Dysfunction at work is for two reasons: either they cannot do the job, or they do not want. How will you know to diagnose who belongs to which group, and how to help those who try but cannot.
For many retail managers, the most baffling part of their job is the people part. The same leaders who can easily manage their inventory, manage their facilities, manage their books, and manage their profit margins, are often the same ones who find themselves at a loss when it comes to managing the behaviour and performance of their employees. “Why can’t they just do what I tell them to do?” is the management cry heard around the retail world.
Let’s remove the mystery about employee engagement once and for all. If your employees aren’t performing with excellence in every way, every day, with no exceptions, there are only two reasons why:
1) They can’t.
2) They don’t want to.
There’s no mystery really, no psychological complexities, and no complicated management theories. There are just two simple root causes. Either your employees lack something essential which prevents them from performing with excellence, or they don’t achieve excellence because they simply don’t want to. Managers need to think of these two root causes as separate disorders which require accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Just as Band-Aids won’t fix a broken bone, a how-to training class won’t fix a broken spirit. Successful retail leadership requires more doctoring and less managing in order to keep the people part of the operation healthy.
Not all “cannot” means “do not want”
No matter how much encourage, ask, threaten or beg your employees to display a certain level of achievement, sometimes they just cannot do the job. Anyone who managed a team for over a week knows that their work creativity is manifested with all kinds of excuses for lack of deed.
However, it would be wrong to assume that every “can’t” you hear is actually ”don’t want”. In every business, large and small, there are many barriers that prevent workers from doing their jobs to the best. All you have to do is to separate those who have difficulty and to ask your employees “what makes it difficult for you to perform your job to the best every day”. Answers you get will be divided into 4 main categories: physical barriers, lack of time, lack of resources or lack of knowledge. Your employees will deal with these obstacles to succeed every day. They think, get frustrated and talk about them behind your back all the time. If you ask your subordinates to communicate their difficulties without fear of the consequences, they will help you map the barriers that prevent them from succeeding. Workers often have ideas to solve the problems that stand in their way. Opening a direct channel of communication with the team, listening to complaints and ideas, and the ability to implement solutions proposed by employees will bring you on track for minimizing, or eliminating, the element ‘Cannot’ in your organization. It is important to remember to give another chance to those who suggested solutions and failed but also make public those who proposed solutions and were successful and with benefits for the organization.
Removing real barriers and encouraging excellence entail, apart from the obvious advantages, is also a bonus in the form of exposing those employees who specialize in excuses and no results. Layoffs are not a pleasant process, but an organization that strives for success must reward those who give 100% and fire, a see and the ones who do not. Human capital management in business is not a difficult task as it is sometimes portrayed. Listen to your employees, remove the real obstacles that stand in the way of success, and loyalty and productivity will be obtained in exchange for them, you and your business on the right track.
The original article appeared on the site: Retailindustry.about.com.