Accelerate Your Performance

10: That's Not My Job

February 11, 2019 Studer Education Season 1 Episode 10
Accelerate Your Performance
10: That's Not My Job
Chapters
Accelerate Your Performance
10: That's Not My Job
Feb 11, 2019 Season 1 Episode 10
Studer Education

This week, Dr. Pilcher discusses being an owner versus a renter. Pride in our organizations occurs when we take ownership of our roles, cultivating a positive environment so strong, it is no longer susceptible to negativity. This episode addresses questions, such as: 

  • What do leaders who take ownership look like? 
  • How can leaders create an environment that promotes ownership? 
  • How can you confront renter behavior? 

Recommended Reading: Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility By: John Coleman

Recommended Learning: Be an Owner 
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Show Notes Transcript

This week, Dr. Pilcher discusses being an owner versus a renter. Pride in our organizations occurs when we take ownership of our roles, cultivating a positive environment so strong, it is no longer susceptible to negativity. This episode addresses questions, such as: 

  • What do leaders who take ownership look like? 
  • How can leaders create an environment that promotes ownership? 
  • How can you confront renter behavior? 

Recommended Reading: Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility By: John Coleman

Recommended Learning: Be an Owner 
__________________________________________________________________ 

Thank you for joining today’s Accelerate Your Performance Podcast. And thank you for having a desire to be the best at your work and helping your organization achieve success. The podcasts focus on tactical actions to improve workplace culture and these tactics align to our Nine Principles® for Organizational Excellence.  

Today, we’ll focus on being “owners versus renters” in our organizations. 

 We administer an annual survey to our partner organizations. One question we ask is, “to what extent would you recommend your organization to others as a great place to work?”  I’ve been surprised that this item tends to receive an average rating from employees.

 Even more surprising -- the responses do not improve when we review only the leaders’ perceptions.  I’ve found this occurs when leaders manage down the organization. A leader may say something like, “I will be out of the office attending the quarterly management meeting. You  know I would rather be here, but I am required to go to the meeting.” Now that might seem harmless. Nonetheless, the comment doesn’t give employees high confidence in the organization’s leadership.  Sometimes, leaders say things about their organizations that paint a negative light.  I know that’s not what they intend to do.

Let’s talk more about owners versus renters of organizations.

 Owners take on roles and responsibilities even when it is not assigned to them. They take initiative and are proactive solving problems. They expect their co-workers to have the same sort of accountability as they do.  Owners see their work as more than a job.  And they rely on constructive feedback, always wanting to get better.

 On the other hand, we may hear renters say things like this. 

 “It’s just a job. Don’t sweat it.” 

“That’s not my problem. That job belongs to so and so’s department.” 

“Don’t blame me.  It’s not my responsibility.”  

“I don’t know why I have to go to the meeting.  The topics aren’t relevant to me.”

 

We expect leaders to be owners rather than renters of organizations.  Our leaders rightfully expect employees to be owners.  Ownership must first start with leaders setting the example.

 

What do leaders as owners look like? Let’s look at four ways.

First, leaders as owners are passionate and committed to the purpose of the work and the values that drive them every day. Leaders create an environment that shows the price to be paid for anyone violating the values.

 

The other day someone asked me to have a cup of coffee with them – they were in need of some advice.  This individual was frustrated about a co-worker being negative in the workplace. She said that no one wanted to work with this negative team member because she brought down the whole team. She said it was affecting the quality of their work.  

        

I asked if she or any team member had approached the negative team member.  She said they were fearful because they did not think their leader would support them doing so.  I asked why. She said the leader ignores the negativity this person brings to the organization. 

 

Now, I can’t be 100% sure that the leader exhibited the behavior she predicted would occur.  What I do know is that the leader ignored the negative behavior in front of the team. Consequently, the team lost confidence in the leader. This lack of ownership by the leader had an adverse effect on the team.

 

When we see employees not living the organizational values and having a negative effect on their team, it is the leader’s responsibility to take that person aside in a discrete and professional manner.  We point out the behavior, talk about the effect the behavior is having on others, communicate our expectations, and challenge the employee to do better.

So, first, leaders as owners live and model the organizational values.

 

Second, leaders as owners accept and promote accountability.  They are clear about goals and measures that define success, and they celebrate successes and adjust where needed. Leaders as owners never make excuses for not achieving goals; they own the results.

 

Third, leaders as owners make decisions that consider the best interest of the organization as a whole.  They intentionally shift attention from silo thinking to cross-functional work flow.

 

Fourth, leaders as owners provide an environment that gives employees what they want most. Most of us want leaders who:

a.   Care about our well being

b.  Let us know we are a valuable member of the team

c.   Provide opportunities for us to contribute to the team

d.  Listen to our thoughts and ideas

 

Let’s go a little deeper on this this last employee desire. Leaders as owners are sincere about listening to other peoples’ points of views. If we ask for input yet defend our belief or push our agenda, we jeopardize trust.

 

Has that ever happened to you?  You are in a meeting, and if you are like me, you do not automatically share your ideas.  Then the leader of the session encourages you to do so. You speak in a very thoughtful way and then bam – the follow-up to you feels terrible and you ask – why did I do that?

 

The person asking might say something like this…

 

“yes – we’ve already thought about that.” 

 

OR

 

“That may be the way you see things, but that does not support the way we do it here.”

 

Yuk.

 

When leaders ask for input, they need to be open to the input. Open is not acceptance of the idea. It means that leaders truly listen and ask more questions to make sure they understand the idea being shared. A leader’s response may be something like this - 

 

“Thank you for your ideas.  I would like to note them as part of other ideas as we determine the best step to take.”

 

OR

 

“Thank you for your ideas.  Before we move on I would like to talk through some of the barriers to your ideas and see if we need to modify the idea.”

 

We may also start a session by informing the team that we are brainstorming ideas with no expectation of moving any one idea forward at this point.  This message provides open flow of thoughts within a safe environment.

 

The bottom line – we all want to work in organizations with owners.  We want our co-workers to be owners.  We EXPECT our leaders to be owners. 

 

Keeping renters around is draining to our energy and productivity. It’s also unfair to all of the owners.  Leaders are the only ones who can hold employees accountable and to do so they too have to be accountable to the organizational expectations.

 

Think back – when have we been a renter and when have we been an owner? 

 

This week let’s do two things.  

 

First, let’s notice the owner behaviors in our organizations and reflect on how to transfer those best practices.

 

Second, let’s notice the renter behaviors and reflect on the negative effect these behaviors have on people.  Then, let’s turn any renter behaviors into ownership behaviors. 

 

Thank you for tuning in to Accelerate Your Performance. I look forward to connecting with you on our next Podcast where we will focus on “victim-thinking”.   Have a great week