12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter

My Notes on “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter:9781595629982_p1_v3_s369x593

1. I know what is expected of me at work

Like a Jazz band or the team on an aircraft carrier, or a NBA basketball team.  More than knowing their tasks, they have been working as a team for so long, they can anticipate moves and have contingency plans.  I know the tasks to complete but more importantly, how my role fits in with everyone else.

2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right

Be open to other peoples suggestions about how they could do a better job. Eg the special gloves at the fibreglass factory.  Small refinements add up over time.  And mean a lot to the employee – they feel listened to and cared about and they reward the company with loyalty and pitching in when needed.  Bad idea: Not allocating people their space, having fluid desk arrangements

3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day

The slate is not blank. We are born with natural abilities. We are unique.  The idea is to allocate projects to individuals who will use them to develop themselves and enjoy.  Ask them what their gits are, where they are most happy.  Are you using those gifts every day? If not, how about working over here…?

4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work

Do you feel enthusiastic about your future?  Are my best efforts routinely ignored?  Praise increases dopamine levels. People alter their behaviour to get these delightful bursts. It promotes high engagement.  Managers have a natural tendency to pounce on problems rather than praise performance – the “negativity bias” is a survival instinct – missing the good is disappointing, missing the bad could be fatal (that’s why the news is full of it – “our attention is automatically drawn to negative info more strongly than to positive”).  The drop in dopamine when praise due is not delivered conditions the employee to avoid those thankless tasks, and look elsewhere for it.

5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person

People treat each other differently when they form a personal connection. It opens doors to communication on awkward workplace subjects

6. There is someone at work who encourages my development

Find a mentor.  When learning, just watching a task being performed is almost as good as doing it yourself.  Hearing a story (like the courier drivers sharing over lunch), is learning.

7. At work, my opinions seem to count

When the company shows a history of listening, and acting on employees suggestions when possible, creative ideas are encouraged. Employees are also more committed to the execution if they contributed to the idea in the first place

8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important

Employees search for meaning in their vocation

9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work

It’s demotivating to see workmates slacking, putting in the minimum. In tug-of-war with 7 people, adding an 8th actually decreases effectiveness because everyone puts in less effort than the 8th person contributes. How to increase commitment?

10. I have a best friend at work

For quality of life, work enjoyment and work cooperation and communication

11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress

Peformance evaluation on an ongoing basis rather than scheduled 6 monthly.  For those that generate ideas, positive feedback redoubles their efforts, for those that identify problems or detect errors, negative feedback redoubles their efforts

12. This last year, I have had opportunity at work to learn and grow

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