In my blogs, I refer frequently to the importance of leaders meeting their teams’ needs. To do this well, they need to be needs-aware.
I am proud to be a certified licensed reseller for An Even Better Place to Work (BP2W) and yes this could be seen as a sales pitch. However please don’t leave the page just yet. Please give me a chance to explain why I rate its entry-level diagnostic Satisfaction@Work as a product (and leadership solution) so highly.
First, there is the business case for being more needs-aware
It is a low cost, high impact online diagnostic and leadership support tool that really works.
The providers of BP2W give this as the official business case argument:
“Every organisation strives for more efficiency, increased performance and higher profitability. It’s a default state required for growth and evolution. The key to achieving these goals lies in your people. If your staff are happy, motivated and engaged at work they are more likely to give their best. Unfortunately, the reverse of these conditions are also true. The cost of disengaged people in the workplace is huge. Relationship breakdown and dysfunctional conflict contribute to one of the largest hidden business costs”.
They even provide a calculator so you can put numbers to the unmet needs in your organisation!
As I write this, it is live in a couple of client sites and both are finding it incredibly useful. In both, feedback was the biggest gap in their leadership toolkit – everyone was just too busy to carry out effective, regular and engaging performance development conversations.
No structured performance development framework meant that leaders and staff were unaware of what the other wanted. That led to underperformance, demotivated workers and, in one site, staff departing regularly because they felt completely valueless.
In just one quarter (three months), both organisations took the feedback on board, introduced performance reviews – and opened up a much-needed dialogue between managers and staff. Put simply, the leaders are now more needs-aware.
The next quarterly survey in one site has already shown significant improvement in staff satisfaction in this area. Can the leaders there rest on their laurels? No, and they don’t want to. They have seen the difference this engagement has made in their business. Now, they are looking at other measures, such as better time and resource management, getting to know and understand one another’s behaviours and personalities etc. People are more productive and there are fewer departures. In just three months.
Next, there is the benefit for the organisation as a whole
Here’s the official BP2W rationale:
“Attract and retain quality people. Become an employer of choice. With BP2W® you can expect fewer people problems, less attrition and reduced staff turnover. This frees up time for leaders to lead and focus more on strategy and the business of the day.”
In both my clients’ sites, there is actual dialogue between managers and teams. Actually, in some sites this is happening for the first time, and it has caused a bit of surprise or even cynicism. Staff turnover in this site remains a key issue, because of the costs it results in. Things have been said in the past, and nothing has changed. Why should this be any different?
That’s easy. It’s because BP2W is different. It is styled as a simple anonymous online survey. In fact, it’s a highly-complex psychological profiling tool, applied to individuals, and collated by team. The answers to the survey make leaders more needs-aware. They do this by enabling staff to grade how well leaders meet their needs as individuals. This helps people highlight things to their leaders in ways that perhaps they didn’t think of before. That’s the skill that has gone into the development of this product, born of solving issues of unmet need in some high-risk, volatile circumstances.
The questions are also phrased in such a way that the leaders don’t feel completely criticised. This is crucial to the buy-in and adoption of the findings. BP2W brings people together to solve a shared problem.
And then, the benefits of being more needs-aware for teams and individuals
“Feeling valued and listened to are key ingredients for high esteem, morale and motivation. BP2W® cultivates a ‘needs met’ culture resulting in individuals becoming more accountable, collaborative and receptive to feedback. For teams this creates a stronger sense of unity and identity. With the politics out of the way, teams become more solution focused leading directly to higher productivity.”
In my clients’ sites, I deal largely with the management, so I don’t see the individuals very often. However, a couple of employees from one client have got in touch, to explore the diagnostic some more, and to find out how they can deepen their personal learning. These are really positive signs of engagement, which may not have happened before. It is early days with both clients, but to be stimulating intelligent and informed debate this early has to be a win. Discussions aid a collaborative approach in the workplace, which builds the unity, team spirit and effectiveness that ever leader would want.
As you read this, I am pretty confident you can remember a time when you had a “bad boss”. And you probably define “bad” as not listening, not taking time for you, not understanding what you needed in work. Despite this experience, can you hand-on-heart say that you don’t slip into those behaviours now, as a leader? DO you really know what is going on for your team? Are their needs ACTUALLY being met? How receptive to feedback and fresh ideas are you?
In the event that your team are telling you their needs are being met, congratulations. (I would still like you to check on how accurate that confirmation is, from time to time, please). You might also like to check that this translates as you being needs-aware AND that you are doing something to meet their evolving needs.
On the other hand…
If you are starting to think “OK, you may have a point …” then how about giving BP2W a go? It is an excellent product, as I may have stated above! In addition, its inventor is so confident you will love its benefits that you can sign up to the diagnostic for a FREE trial! You can’t say fairer than that.
So please have a look at the BP2W website and watch some videos (there’s a wide range of informative talks to choose from which explain pretty much everything about the tool). Then please get in touch, to find out how to access a trial, or to find out the great value entry level costs involved for your organisation. You’ll be fully needs-aware before you know it.
Five years ago, I came across an interesting report, about bouncing back in leadership. It was by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and focused on leaders’ resilience. They reprised it in 2020 with good cause. In this blog I take a slightly different look at its six key lessons learned. These were:
- Destigmatise failure for a resilient company culture
- Develop risk tolerance
- Accept, re-evaluate and face forward
- Leadership for resilience: a balanced mindset and humility
- Building and using support networks
When I look at this list, I see some interesting groupings of ideas.
First of all, there’s an emphasis on the benefits of agility and flexibility of approach.
When I was qualifying for my accreditation in neuro-linguistic programming, we were taught that flexibility is a key tenet of the discipline. The most flexible person will succeed (or “win”, depending on your viewpoint). That means flexibility in the sense of able to respond appropriately to changing circumstances and keep focused. It also means adapting one’s leadership style to different circumstances AND different people, often simultaneously.
Some believe, mistakenly, that flexible equals weak. That is simply wrong. It takes huge strength to keep focused but remain adaptable and responsive in a complex situation. That’s where conscious risk-taking, and managed “failure” are so vital to leadership success. This is particularly true when you’re bouncing back from something as all-encompassing as the pandemic.
The flexible leader is one who understands risk and how to manage it as a part of their everyday workload. The successful leader is one who combines this flexibility and risk awareness with an ability to keep matters in perspective, so they can accept a situation, deal with it … and move on.
I also notice the importance of self-awareness, to bouncing back in leadership.
Bouncing back in leadership requires a positive and reflective mindset as well as a balanced one. The successful leader needs to understand their own strengths as well as the areas where they need to help of others to improve. Whether a mentor, or a skilled team member whose specialist knowledge can give the organisation the edge, the leader needs to recognise what they have to offer, and work with the other person (or people) to improve their own leadership performance, as they lead their team, or even organisation, forward.
The self-aware leader will understand their boundaries, so they will create and maintain a positive, inclusive, can-do culture. Knowing where to stop, and help people learn for themselves by doing for themselves, is key. That will help their organisation to thrive; this is particularly important in the post-pandemic business world.
The self-aware leader will also be mindful of what they simply should not be doing. It could be things they can’t do, or things they don’t have time to do. There could also be lots of things where others are better-placed to do them than the leader. Understanding that is a big part of being a successful leader. It makes for better headspace, to respond to the business’ need. It also can stop expensive, ego-driven mistakes!
The final way I think the learning divides-up, is people’s reliance and need for people.
A leader can’t be a leader if people won’t be led. The interpersonal skills required by leaders are perhaps more important than any others. It is central to a leader’s toolkit, to deal with others in an effective, positive and human way. Driving people too hard, pushing deals too aggressively, failing to notice other people’s circumstances … these are all leadership crimes against organisational resilience, in my view. A leader must learn to allow reliance on other humans, for help, for effective delivery and for support.
Support while bouncing back? Surely we’re back to weakness here?
If you think leaders don’t need support, you are missing the whole point. Successful leaders exist in a complex, inter-related matrix of relationships, where individuals need other individuals and teams, and even whole organisations. The same applies for teams and whole organisations too. And that’s before you even get near a major crisis, let alone responding to, during and after Covid.
Mentoring is a formal and acceptable word for “leadership support”, where a leader takes inspiration and sometimes even instruction from someone who can teach them what and how. Business and social networks exist to build business, but any leader who ignores the opportunity to connect with other leaders at a human level is missing a massive trick. People buy from people.
Remember Maya Angelou’s quote, part of which is
“People will never forget how you made them feel”.
Leaders need to understand that those people consenting to be led deserve to be treated well, with respect, and to be involved in decision-making. That way, an organisation is well run. It is also in a great place to bounce back from something as huge as the pandemic, because the organisation will have employees who really care about its values, performance and the outcomes everyone can achieve together. People matter. A successful leader never ever forgets that.
I hope you have found these takes on the CMI report of use and interest. If you are doing all they recommend, that’s great. Congratulations.
If you need some help to get you there, I can help with that. Please get in touch and let’s have a chat about getting you bouncing back in leadership.
How to know, whether your team is “thriving” in this new normal? What do you do? And why is that so important? I argue the case for profiling here.
Let’s start by defining “Thriving”. Here is one definition:
“To grow vigorously; flourish.
To be successful or make steady progress; prosper”
If you apply this to your team, you are wanting them to develop, improve, be successful for themselves as well as your organisation, and be happy while they are doing all this.
What are your reference points, for you to gauge whether your team is thriving? Do you have any? Maybe they smile when you speak with them? Perhaps they are continually working to a high standard? You may be offering them lots of Continuous Professional Development opportunities that they would be mad to turn down.
If you were offered these assessment criteria by a supplier about something you are buying from them, would you settle for them? Or would you drill down into the quality, frequency and reasoning of the checks? That way, you could really understand how, what and why your supplier is measuring at all. After all, that’s running a tight ship, isn’t it?
You may want to stop and think about that.
You could actually be taking a deal more care about a supplier and the widgets you buy from them, than your own team. When you look at it like that, it’s not a great place to be as an employer, is it?
And if you have spotted that difference in attitude, you can bet your team has too.
So, what can you do to prevent this happening?
One thing you can do is check in with your people. Ask them how they are doing and give them enough time and full attention to allow them to answer and know that you were listening. Remember their important dates (birthdays, anniversary of joining the organisation, Christmas, Eid, Passover … whatever would work for them). Know if they have a new grandchild, or someone’s getting married, and definitely if they have lost someone close (that will have happened to so many during the pandemic).
Another top tip is to act on pet peeves, that you can collect when you are checking in with your team. Is there something small and irritating that, if you could make sure there was more or less of it, would make people’s lives much better? What’s stopping you wanting to make your team’s lives better? You can be seen to be responsive AND tackle some hurdles to improved productivity into the bargain.
Keeping the lines of communication open, clear and honest is so important to effective leadership. It is also crucial to helping your organisation bounce back better after the pandemic. This is so important, because it is the best way to keep everyone on-message, engaged in the organisation’s future, and doing the right things at the right time, to get you all to where you need to be. Talking – and listening, are crucial leadership tools to check whether your team is thriving.
Listening to your team is particularly brilliant. However, it does need your team to know how to answer your questions, and for you to know the right questions to ask. How would you assess your team’s readiness to change? How about their personal skills and strengths to deliver the bounce-back levels of delivery you will need? It is certain you will have an idea … but without checking in on that idea, it is probably just informed guesswork. Just like prioritising widgets over people, that may not be your best leadership plan for a thriving team and organisation.
There is an easier way.
Profiling tools are a cost-effective and high-value way to know much more about your team, and to help them to know much more about themselves. There are many profiling tools out there, but not that many which focus exclusively on people’s needs in work. Add to that the fact that you want to check people’s individual views on how their needs are met in work, and link this to an ILM Certificate in Leadership for you and your top team, and there is only one. An Even Better Place to Work, or affectionately known as BP2W.
BP2W offers your team the chance to answer a simple online questionnaire, which then gives them and you a detailed view of how needs are met across your whole organisation. Why is this important? When you create more happy and engaged people at work, levels of morale, commitment and productivity will flourish. In other words, your team will thrive.
Not only that, but by identifying, measuring and then meeting people’s needs, you will create a culture which empowers your team, individually and collectively, to take ownership of their challenges, opportunities and overall performance. As the inventor of BP2W, Shay McConnon, says,
“People ask ‘what am I going to do?” not “what is management going to do for me?’ “.
Just imagine how fantastic it would be, to listen to your team, to get to know them this well AND to give them your honest efforts that really address their needs. You will be making your organisation truly an Even Better Place to Work.
To find out more, and book a complimentary demonstration of the system, please get in touch. You – and your team – will be so glad you did.