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Monday
May302011

Creating A Great Work Environment

What you read in posts at DaveKraft.org are mostly my thoughts…ideas I have been thinking about, wrestling with and applying to my own life and ministry.

From time to time I take somebody else’s ideas and build on them.  On rare occasions I have a guest blogger who has written something that I totally resonate with and could not have said it better if I tried.

Today I am sharing a post from Matt Perman who works with John Piper at Desiring God as director of strategy.  Matt has been a friend for several years and we talk once a month, exchanging ideas on leadership related issues.

You can go to this link   http://bit.ly/jhyl5u  for a recent post Matt wrote.  You will see a place on the right to subscribe.

So, let me introduce you to my friend, Matt Perman:

So, what does it look like to create a culture that fosters intrinsic motivation in people — a culture of engagement rather than compliance?

1.  Trust people and have high expectations for them. Trust is at the heart of a healthy culture. Most people want to do a good job and want greater responsibility. If you trust them and have high expectations, people will generally live up to that. (Likewise, if you have low expectations and don’t trust people, people will typically live down to those.)

2.  Make the vision, values, and top priorities clear; then allow people to find their own way to accomplish the objectives. This is most consistent with trust and creates space for initiative and autonomy, which are at the heart of motivation.

3.  Lead from values, not rules. This, again, is most consistent with trusting people. Detailed rules say “you are not competent, and therefore we need to control you.” People will live down to that and not apply their extra initiative. But leading from values says “we trust you” and allows people to use their judgment and creativity. It also gives purpose, which is another of the core components of motivation.

4.  Seek to extend people’s autonomy to the greatest possible extent. Managers should keep expectations clear, but within that framework people are to manage themselves. The manager becomes not a boss, but a source of help.

You see the implication of self-management right in the text (Ephesians 6: 5).  Paul exhorts workers to be self managing when he says don’t obey by way of eye service or as people pleasers. In other words, do what you do because it is right, not just because you are told or to score points. And, doing this “from the heart” implies: take initiative. For that is what we do when we are doing something from the heart.

Individualize. If workers are in the image of God and thus to be respected, we should not seek to mold them to fit a highly standardized version of the role. The role is to be flexible, not primarily the person. Highly standardized versions of a role not only run over the individuality that each person brings and is a potential source of incredible contribution; they are also impersonal. People are personal beings by nature; there is no virtue in regarding “impersonal” as essential to the meaning of being a professional.

By the way, what is management? It is unleashing the talents of the individual for the performance of the organization. Individualizing and unleashing the potential of the person are not just good practices, but are intrinsic to the nature of management itself.

The results of this will be:

1.  Motivation, because this syncs with the three components of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

2.  People will grow because they are required to be responsible and exercise judgment. And this is critical because management is not only about getting things done through others, but developing people through tasks. Management is a matter of serving.

3.  Greater efficiency, believe it or not. Trying to control people doesn’t scale. It also results in higher turnover, and kills the initiative that leads to great results.

4.  Initiative and innovation. Again, this unleashes greater initiative and the best ideas of your people.

Employee engagement.

  • A strong workplace. (That’s not just a throw-away phrase; there’s great and specific meaning in what a “strong workplace” is that would be great to go in to sometime.)
  • An exciting workplace — a place where people want to work and enjoy their work.

Your people will be served and built up, and the organization will be served more effectively as well.

Failure to manage this way is why so many people want to retire, by the way. So many workplaces treat people merely as cogs in a machine. It’s no wonder people want to escape at 65. What a waste! I’m not saying retirement is bad — it can be a great thing to transition to a different type of contribution after a lifetime in the workplace. But far better to also manage our workplaces in such a way that people don’t want to retire to get away from the job, but rather retire because of the potential for a different type of contribution later in life.

 

 

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