The Value of Company Values

How should managers handle company values?

Company values are broad and subjective.

Strive for excellence.  Integrity.  Customer Excellence

These are examples of values companies espouse.

How can you use these as a manager?

Company values are broad in meaning on purpose.  They are meant to be subjective and up to interpretation.

Why?

Because that way more people can connect with those values in a way that works for them, to help them be as productive as they can.

When you’re in conflict with employees, it could be advantageous to go back to core company values.  What values does your employee value?  Do they value them differently than you do?

If you can connect with them on something that is obstructing their values you can make progress in getting something changed.

For example, you might feel an employee is abrupt.  They don’t feel that way.  So telling them that they are abrupt will only make them defensive.

However, if they value getting along with others, you can present the issue in a way that they can relate.

When you know what your employees value:

  • You will better identify their motivational triggers
  • You’ll know the best way to approach them
  • Complex issues can be resolved

The key is to get to know what your employees personally value.

One on one meetings foster this by providing ongoing dialogue between you and each of your employees.

Diplomatic vs Direct

As a manager, which is better, to be diplomatic or to be direct?

A trick question!

There is no one answer.  The answer is it depends.  It depends on the situation, on the employee and how they like to interact.

As managers, the challenge is to not do what we prefer, but what our employees want.

Some of our employees want us to be diplomatic in our approach.  Some of our employees want us to be direct.

To those of us who prefer to be diplomatic in our approach, it will be very uncomfortable for us to be direct, because we don’t want to appear rude.  But in fact, when you aren’t being direct to someone who wants you to be direct, you are being rude!

Same goes the other way.

For those of us who prefer to be direct in our approach, it will appear very uncomfortable for us to be diplomatic.  But if you remain direct to someone who prefers you being diplomatic, they will shut down.

Two examples of how this could be uncomfortable.

You have a problem.

The diplomatic person would like to talk to the direct person by stating “hello, how’s it going?  I want to thank you for the work you do. Many things are going well.  Now, there is one thing I’d like to talk to you about.”

You’ve already lost this individual!  They want you to get to the point!

What you should say:  “We have a problem.  I see either option A, B, or C as the solution.  Which do you like or do you have one of your own?”

Just get to the point!  Be direct.

The opposite is true as well.

If you like to be direct, and someone who likes someone to diplomatic gives you a report that is all wrong, your tendency would be to say “this is wrong, fix it.”

This could traumatize this person!

What they want to hear:  “I appreciate the work you put into this report.  You spent a lot of time on it.  Now what I need is……”

They will be more accepting to do the next thing.

When we adjust our diplomatic and direct skills with employees based on their preference rather than our comfort level:

  • Listening to each other will improve
  • There will be less conflict
  • You are more likely to get the outcome you desire

 

There is no guarantee getting out of your comfort zone to match your employees will get you your desired results.  However, your managerial effectiveness is likely to increase when you do adjust your style to let our employee’s desires supersede our comfort.

Meetings

How efficiently do you run your meetings?

Step back and think.  Would anyone consider the meetings you run a waste of time?

Facilitating meetings is a skill.  Most people don’t take the time to learn those skills.

However, there is a connection between how well meetings are run and the health of the team, department, or groups that attend those meetings.

What does it mean to run meetings efficiently? It means people listen to each other, everyone is heard, and people are held accountable for the actions for which they are responsible.

What is a healthy team, department or group?  It means people listen to each other, everyone is heard, and people are held accountable for the actions for which they are responsible!

A way to increase the likelihood of efficient meetings is to have ground rules established.

Ground rules are procedures that everyone in the meeting agrees to follow.

Examples include:  one person talks at a time, everyone arrives on time, no cell phones, et al.

You also need to get agreement from all participants on what you (or others) can do if someone breaks the ground rules.

When you have ground rules, you’ve set a precedent, a process and accountability for all to follow.  It’s similar to having a process for regular one on one meetings with your employees.

As paradoxical as it sounds, the more processes you have in place, the more freedom it gives everyone to establish an environment where things get accomplished!

When managers facilitate meetings well:

  • It provides an environment for communication and growth
  • It sets standards for being held accountable
  • It starts to set expectations companywide on what to expect from meetings

Running meetings is not just a management skill.  But when managers run effective meetings, it sets a standard for others, especially your employees, to do so as well.

Changing my behavior

If I change my behavior to communicate more effectively with an employee, am I changing who I am?

When you understand the four different behavioral types and know that while we all use all four types, most of us are dominant with one of two behaviors, you know that it’s more effective as a manager to analyze your employee’s behavioral types and change your behavior to match theirs.

When you do this, it’s more likely the employee will hear what you’re saying and the trust between you will increase.

While working on these behavioral skills in one of the management workshops I was teaching, I was asked by an attendee, if I change my behavior, will I be authentic?

This is not an uncommon question or concern.

We don’t want to be phony or come across as not authentic.

Yet as a manager we need to be effective with all types of people, no matter how different they are from us.

How can we do that if we don’t change something about ourselves?

This isn’t about being inauthentic, it’s about being effective as a manager.

What we should remember is all of us use all four behaviors.  It’s just some behaviors are more comfortable and familiar to us.

Some people feel if they aren’t themselves, saying how they really feel, expressing their anger when they’re angry, and their frustration when they’re frustrated, they’re not being authentic.

Actually, they’re being smart!

Haven’t we all said things we regret?  Discretion is sometimes the best option, especially as managers.

When we match our behavior to our employees:

  • We are creating an environment for two way communication
  • Both of you will listen to each other more effectively
  • We are attempting to make sure what we say is what they hear

 

And you will be authentic in your efforts to be the best manager you can for each of your employees!