The 80/20 principle doesn’t even do this justice: When it comes to leadership and getting the most out of your people, there’s one simple tactic you can use that will create a revolution of results. Think of it as the 1% insight into management strategy that nets you 99% of the results.
This single uncomplicated tactic will increase your staff’s compliance with instructions in the short term, while slowly conditioning them to think for themselves in the future.
The only catch? In order for this to work, you have to understand a crucial piece of human psychology. Once it clicks, you’ll be able to rocket your team’s effectiveness into the stratosphere.
Telling people what to do doesn’t work
Poor managers believe that their job is to communicate instructions to their staff. “Do this, do that… and do THIS as well!”
This cliche is always followed by “Why do I have to keep reminding you?”. It feels a bit like a burnt out parent nagging a surly teenager to take out the trash.
The “Transfer-of-Instructions” school of leadership is born of the industrial age. It’s built on the presupposition that people are automatons: Replaceable cogs of mindless labor functioning in a machine. It makes no room for the notion of building an inspired, autonomous and proactive crew.
Even if you run a business that requires boring labor of your team, it doesn’t have to be mindless. The make or break difference between these types of businesses that succeed and those that fail still comes down to staff. Until robots really can replace everyone, you need people to do their jobs and your bottom line will benefit if they do them well.
Merely transferring instructions doesn’t work. Staff become uninspired, look for shortcuts and require constant reminding. Most of all? They stop thinking for themselves ensuring you always sweat when you need to leave them unattended.
The Power of Rationale
What’s missing is the WHY. This is the principal so few business owners understand. They transfer instructions that they can see – with their eagle-eye perspective on the business – are essential.
However, staff are simply told they must do this thing. They’re not given context or an explanation for why the priority has arisen
The mistake happens when business owners make the mistake of assuming that paying someone to do a job makes everything about that job crucially important to that person. It would be ideal if the world worked that way, but people are human. It’s not that easy.
Your staff member receives dozens of instructions an hour. They do a bunch of stuff. Why should they care about this new initiative? Why does it matter? Why should they remember it?
Great managers understand – and leverage – the power of rationale.
They take care to explain to staff the greater “why” behind each instruction they give. Why do you need to focus on this customer service initiative?
Why is it critical – for the business – to complete these maintenance tasks swiftly? Why is safety so damn important?
Instruction-giving managers create uncaring, robotic teams and eventually convince themselves that no one CARES why these things are important. Because ultimately, the answers to the above questions boil down to “… because that will help the business succeed!”
Leading by simply giving instructions conditions staff to never care about the business succeeding. Leading by communicating clear rationale reinforces the idea that we’re all here – and we all win – when the business succeeds.
It’s easy to connect the dots: Business success means better bonuses, more flexible hours and better perks for your team. A business that’s killing it, is a fun place to work.
That’s the greater “why’. That’s the reason every instruction needs to be complied with swiftly. And yet so few managers ever share this true reasoning with their staff – choosing instead to imply that “because I told you so” or because “that’s what you’re paid to do” is reason enough.
If you want staff who do enough to keep their jobs (barely) then that works fine. If you want staff who care about growing the business, then you need to communicate the truth: That the quality of their actions is what makes this happen.
Rational – The Power of Why – is the game changing technique that will revolutionize your management. People crave reason and are inspired by rationale. Give it to them. They will pay back the effort tenfold.
For more information on the power of rationale go straight to the source: Check out Simon Sinek’s acclaimed TEDx talk on the topic.
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