Re-aligning your employees for success: Hayden Brown
How do you identify what drives your employees? How do you keep them totally engaged? Human behaviour specialist Hayden Brown has some valuable advice for business owners.
If you’re an owner of a business who is inspired to get back to work, chances are that’s because your work is aligned with your highest values – that which brings you meaning and purpose.
If you’re noticing that your staff are sluggish coming back to work or appear disengaged and uninspired, then that may well be because their values aren’t similarly aligned with their role.
This could mean that they have either lost touch with the purpose that their work once gave them, or it may be nothing at all to do with their work or your business. It may be that their recent holiday has highlighted a major void and values-gap in their life.
None of the above means that your staff are ‘bad’, unmotivated, or lazy individuals who don’t have strong values. It’s just that their values or priorities are naturally different from what drives you as the business owner.
So, what can you do to close the gap? How can you understand what drives your people, and what is the “why” behind their sudden disengagement?
WHAT ARE VALUES?
The philosopher Aristotle said, “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” and this is just as true in business.
As humans, we all live by a specific hierarchy of values. They are what dictates what is most important through to least important in our life. In fact, your whole identity will often revolve around your unique values.
It is crucial to understand that different individuals value different things. It is wise to understand and honour these differences if you want to get your employees performing at their best.
Engagement and ‘buy-in’ (be it in business or any area of life) is not simply about the job at hand, but also about the mental state of the individual and how meaningful they perceive buying in to be for them.
When an individual is aligned with their values they can see how their role helps fulfil what is most valuable to them. As a result, they will automatically be engaged, enthused, and energised – with their own meaning mentally associated with their job.
When an individual’s values are in alignment, be it their job or personal goals, they are intrinsically driven from inspiration. They will be reliable, disciplined, and focused, and demonstrate their innate problem-solving capacity.
UNMET VALUES LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT
By contrast, unmet, or unfulfilled values will, over time, eventually result in procrastination, hesitation, and frustration. These people will need outside stimulus or external motivation from you to create action or movement.
Simply put, they are disengaged from their work because they are not finding the same fulfilment or meaning in their work. They have lost track of the “why” and are instead mentally or physically distracted, probably by their other values that they were fulfilling during their Christmas break.
IDENTIFYING THE DRIVERS OF YOUR PEOPLE
At this point, you may be thinking that it can be challenging enough getting clear on what drives you personally, let alone trying to understand what drives your employees. Well, it may not be as complex as you may have thought.
Both your values and their values can be identified by closely observing their consistent actions and behaviours.
Actions will always speak louder than words, and if something is truly important to us it will be reflected in our day-to-day actions, our goals, and what we talk about over time.
I suggest looking at how they spend their time, what gives them the most energy, where are they most reliable, their long-term goals, and what do they love to learn about.
These are all giveaways that demonstrate what we truly value – even if we don’t yet know ourselves!
It is also wise to ask more questions and have open and transparent conversations with your people about their drivers, in or outside of their work.
THE APPLICATION OF VALUES FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE
In understanding what drives your key people, you have the opportunity to help them connect-the-dots, re-energise, and find new meaning in their work.
Here is how I recommend you begin this process:
1. Aligning their key roles
Once you start to understand what drives each of your employees you can then work to strategically align their job and key responsibilities with their highest values.
For example, if an employee values creative expression, you could give them more opportunities to be creative in their work by giving them company problems to solve.
If they value social relationships, you can assign them to projects that naturally require more teamwork and group collaboration.
If they value learning, you could provide them with upskilling and learning opportunities. If they value personal development, you could invest in a course or find a mentor for them.
2. Live your own highest values
As the business owner, it’s crucial you lead from the front and align your own roles in the company with your own values – by doing what you love and what naturally energises you.
Give yourself permission to do what you truly love and wherever humanly possible delegate any lower priority unfulfilling tasks to someone who would value doing those tasks.
Over time this develops a culture of alignment and fosters a workplace where your team communicates and advocates for each other’s quality of work, fulfilment, and mental wellbeing.
3. Create certainty in your direction
Lastly, it’s important to clearly communicate your vision for the business and create a company structure that provides a clear sense of purpose, direction, and personal responsibility.
Once everyone is clear on the direction, I recommend everyone in the company takes ownership and sets their own goals within the business. In doing this you further encourage your people to connect with the greater meaning behind their work and how it benefits their personal values, and not just the company’s values
By connecting with your key people on what is truly most important to them and wherever possible aligning their role with what is important to them, you can deepen the meaning and buy-in to both the company and the work they do – maximising performance and creating a more fulfilling and engaging business experience for your people.
Hayden Brown (pictured) is a Human Behaviour Specialist, and pioneer in the field of Depth Psychology, Behaviour Change, and High Performance. Hayden focuses on the psychology of human behaviour and working with clients to achieve rapid, meaningful, and lasting behavioural change. To find out more go to www.haydenbrown.co.nz
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