As a young manager, it is easy to forget about telling your team why things could or should be done. New, first time managers often forget to include this simple, but critical approach for endearing your team.
In my early days of management I was given control of a small, 14 person unit at the bank where I was working. I thought it made sense to meet with each person on the team, letting them tell me what they did.
I will never forget one lady who began by telling me she took this form from a drawer. She then did a couple of routine steps using information off of the form. Then she put the form in a tray and moved back to the next form from the drawer. She did this simple process all day long. I asked where the forms came from to fill the drawer. She was dumbfounded. She had no idea. When I asked why they came, she was even more perplexed.
While I was not trying to embarrass this woman, the question was paralyzing. No one had ever told her where those darn forms came from or why they were there. I asked her if she had ever wondered. Her answer was “YES!”. She wanted to know because occasionally the information was not complete, but she had no idea where to go to get the right answers.
Clearly the former manager of the unit had neither monitored the process nor motivated the team to ask such questions. Let me be clear, this lady proved to be no dummy, but the former atmosphere on the team stymied her willingness to come forth and understand the why about those forms.
I took this as an immediate challenge to learn for myself why those forms flowed the way they did. Once I had that information, I went back to the lady and walked her through the whole story. She was amazed. From that day forward, the information conveyed by those forms got better and better. Why? Because this employee was now empowered with the why of the form and the flow.
She was perfectly capable of using that expanded knowledge to perform her work at a higher level of proficiency. And guess what? She enjoyed the work more. How do I know? She told me so on a regular basis.
[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]People want to feel their contributions at work have value and purpose.[/shareable]
As a manager, you can create significance bounce in your office by simply telling your team the real, deep why about the work.
The why should not be “just because I said so.” No, it needs to be about giving a meaningful reason for having a process or procedure in place.