31 Jul Two Words You Should Never Say to Your Team

Before I get to those two words, let’s review how Frederick Herzberg enlightened us with his two-factor theory about motivation way back in 1968. There are things in the workplace that motivate (e.g., achievement, recognition, work itself, etc.), and there are things that if “not right,” can demotivate (e.g., company policies, supervision, work conditions, etc.).

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.43.30 PMPer the “Gallup 12” survey for employee engagement, it’s critical that everyone understand the standards for performance (behaviors and results); and what meeting and exceeding expectations looks like.

Based on what you already know about motivating people, consider this: Are there consequences for your team when you catch them doing things right? Is your positive feedback timely, truthful, specific and positive (“TSP” as coined by Michael Allosso).

Conversely, and as importantly, what are the consequences for your team when performance does not meet stated expectations?

“Yeah – sorry. I will get that to you tomorrow.”

“No worries.”

Ugh! Saying “No worries” completely lets people off the hook for a commitment not fulfilled. They failed to keep a promise. They broke a commitment. They didn’t meet their obligation. They didn’t honor their pledge. In the future, how can they make a guarantee, a vow or assure others? Based on the mission, isn’t a commitment from one person to another a solemn duty?

Consider what’s at stake here:

A Gallup survey in 2014, found that leaders account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores.

A 1996 meta-analysis of over 3,000 studies on performance feedback by Kluger & DeNisi found that one-third of the time when managers provide feedback there is a decline in performance.

According to a 2009 study from The Ken Blanchard Companies, leaders who are effective at performance management produce better business results:

  • 50% less staff turnover
  • 10-30% higher customer satisfaction ratings
  • 40% higher employee commitment ratings
  • 200% higher net profits.

Think about other words and phrases that can completely negate the principles you are trying to establish. Letting standards slip sends the wrong message to your A-players as well. A “no worries” attitude signals A-player they’re on a team with low standards. Top performers won’t stay long in that environment. A-players want to be with people who stretch them to constantly up their game.

Upholding a high standard of performance creates a positive environment, and a culture that is great by design, not mediocre by default. 

What conversations are you avoiding right now?

If you approached your team with courage, how could your outcomes change?

“A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.” Ara Parasheghian

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