This article provided by the Engstrom Institute
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself be irritated with them or be depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” —Romans 12:6-8, The Message
Looking for ways to enhance your employee’s performance and effectiveness? Here are five key strategies.
1. Focus on strengths. First, help your team members discover their strengths. When a gifted person is released to serve out of his or her strengths, it’s powerful. Conversely, when you have round pegs in square holes, it’s a disaster. Buy everyone on your team the breakthrough book, Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.
Imagine what would happen if you realigned all jobs based on team members’ strengths! Psychologists at The Gallup Organization have been investigating the nature of human strengths for over 30 years, and have interviewed over two million people to discover what made them successful. From this research, 34 recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behavior emerged. Gallup calls these patterns, or themes, “the raw materials for building a strong and productive life.”
Team members, according to Gallup, don’t need to possess all these themes, but simply to identify which of the 34 are their most powerful—their “Signature Themes”—and then cultivate them with learning, practice and focus.
Help your team members learn their “Signature Themes” by giving each one the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths. Each book includes a unique website password that allows each person to take StrengthsFinder, a very helpful assessment tool. An email report is returned, revealing the person’s five most powerful themes—and how best to leverage and align these strengths at work.
2. Align work with giftedness. Next, help the members of your team know and focus on their spiritual gifts. Imagine what would happen if (per Romans 12) leaders led, administrators did the administration, teachers did the teaching and mercy-givers poured out the mercy?
3. Draw big boxes. Paul Nelson, a former president of Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (EFCA), once told leaders at a roundtable for CEOs that every boss must carefully define the extent and limits of team members’ authority to act without additional approval. He drew a box on the flipchart and recommended, “Let your team members know how big their box is.”
4. Celebrate success. Build in celebration moments, formal and informal. (This, of course, assumes that you’ve already blessed your team members with clear annual targets, or three to five key standards of performance.) Ideas:
- Present dinner for two certificates to the finance team members when they announce, “Today, for the first time in three years, we have zero payables!”
- Hang a hand-made banner (king-size bed sheets work fine) at your front entrance, “Thanks … for your part in helping us reach our Vision 21 Goal—60 days early!”
- Award an extra floating vacation day—to everyone—to celebrate God’s blessing on your biggest ministry event of the year.
- Skip your next scheduled working lunch and take everyone to Chuck E. Cheese—and buy them plenty of game tokens!
- Hold an emergency 9 a.m. staff meeting and give each person $50 with the instructions, “Thanks for your great work this quarter. Here’s 50 bucks. You must leave the office in 30 minutes, with at least one other colleague, and don’t come back to work until you’ve spent it all. See you at 4 p.m.!”
5. Pray personally. Imagine a prayer wall in your office with photos of each team member posed with their families and/or friends. Grandparents on your team will happily bring in the baby photos—others may need urging. Let your people know you’ll pray faithfully for each of them, the people in their lives, and their many life challenges outside of work.
John Pearson is president of John Pearson Associates, Inc., a management consulting firm based in San Clemente, Calif., that helps nonprofit organizations in vision implementation with detailed execution. In December 2005, Pearson concluded 11 years as the president/CEO of Christian Management Association. Visit him at www.johnpearsonassociates.com
Source: CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE