Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Not My Job!

How many times have you heard an employee pass the buck when asked about an unfinished project? Or, if not actually heard this from an employee, at least witnessed it expressed through their actions. This employee is limited to do their job barely to the extent of their job description and no more. "It's not my job," is their motto and it is this type of attitude in an employee that can spread like a cancer to other members of your team causing harm to your business.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to remedy the situation and to either get this team member back on board and 100% in the game or to send this person on their way to finding a job elsewhere.

"Too many leaders act as if the sheep.. their people.. are there for the benefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for the sheep." ---Ken Blanchard

There are three critical steps that you as a business owner or leader can do to ensure that all of your team members are willing to give their all for the future of the organization as well as for their future success:

1.) Create Ownership -- It is a proven fact that your employees will be more productive, more into the game as a team member, and more on board with helping the business achieve its goals if you allow them to own their job. After you've sunk so much time and so much money into finding the key personnel for your business, doesn't it make sense to allow them to do what they were hired to do? If you have to babysit them and micro-manage every aspect of their job, didn't you mis-hired. You didn't really trust your gut on this one. You wasted your time and their time.

Coors Brewery had a strong union at one time. The union members fought with management for years for decent wages, good working conditions, and a chance to get supervisors off their backs. The tension was at a constant high day in and day out.

Then, something changed. Management began to treat employees with respect. They began trusting those they hired to get the job done. Over time, the employees of Coors voted to no longer be represented by a union.

Don't allow a union mentality to develop in your business. Once you hire a person, let them do their job. Provide guidance and help when needed, but let them own the job. If they fail, let everyone learn from it and then move on. Give them the freedom to work.

2.) Share Ownership -- If you really want your employees to shine, give them a piece of the pie. Profit-sharing or other forms of sharing of the business gives the employee a sense of pride that shows in their work. No longer will you see or hear, "It's not my job," but you will witness overlapping where one employee will stay late to assist another with a project. While on location at a client's business, I witnessed a member of the office staff pick up a piece of trash in the parking lot on her way to lunch. She took pride in the appearance of "her" business.

Sharing the company with employees gives them the opportunity to see how their work impacts the greater good of the business and that what is good for the business is good for their bottom line as well.

3.) Take Ownership -- Finally take ownership of your business. You probably have more blood, sweat and tears put into the business than anyone else working there. If you find an employee that can't pull their weight or won't do their job, it is time to re-train them or let them go. As my good friend Tim says, "If they tell you they won't or they can't, believe them." In other words, don't try to fight them if they are not willing to change. Believe them and wish them well in the future endeavors.

You don't have to keep an employee who does not want to be on your team. So many employers are afraid to fire an employee. News stories about lawsuits and employees with a team of lawyers scares the britches off of some business leaders. Don't let it! If you've kept good records, treated the employee fairly, but the fit just isn't there, send them down the road.

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