7 Simple Actions for Success that Great Leaders Know

Engaged teams really do want to make their company successful.  Companies know that if their employees succeed, then in all likelihood the company will also succeed. This concept is as old as time – it is called a symbiotic relationship.  When two organisms of different species “work together,” each one benefits from the relationship. There are many examples in the animal world, like birds eating ticks and insects off the body of a water buffalo – the birds gain food and the buffalo gains much needed pest control.


Symbiotic relationships also exist in the business world, and a company culture that engages employees will foster and develop this symbiotic relationship. If the management team is committed to follow through and implement just seven simple actions, then an engaged workforce will emerge and become the partner in the symbiotic relationship that the company needs to thrive.


Engagement brings about an environment where employees act symbiotically, where they succeed and the company succeeds.  None of these seven actions are difficult, though some may surprise you; it just takes a strong commitment and a strategic plan to make it happen.


  1. Foster a respectful environment 

    Conduct an exercise with your managers; ask them to think of a manager they respect and brainstorm for the characteristics that they say make them respect that manager, then compile a list. I’ll bet you will find things like: honest, respectful, fair, good communicator, shows appreciation, teacher, trusting and trustworthy, results oriented, calls me by my name, takes time for me, good listener, has a sense of humor, is a planner… and the list goes on.If your manager can develop a list of what caused them to respect someone then why don’t they use that as their guideline of how to treat people with respect? In his book, Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with The Principles of Respect, Dr. Paul Marciano emphasizes that while recognition and rewards are good, they don’t foster long-term meaningful results.

    It should hopefully come as no surprise that basically everyone just wants to be treated with respect and dignity, so building an environment that reflects those principles will create more long-term success for your company.



  1. Promote and encourage open communications
    John H. Mc Connell, founder of Worthington Industries, said that one of the reasons for the success of the company was their ‘unique’ management system, simply, “We talk to one another.”Employees like to know what is going on in the company. If they have valid information they can use it to make decisions that will help the company. All managers need to be good communicators and be clear about what they are saying. Don’t blow smoke up people’s shorts, and speak from the heart. Speak with honesty and sincerity and your people will respond in kind.


  1. Make sure that you and your leaders use the common niceties in life
    This might seem incredibly simple, but get back to using “please”, “thank you”, and “I appreciate that” in your daily work life. We need to get away from always telling and start asking. It cost nothing and gains so much.


  1. Know your people
    They are all different – age, gender, religion, ethnicity, political motivation, etc.  Take time to find out what is important to them. Why do they come to work? What do they do for leisure? Do you share common interests? Have a meal together and figure these things out. Not only will you often uncover talent, but you’ll bond with your people.While coaching at Notre Dame, Hall of Fame football coach Lou Holtz used to end a weekly team meeting by asking “Does anyone need any help, need a ride, need a tutor?”.  His theory was that those who help others are helped the most, and you can see this premise at work in successful businesses around the world today.


  1. Be a good delegator
    Engaging leaders understand the value of delegation; they give employees opportunities to be involved in important projects. Not only do employees learn and contribute, but they become more engaged and invested in the overall good of the organization.Ask for employees’ ideas and encourage critical thinking. Make sure to follow up on ideas and communicate with employees which ones will be pursued and why. But most importantly, don’t be afraid to let an employee tackle a new task. Not only will they build skills, but also confidence, and a stronger sense of being part of the team.


  1. Be involved in the community and encourage others to do the same
    Employees of all ages enjoy working for organizations that are involved in the good for the community. Speak positively about donating time and talents to help in community endeavors and offer your employees the opportunity to be teachers and coaches.When your good employees get involved in the community, they will also be spreading a positive message about your organization. This is one of the best branding tools available, and it benefits everyone involved.
  1. Include spouses and families as much as possible
    Spouses and families offer support and encouragement. If they feel included in communications, learning opportunities, brown bag lunches, or open houses and picnics then they will be more supportive and positive about the company.I have known many employees with excellent attendance records who give a lot of the credit to their spouse who encouraged them to get up and out the door because their company loyalty had also been fostered.


The above seven ideas might look as if they could be simple to adopt, but it takes a coordinated commitment by a company and its leaders to turn them into actions. Others will look at this and think they will be just too difficult to accomplish. To those people I say, just give them a try, you have no idea what symbiotic relationship you could be missing out on.


And remember, as Jon M.  Huntsman said in his book Winners Never Cheat, “The surest path to success is the one where others walk with you.”


Performance Evaluations: Are You Doing it Right?

With annual performance evaluations for 2014 drawing to a close, I thought it would be a good time to visit how well your company’s leadership performed. Did they use this critical time to invest in building meaningful relationships with your employees?  And did they design a blue print to improve employee engagement for 2015? To figure those questions out, let’s reflect a little deeper on the following:


  • How important is one of your employee’s annual evaluations? To you? To them?
  • How well does your company’s process work? Does the evaluation contain performance measurements? Can you measure key behaviors that drive performance? Was there a section on planned development? And were the evaluations completed on time?
  • During your evaluation, did you effectively connect performance measurements with the behaviors that actually drive performance? How difficult was it to “objectively” discuss the employee’s behaviors in the context of their overall job performance?
  • What was the spirit and intent in conducting the review? How comfortable were you in conducting the evaluation? Were you an effective communicator and coach in this process?
  • What was your objective of having the review?
  • What did you accomplish?

In an effort to answer these questions and measure how well your company performed in conducting employee performance evaluations overall, I suggest we use the Gallup research that was conducted to measure the levels of employee engagement in the work force. You may recall that they have surveyed in excess of ten million people to arrive at some fascinating and useful findings that connected employee engagement directly to profitability, productivity, employee retention, quality and service.


So, if we were to conduct a survey of all of your employees who recently received their annual performance evaluations, how would they respond?  Because they are tested and proven, we’ll use some of the Gallup survey questions to really measure how well you did when performing the evaluations.

Gallup suggested that when measuring the core of a strong and vibrant workplace that, “Great Managers” ideally should get each of their employees to respond, Strongly Agree to each of the following survey questions:


  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

So how well do you think your employees would respond to these six questions? Was the time and energy that you devoted to conducting these evaluations an investment in or a cost to your organization?


Often when Personnel Profiles, Inc. works with a client who has people issues and concerns, we use these six questions to measure leadership’s commitment to investing in their people relationships. We simply ask the owner and his/her leadership team, independent of each other, to grade their own level of organizational effectiveness in addressing each question by using an A, B, C, D or F grading scheme.


I highly recommend that you consider doing the same when evaluating your organization’s performance of conducting employee performance evaluations, as well as maintaining or increasing the level of engagement overall in your work place. Remember that “Talented employees need great managers, how long employees stay and how productive they are while there is determined by their relationship with their immediate supervisor.” – “First, Break all the rules”, 1999


As a part of the services we provide at Personnel Profiles, Inc. we have been able to streamline and turn around the stagnant assessment process at many companies and provide them with verifiable results that were a true investment in their people and their future.


One such District HR manager from UPS reflects, “I still recall the difficulty I had in getting our managers to complete annual evaluations on time, as well as doing a thorough review of their people’s performance. They agonized over the connecting of behaviors and performance. The problem stemmed from their inability to objectively measure behavior. They were O.K. with quantifiable performance measurements, but struggled with connecting a person’s failure or achievement of their measurable goals with something they were or were not doing behaviorally. Personnel Profiles’ assessments provide valuable insight into a person’s behavioral DNA, giving our management more useful information from which to complete these evaluations”.


If you’re ready to finally make those annual evaluations effective, Personnel Profiles, Inc. is committed to partnering with you to find solutions that meet your needs and grow your business!