In the March/April 2016 issue of EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, Bonnie Horrigan provided tips for building good relationships (see my previous blog) and then tips for developing those relationships into partners. Here I summarize her tips for leaders concerning partnerships.
- Ensure people understand and embrace the organization’s vision. “Explain the benefits that will be derived when the vision is realized.” (p. 139)
- “Create opportunities for others to experience the vision,” to own it.
- “Encourage new ideas about old things and promote innovation.”
- “Extend people the space and authority to do their jobs”. . . thus creating “active ‘partners’ rather than passive ‘employees.’ “
- “Celebrate accomplishments” both big and small, saying thanks “for jobs well done.”
On #1. Employees should understand and embrace both the mission and the vision. The Society for Human Resource Management differentiates mission and vision as follows:
A mission statement explains reason for existence, what organization does, its intent, purpose. "A vision statement describes the organization as it would appear in a future successful state . . . An effective vision statement is inspirational and aspirational.”
My guess is that there are enormous differences here among organizations. Do you have a mission statement? A vision statement? Are they current? Still valid? Do people truly understand the mission? The vision? Are they more than words on a business card or sign? Have you hired, developed, and rewarded to create an environment where people want to be part of achieving the mission and vision?
On #2. Part of experiencing the vision is recognizing those moments, those events, in accomplishing the mission where the vision can be glimpsed. Perception is important here. Without the leader acknowledging or communicating how the current outcome represents what we want to achieve, those experiences of the vision might not be recognized. There will be times when people or teams far exceed current expectations and demonstrate what is indeed possible, the vision. These moments need to be recognized, rewarded, and celebrated.
On #3. This seems straightforward but in my consulting experience it was not. I consistently found people had great ideas to solve problems, to innovate, but management was not receptive. A common remark from managers: “If they had good ideas, then why aren’t they in this job and not me.” Leaders build organizational climates and cultures where people share insights and ideas and are rewarded for them.
On #4. Empowering employees by letting them make decisions can be motivating for many. In Decoding the Workplace (pp. 33-34) I tell the story of a hotel clerk who did not have the authority to make relatively small decisions that would increase customer satisfaction. Her supervisor had approval authority and was often not available. When the hotel became part of a different hotel chain, she was given that authority and her job satisfaction greatly increased – and probably resulted in more satisfied customers. Even so, it should be noted that not everyone wants more authority.
#5 Herbert Shepard had eight “rules of thumb for change agents.” In a 2012 blog I proposed a ninth, Rule IX: Celebrate the moment. It is easy to let moments, big and small, pass by without celebrating when celebrating would have been good. Sometimes leaders fail to celebrate the successes made possible by those they lead. I had an older graduate student who led an organization that had a very successful year. After we discussed celebrating the moment, he realized that he had not done this with his company, that he barely acknowledged the great year before focusing on the next. The next Monday when he went to work, he corrected that situation. They celebrated the moment. Celebrate the moments, large and small, that unfold to you.
Horrigan, B. (2016). Integrative leadership means partnering. EXPLORE, 12 (2), 139-140.
In memory of Bonnie Horrigan. Modified from my blog posted April 1, 2016.
Image, "Bonnie Horrigan", courtesy of the journal EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing
© John Ballard, PhD, 2019. All rights reserved.
Decoding the Workplace “deals with principles and practices that are timeless . . . Is this a must-have for managers and would-be managers? Yes.” Academy of Management Learning & Education, June, 2018.