Over the years I have been working for some of the biggest names in retail and was fairly successful.
I delivered objectives that I was given, and my superiors liked it. My scorecards looked great and I received nice bonuses. So why do I say that I was fairly successful? Even though I did well, I was never able to enjoy success. One target was hit but the next day another target arrived. Everyone got so caught up in chasing new target and forgot about all the great results from the day before. I had to start all over again.
I quickly realized one of the most important things in my career. Everything that I need to do actually depends on others?! If you are manager that has direct reports, you probably are not the one that actually delivers results. It is your people that do. Of course you are responsible for the results, but you are not the one that actually produces them.
Once I realized that I depend on other people to do my job better, I’ve started to seriously develop my people skills. Soon enough I’ve noticed that not only my results were getting even better, but that engagement of my team also went up. I was able to turn people that were disgruntled and negative into some of the highest achievers. And even initiatives that I rolled out were successful. Apparently people liked them… Many were happy to take on extra responsibilities, to put in extra couple of hours and even provided their ideas on how to make it better.
Overall, people were happier at work, took less of their work home, and were happier at home. Even more importantly, I’ve had something to reflect on and find personal satisfaction. I was able to help people develop and grow. I was able to actually touch people’s lives and make them better. Holly smokes! I was influencing peoples lives!
How cool was that? I loved it.
Over the course of my career, I was able to repeat this several times and in very different environments. It worked with teams of 15 people and teams with over 250. One thing is for sure, engagement is contagious.
At the end of the day, I was no longer focused on my targets as much. I was focusing more on my people. Please do not misunderstand me. Results, targets, sales, numbers deadlines… they are all very important. If you do not get results in business, you will not be perceived as successful. Just do not focus on managing them. After all they are only the output of the work that you and your people put in. Focus on right behaviours and the output will be there. Create an engaged team and all your results will come along much easier. The job has to get done, but we may as well smile while doing it.
I know that I oversimplify things, and it is much easier said than done. There is a lot of energy and effort that needs to go in inspiring and engaging people. But if this is done right, it can be very rewarding.
At the end of the day, if I could give you an advice it would have to be this:
In a year from now, no one will remember your “numbers” or “achievements”, but relationships you create in the process could last you a lifetime!
So make sure they are the good ones.