Guest Post by Drew McLellan of AMI
Every day one of you is telling me that you wished your employees cared about the business or the clients like you and some of your more seasoned employees do. You want them to have initiative, be self starters and go above and beyond.
I think sometimes we forget (or never realized) that we were taught to be like that. You had a mentor or a manager who helped you recognize the importance, to both the agency and your own career, of you showing up that way. Of you taking ownership. Of you going the extra mile for a client or co-worker.
Some of you may have naturally been wired that way. But for most of us, someone invested some time and energy into helping us develop your work ethic and sense of responsibility.
One of my earliest jobs was bagging groceries. I often worked with a store manager named Regis. Regis made it a point to show me how to do my job better. He also taught me to take pride in bagging the groceries in a way that protected the purchased items and make it easier for the customer when they got home. (Cold foods together, using the boxes corners to build structure, etc.) He was much more persnickety than any of the other managers. At the time, he seemed very uptight to me. Every detail mattered.
But then customers started to notice my efforts. They’d comment when they came back or they’d specifically choose the check out lane where I was bagging. It felt good to be recognized and appreciated. After that, I paid attention when Regis had me re-do something or caught me doing something right. I took pride in how I put groceries into a bag. If I can care about all of the bags being of equal weight and shape so they’re easier to carry into the house, we can help our employees care about their output too.
How do we do the same for our team members?
- Talk about accountability and why it matters to both the agency and each team member’s professional growth
- Build in accountability check points into your processes
- Publicly reward people who showing up the way you hope they would (taking ownership and showing initiative)
- Make it a topic in your one on one conversations, reviews, and a criteria for raises and bonuses
- Assign specific projects and tasks (beyond their day job) and be very clear that you’re giving them ownership and expect them to solve the challenge/own the success.
If you want them to show up and be committed and that’s super important to you, then invest the time and effort to create both the behavior and the understanding of why that behavior matters.
I think you’ll be surprised how contagious it is.