5 Strategies To Drive Performance, Accountability, Results

Here we go again –  the war on talent is back, and it is a tougher battle than ever before.  You can’t go into a meeting or corporate board room these days where you do not hear CEOs and C-Suite leadership teams talking about the biggest need they have, the one thing that is keeping them from growing, and taking advantage of opportunity in the marketplace – finding talent.

For a long list of reasons, it has become harder than ever to recruit, to engage and to retain talent. Employees are winning this war, and guess what they know it. The balance of power has shifted, and if you own a business or lead a team unfortunately that shift is not in your favor.

So, with this war in full swing, and with the advantage clearly in the employee’s favor, how much control do you really have as an employer?  Can you demand more of your workforce? Can you afford to let employees go who are not meeting expectations? And how do you handle entitled employees?

The simple answer is – yes!  It may be a challenge to find employees right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up control of how you want your team to perform, the experience you want your customers to have, and the results you need your organization to deliver.

5 Strategies To Win The Battle of The Entitled Employee

  1. Listen – it is clear you need your workforce to be as passionate as you are about the growth of your business, and the best place to start is by listening. More than anything people want to be heard. Listening builds trust, it allows employees to get their frustrations out, and it ensures you have created a platform to gather ideas for consistent improvement. Listening ensures you learn the exact information you need as a leader to help your employees move beyond grievance and entitlement and on to ultimate performance.

Listening is about asking  great open-ended questions, being present so you really hear the answers, giving others room to speak, and listening fully before responding.   Remember, if you want your employees to listen to youmbegin by listening to them.

  1. Set Expectations – sixty-seven percent of disciplinary issues happen because employees do not know what is expected of them. They may be focused on doing one thing, when you want them to be focused on something else. Understand that is your fault not theirs. If you have not clearly communicated expectations, then employees will do what they feel is most important.

 Setting and communicating expectations ensures every member on the team understands specifically what they need to do to contribute. There is no question in their mind what it is going to take to be successful – their own success as well as the organizations.

Every member of your team should know their top five priorities – behavior and results.  The top five things they need to focus on every week. Knowing their priorities helps employees feel in control of how they are contributing, and empowered and proud they are making a difference.

  1. Divide The Herd – in all the years I have been doing this, I have found that employees fall into one of three categories. Twenty percent are top performers, self-starters and over achievers. No matter what, they are going to go all in and give you everything they have.

Twenty-percent are under performers, no matter what they are going to underperform. No matter what you do or invest they are just not going to go all in.

Sixty-percent fall somewhere in the middle They can go either way – over perform or under perform based on where you as the leader focus your time and attention.

If you focus your time and attention on trying to get the under performers to perform, then  your middle group will gravitate that way. Focus your time and attention on the over performers and your middle group will increase their own performance. Yes, you really have that much control.

You need to divide the herd. Forget about the under performers (for now) and focus on supporting and rewarding your top performers. Then watch as your middle sixty percent moves in that direction.

  1. Accountability – it may surprise you to know that top performers, your most engaged workers, want an environment of accountability. They want to work for someone that let’s them know the rules, gives them the support and information they need to succeed at their jobs, and then holds everyone on the team accountable to the same expectations.

Lack of accountability is one of the major reasons you lose top talent. Also, it is one of the biggest reasons your mediocre performers never improve. What is the point of improving if there are no rewards for doing so, and no consequences if you don’t.

See once  you have divided the herd, and focused on who is helping your company succeed, you can turn your attention to those that are not. Actually “handle” those under achievers. You either need to manage them up or manage them out.

Being fully staffed with some employees that perform and some that don’t, is far less productive then being understaffed with only top performers. Have the courage to hold your team accountable.

  1. Take Ownership – as painful as this is to hear, if you have entitled employees, it is no one’s fault but your own. That may sound harsh, but if you think about it, it is quite empowering. Once you own it – you can change it. Learn to lead from a place of power rather than a place of fear. Assert yourself to create the culture and environment you want.

You, and you alone as the leader have the power to reverse the entitled mentality in your organization. Listening to your team first ensures they know this is a culture where they have input and a say.

One that is balanced with boundaries and limits of how everyone (including customers, leadership and fellow team members) deserves to be treated in your company.

Employees want to work in a positive environment, one where they feel they are working with leadership rather than against. When you put these strategies into place you stand your best chance of positioning yourself to not only win the battle for talent but quite frankly win the war!