Do skilled people really underperform because they lack commitment? I don't believe this is true at all. All human beings have some innate drives:
- We all want our lives and our work to matter and mean something;
- We all want to belong to a family, tribe or team;
- We all want the respect that comes from being effective and competent;
- We all want the self-respect that comes from performing well and the mastery of a skill or discipline.
Skilled people underperform because they have become disengaged. Why do they disengage?
Primarily people become disengaged when:
- They are not working at something that interests them, are good at and which makes a difference in the organisation, and they are not having the experience of achieving mastery in their field.
- They feel irrelevant and unimportant – their work doesn’t matter to their manager, the team or the organisation;
- They receive no or minimal recognition when they do well or improve;
- They experience constant obstacles and getting the work done is an endless uphill battle;
- There is no sense of team – the team doesn’t meet, talk, pull together, problem solve together. In fact, people probably work against each other in the competition for their own survival;
- Make sure they are doing work that interests them, in which they can gain some mastery and which matters to the business.
- Give them regular feedback about what they are doing well, how they are improving and the positive impact that is having on the business.
- Take responsibility for removing obstacles that are above their pay grade. There are some things that only you can do - and you must do them.
- Pull the team together. Make sure the team meets regularly to talk about:
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What have we actually achieved?
- What are we doing well?
- What are we not doing so well?
- What have we learned?
- What do we still need to do / do differently?
learning opportunities. Know their strengths and make sure that a meaningful proportion of their work plays to
This keeps the team focused on its deliverables, keeps individuals focused on their own contribution, and ensures that the team is constantly learning.
After 5 years of research The Gallup Organisation were able to offer twelve key questions that you should ask your team members to ascertain how engaged or disengaged they are and why:
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?
- At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
- At work, do your opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
- Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
- Do you have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
- In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
When you’ve gathered the information, summarise the conclusions and decide what changes you need to make or catalyze in order to address the issues that you have uncovered.
If these circumstances resonate with you and you would like to influence change in your team by developing as a leader, go here to find out more about how I work and what you will achieve from working with me.