and/or services but other than that your mission statement or statements and company values should not change from year to year but should be company standards to be followed on a yearly basis.
A perennial priority is how to increase the efficiency of the organization. This means evaluating the quality of the staff and products, trying to increase revenue, cutting costs, and increasing customer satisfaction. Without priority number one or increasing customer satisfaction no revenue will increase, cutting costs may demoralize the workforce, and there won’t be any money left over to improve the quality of the products and/or services being offered.
Technology is the way to go in cost cutting but if this means losing good interaction with the customer and turning it into an impersonal numbers game of big data or unreliable statistics then the company will fail in the long duration.
Establishing empathy with the workforce is time consuming and may seem inefficient unnecessary conversation. The truth is that a workforce will become more connected, cooperative, and motivated to do well if the leadership takes time out to know some personal goals and opinions of workers who will then feel more important in the organization and feel that their contributions really matter. Empathizing with the workforce minimizes the possibility that the workforce will be demoralized and makes them feel that they are more than just a replaceable cog in the organization.
As a leader of a meeting you should always keep these things in mind and act appropriately:
Assign responsibilities to workers which they can competently fulfill on their own or with the help of other staff members.
Focus intently on each conversation and actively participate if necessary with questions or by getting feedback.
Complimenting for work well done sometimes in the presence of others should dominate the occasional need to criticize in private for work not well done.
Acknowledge humans in a meeting, sometimes by name, so that they don’t feel left out.
Try to sense another’s good or bad emotions and react accordingly.
Say you’re sorry or apologize if it is your mistake.
Make improvement suggestions in private if possible since it is a form of sometimes embarrassing criticism.
Ask for action and try to keep ordering, commands, or demands for emergency situations only.
Be dependable and try to answer emails, phone calls, text messages within 24 hours.
Treat humans as partners and try not to ignore or talk down to them.
Negotiate with a win win attitude for both sides rather than a win only mindset for one side.
Offer active help sometimes in the form of suggestions or tools for workers at work and even outside of work which will improve their performance.
Monitor progress with guidelines rather than strict rules and controls, or don’t micromanage and destroy a necessary sense of autonomy.
Plan social time were workers can connect with each other and sometimes the leadership too.
Greet humans that you see first thing in the morning to avoid being rude.
Offer help or sympathy in times of illness or death of relatives.
Compliments show appreciation but it can also be done with affirmations, one on one quality time, giving help when needed, giving privileges and rewards, and rare pats on the back or appropriate physical gestures such as smiles and thumbs up.
Introduce humans with affirming statements which means adding something good about them other than just using name alone in the introduction.
Keep in touch with your workers by occasional surprise visits to them and find out how they are doing and if they have anything to complain about. Leaders isolated or stuck in an ivory tower leading an organization means inevitable communications breakdown which is bad for the company or organization in the long duration.
As a team leader don’t just focus on your star workers or performers but give others a chance to prove or show themselves to be competent workers too.
Tone of voice, especially the angry or unsatisfied kind and connecting first before delivering content is important or you risk placing workers in a defensive unreceptive mood.
When someone does something for you then a minimum thank you should always follow.
My colleague is always preferable to calling someone your employee or one of my people.
Seeking and sharing the ideas and opinions of others is vital in honest organization knowledge interactions and instead of confidential secrecy the source of the opinions and ideas should be acknowledged and not plagiarized or stolen:
Actively listen and sometimes rephrase the content in your own words to verify that you are not misunderstanding the communication.
Don’t interrupt a speaking human unless the speaking is becoming incoherent or is wandering off the topic being discussed.
Being brief, sweet, and to the point is preferable but there are some humans who need an expanded response with a real life example, an anecdote, or short story for clear understanding.
Sharing past experiences, especially relevant mistakes makes for more connected trusting relationships because humans empathize with others who share their imperfections with you and don’t assume or try to demonstrate an air of unrealistic infallible perfection.
A request for critical actions should be in writing as often as possible with a checklist of things to be done in the proper order if possible. Clarity is essential with critical things and nothing clarifies better than the written word which speaking alone can’t accomplish without misunderstandings developing largely because of bad listening or forgetfulness.
Before offering impulsive improvements on someone’s idea take some time to reflect or think about it, especially if you are not that certain that your improvement is really a better way of doing things with a proven historical track record.
Strong relationships often mean more frequent communications so be sure to stay in touch regularly with important humans in the organization.
Keep humans who should care informed about new developments that you become aware of so that important personnel are not kept in the dark too long.
Don’t ruin trusting honest relationships by attacking anyone who disagrees with you. Rather calmly ask for reasons why they disagree and whether they have a better alternative which will work. After hearing them out you can still disagree with their proposition(s) and thank them for their important input.
In a group or one on one, after sharing your vision or ideas and opinions and why you think they will work, ask for other ideas and/or opinions from others and encourage contributions or feedback from volunteering members. Team effort means that each member should have the courage to speak up and be acknowledged for their input if they chose to do so, especially if it is different and hopefully better than what the team leader or any member plans to do. Some team members will respond better one on one with their ideas and opinions so provide that luxury as necessary.
Open ended question and answer periods can be encouraged and some time can be set aside after the mass meetings for a question and answer period or it can be done in private through emails or social media.
Post event feedback can also be done to find out or analyze what went well, what went wrong, and how a future event can be improved upon.
Task and relationship excellence are two distinct areas of expertise. Managers and team leaders need to have good emotional intelligence or relationship excellence and most employees or organizational members must focus primarily on task excellence and relationships may not play a dominant role in their working lives with the organization. For managers and team leaders the following are important communication skills:
Social skills are good for networking and developing casual acquaintances with occasional potential of becoming future strong relationships. Relationships are more important in an organization because it means a closer connection with key members of the organization who should be loyal members interested in promoting the success of organizational goals and should as much as possible be members whom you can rely upon in times of need and personal indecisiveness. More intimate joys and pain can be shared with good relationships and the deeper connections make for the achievement of sustainable superior performance.
Commitment, courage, and perseverance are necessary in developing and maintaining deep relationships because frankly not everyone is as interested in relationship excellence as you might personally be. Some humans just naturally have a tendency to spurn your efforts at connecting at a deeper level and rejection is not something which most humans can live through without feeling frustrated, disappointed, and wanting to abandon further contact.
According to one study connection seems to start to break down if membership exceeds about 150 humans so keep this in mind when designing organizational structures which you hope will operate at optimum connective efficiency. Just as in personal relationships fewer friends means more intimacy and many friends usually translates into many acquaintances and not many true friends. Prioritize the time you spend with key members of the organization depending on their relative importance to the organization and their relative importance to you personally also.
A group directory guide can be helpful which lists the responsibilities, strengths, expertise, and interests outside the group. This way you can quickly review a group member which you may be contacting in the immediate future and not have to start from scratch getting acquainted with them and wasting valuable mutual time.
Chronic stress is a relationship disconnector so learn to manage yours better if you feel you have it.
Not everyone in an organization needs to be a servant leader or one who coordinates task excellence, facilitates connections between members, and is a model and mentor for others in character strengths and virtues. In general the more such leadership members an organization has the more prosperous or better off it should be.
Hire for competence and character and conduct interviews with serious candidates with more than one interviewer present and hopefully someone who will have direct authority over them or perhaps even a key fellow employee with whom they will be working. What work did you like the best, what kind of work did you excel in, what kind of work didn’t you like, what kind of work were you most proud of, and what are your long duration goals are just some of the character probing questions which should be asked along with competence determining questions.
Provide the tools and training necessary for success on the job and if this sounds like an apprenticeship program then that is a close analogy. Of course hiring someone with all the tools and training necessary is the best policy and is a reason why experience is so important but even the best candidates will still need some on the job tools and training after joining a new organization or business.
Just compensation should be provided and details discussed prior to hiring and repeated without major changes after the hiring is complete and at any time after the hiring.
Knowing your team’s strengths and vulnerabilities is important and standardized personality and/or competence tests can be given or independent private companies can be hired which make the important evaluations for you.
What is of major importance is listing desirable personality characteristics and prioritizing them in order of importance for the specific members of a business or organization which you are leading. If an organization can’t prioritize personality characteristics then much time will be wasted on trying to inspire or change characteristics which minimally impact organizational cohesion.
For example, empathy, good listening and polite interruption skills are very important for charitable or welfare worker characteristics but not that important for skilled technological experts working in relative seclusion from other employees. A shitty social personality may actually not be a major drawback for a technical expert to whom relationship excellence is not that important a factor in determining job performance excellence.
Finally the special layout or floor design of an organization can have considerable effect on promoting cohesion within an organization. Randomly isolating all members in prison like cubicles is not promoting cohesive social or relationship interaction.
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