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Seven ways to get the best out of your staff: Terry Hill, Business Psychologist, Author and Coach

by Terry Hill

1. Pay enough                                                                                                                                                                                 

People who can’t pay the bills will hardly be inspired by the work. Positive motivation starts with paying a wage that removes pay as a source of dissatisfaction. Better still, pay a bit more than your competitors and do it before they catch on.

2. Give a long leash                                                                                                                                                                 

Trust is risky but not trusting is much riskier. If you want your people to act with responsibility you must first give it.

*When what we must do exceeds our capabilities the result is anxiety.

*When our capabilities exceed what we must do, the result is boredom.                                                                                     –

*When the two are matched the results can be outstanding.

*Matching the two is most easily achieved by giving people discretion over how they do things. i.e. The opposite to control.  

3. Praise generously                                                                                                                                                             

Companies with recognition rich cultures vastly outperform the rest. People that feel valued do far more than what’s expected of them.

It’s been shown that the amount of praise shared by couples is remarkably predictive of whether they stick together. So do your people get enough? If not how many of your staff have effectively “divorced” the company, including you? Even worse, are they still “working” for you?

4. Exercise authority informally                                                                                                                                               

Be courageous and dispense with unnecessary rules. The fear of breaking them kills passion. You needn’t fear chaos. Involve your team in “How we do things around here” Their commitment to high standards and willingness to hold their colleagues to them might surprise you.

 5. Think psychological rewards                                                                                                                                           

When well-paid staff chase money and promotions, look beyond what’s being said. People rarely fight over the things they say they are fighting about.

Once the bills can be paid, material rewards quickly lose importance – it’s more about the feelings these rewards provide. Do they want recognition for their expertise? To be valued and respected? Fairness maybe? So ask what’s important about getting that promotion . We may not be able to give that pay rise just now but the recognition can always be applied.

Everyone has different needs. So don’t give others what you would want for yourself but be curious and “Do unto others as they would be done unto”.

 6. Play to strengths                                                                                                                                                           

“Correcting” your peoples’ weaknesses can give a poor return on time spent. Salespeople might slightly improve their admin but at significant cost to their spirit and the doing of what they are best at – connecting with customers and winning new business. Outstanding people are rarely well rounded. So work around weaknesses. Someone else could do the admin. Free your people up to do more of what they’re good at.

 7. Help people find a cause                                                                                                                                                   

Things like contribution, professional growth, and making a difference can drive performance to ever-higher levels, long after material rewards have ceased to inspire. Your best people run on these. Where possible give your people a role where they can indulge their deepest values or show them how their current job or project might cater for these. Your bottom line might benefit as well!

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