What Do You Want From Every Employee?

by | Leadership, Resources

bossIn the Gallop study I noted in a previous blog, researchers identified 12 questions that most differentiated the loyal and productive employees in an organization, from those who only see their work as ‘a job’. The study forms the basis of the book First, Break All The Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

Within those 12 questions, there is not a single one that deals with compensation – either salary or benefits. Why not? Does that mean compensation is not important to applicants and employees?

No – what it means is that there is no difference between how great employees and poor employees view compensation. They all look at it in basically the same way… compensation is a right and all employees generally see it as such. They have agreed to work for you in exchange for money and benefits. That’s why money and benefits often are not the best motivators – because they are expected as part of the deal. Employees have agreed: “I will provide you with a specific level of effort in exchange for a specific level of compensation.” And sometimes that is all you are going to get. Sometimes that is what your workplace culture in fact fosters.

But what do you most want from every employee? You want their discretionary effort.   You want them to give above and beyond what they ‘have to’ as part of ‘the deal’.   And that is much harder to ‘buy’. It starts with you as a manager and a leader. Do your employees follow you because they have to? Because of your position and title? Or have you done something that earned their respect enough that that they want to follow you?

It is the difference between being what John Maxwell termed Level 1 and Level 2 leaders. Everyone starts at Level 1 – relying on position and title – but you don’t want to stay there. In fact, in truly great organizations, the overall leader may be functioning at Level 5 while bringing everyone else up through the other levels.

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