Can do spirit missing?

I was talking with an ambitious, caring leader who is frustrated with his people who don’t have the drive to meet and exceed goals. He wants to know what to do when they push back about goals or don’t meet them when they are due.

Can you motivate someone to have a can-do spirit? To get them to want to meet or exceed goals? To do better than just-below-adequate level?

Of course, it depends on the cause for their performance level. Letting them know you believe in them is key. Asking open-ended questions can be quite fruitful.

-What would you need to kick your performance up a notch?
-If nothing stood in the way, what could you do to meet your goal on time and fully completed?
-What could I do or do differently that would help you to do your job even better?

Then, listen. Really listen to what they say. Listen for their tone, their frustrations, their challenges. Their vision for possibilities. What kernel of thought do you hear that indicates there’s more they could say, if given the chance?

Patience as you listen is vitally important. Your tone, your body language, your willingness to listen with full attention is key. Saying, “Tell me more,” lets them know you’re interested. It gives them permission to think. Maybe, it will lead them to trust a little more that you really do want to hear what they’re thinking. “Tell me more” can be repeated multiple times. It will help you to better understand what they think, feel, see in their mind. They may open up about something that surprises you.

While they’re talking, don’t interrupt. Don’t look at your phone, watch or clock. Listen.  

A sincere, “Thank you for telling me your thoughts,” can be a door opener for the future. 

Listening to understand someone better is a first step in helping them to do a better job. It will take time and energy on your part initially, but it can be priceless in the long run.

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