I had the pleasure of hearing Al Switzler, co-author of Crucial Conversations, give a speech a few weeks ago. He described an interesting model of human behavior that was enlightening and even a bit disturbing.
We all need to have those conversations that we have been avoiding, whether it be with a spouse, child, boss or staff member. But HOW we have that conversation is, well, crucial.
What happens when we continue to avoid those conversations? Al told the story of a saw mill that his team visited a while ago to work with their management team. Their productivity had been decreasing of late, and they needed to understand how they, as managers, could get things back on track. Well, I'll let his co-author tell the story:
How many of your teammates are "feeding the hog", instead of being productive? According to a recent study from BlessingWhite, fewer than 1 in 3 North American employees are fully engaged. What's much worse is that 19 percent are actually disengaged.
How do you engage your team? Do they feel a sense of purpose? Or do you squash their ideas because they aren't your own? Have you approached that team member who isn't pulling his/her weight? Engaged employees contribute to your success, and they stay longer in the company. Help them turn off the hog and get their unique abilities and strengths put to work. Everyone really does want to contribute, but they are individuals who don't all think the same way. They have unique ideas and ways to do their job. I always have to remember: they aren't the same as me.
And thank God for that!