It’s funny, every once in a while I find myself in similar conversations with different executives. Each starts in a different place, but the underlying issues are all the same.
A core issue has come up. It’s actually one that concerns me deeply.
“Do we have enough confidence and trust in our people to let them do their jobs?”
Let me unpack this just a little. To be able to answer that question with a resounding, “Absolutely, without a doubt,” we have to be clear about a number of things.
First, do we have the right people in the job? Do they have the right mindsets, behaviors, values, attitudes? Do they have the right skills, competencies?
Do they understand the priorities, goals, mission, strategies of the organization? Do they understand how we hold the customer and the types of customer experiences we create? Do they understand our value proposition and how we create value with the customer?
Next, do they know what their jobs are? We actually neglect this terribly. We hire someone, saying, “Your title is this…….[fill in your favorite job title]….” and we expect them to know immediately what their jobs are. Even if they’ve held a job with a similar title in another organization, their job is probably different. We have to be very clear, “What does it mean to be a front line sales manager in this company?”
Related to the previous point, do they understand the expectations? This is both the performance expectations, but understanding the why and what for the job. How do they fit in to the overall mission and strategy of the organization.
Do they know how to do the job? This isn’t a static issue, it always changes, so we have to make sure we are coaching them and continuing to develop the skills to do the job.
Included in the how to do the job, do they understand the interrelated work flow, roles and responsibilities. We can only be successful if we work well within the team. Who are the people they depend on to do their jobs? Who are the people that depend on them? How do we effectively work together?
Have we provided them the systems, tools, processes, training, and programs they need to be impactful in their jobs? Do they understand how to use these to improve their ability to perform and meet expectations.
We never will be able to provide everything they need—every situation they face will be different. But have we developed the capabilities within them to “figure it out,” and take action based on their best judgement.
All of these are an ongoing, we have to keep reinforcing these things, coaching and developing our people. Helping them learn, change where they may not be meeting expectations.
Finally, we have to trust them to do their jobs! We have to step away, confident that we have done/are doing the things that will enable them to perform as they/we expect.
Sadly, too often we fail in many elements of this–which cause our people to fail. But the biggest area of failure is the final point. We have to trust our people to do their jobs!