Hypocritical bosses are the worst by far. Do as I say, not do as I do is as outdated as Betamax. Top performance starts from the top down. If your top management are not demonstrating your values, authentically, all the time, then address that first, before doing other change work with staff across the business. Here are five ways to address alignment to values across your teams.
- Start with Yourself
In a study by Nankai Business Review International, it was found that staff from the middle management and down replicated the behaviours and action of the executive teams. Take a good look at yourself. Your staff mimic your behaviour. It comes down to neuroscience and the mirror neurons in your brain. Develop your own self-awareness and get feedback from your team to bring behaviours to your attention that you don’t realise you do. Your internal thoughts and emotions is what leads to your reactions and behaviours.
Make the investment in yourself and your senior teams first. Hire experts, develop your emotional intelligence, learn more about state management and take responsibility. You will be stronger, healthier and much happier in the long term. Your business will be more successful.
- Define Acceptable Behaviour
How is it that children can generally conform to rules and routines at school, yet their parents struggle to discipline them at home? Make what is acceptable behaviour in the workplace simple and straightforward for everyone to understand. Even better than creating the rules yourself, run an internal campaign for company rules to be creating by your staff. Review and select the most popular, which make work easier and more productive for your teams. It will make adoption much easier without any need for discipline.
Make it a policy. Include employee good conduct rules in the company handbook and make sure everyone follows, especially the senior team.
- Recognise and Reward Good Performance
Off the back of the enthusiasm that they will have from creating improvements to their workplace, your staff will make a big effort. For some it will be easy. For others, it will need a little practice. Show that you have noticed. Be specific to compliment good practices that adhere to the values. There’s nothing more demotivating than your boss not seeing or caring that you’ve made a big effort.
Introduce a peer to peer recognition scheme where colleagues can nominate each other. Create the judging panel from volunteers from across the ranks and announce the winners regularly.
- Put Targets in Place
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, Peter Drucker famously said. Get your teams to set their own targets. Have them produce strategies and link their performance to their KPIs. This shows that you are taking values alignment as seriously as any other aspect of the business. As its impact is so important commercially, you need to treat it as such internally.
Setting targets for good behaviour will involve both carrot and stick to ensure you appeal to all types of motivational means. It can be as simple as call-out and reward charts. Identify your weak areas and tackle them first. Challenge the team to design the scoring and build in time to score each other at the end of each meeting, each event or each day. It can be a very quick five-minute review process.
- Financially Share the Benefits
You are counting on your staff to behave better and work more productively to create more money and profit for the business. Don’t then go and keep it all to yourself. Share the rewards. Link their KPI performances to a bonus based on their behavioural improvement. While money alone is not a motivator, it’s a perfect thank you gift of appreciation for effort and hard work. Communicate it as such and be transparent on how you calculate it. Everyone needs to feel appreciated equally. Use a percentage linked to salary, rather than a value. I’ve worked for companies where only the top management got rewarded. That does not work with your front-line staff delivering your customer service. Make it fair.
Your values are black and white. Once you have set the rules on what is acceptable, it becomes very simple to put the steps in place to get everyone in the business aligned. Your management are the most visible. Be transparent and open about how you expect everyone to behave properly. That means no exceptions!