“Compliance is withdrawn at the first opportunity. Commitment is withdrawn as a last resort.”
For any leader, understanding the distinction between compliance and commitment is key. Knowing when your employees are giving you one over the other is essential. And no matter how regulated your industry or how many compliance policies abound, a committed workforce should always have the majority.
Unless, of course, you enjoy micro-managing, watching your back, conducting overly hyped-up “rah rah” sessions, and living in a general state of paranoia. For the sake of this article, let's assume you don’t and take a look at 3 keys to ensure your employees are really WITH you.
1) Have a clear vision. Seems obvious, right? It’s mentioned in every leadership blog on the planet yet it is so often overlooked or, shall I say, assumed to be in place. Don’t assume it’s there. Rather, ensure it exists because if you don’t, your employees will not have an emotional connection to their work. And that is the linchpin: If you don’t capture their hearts, you will lose their hands.
2) Involve them in decision-making. Understand that it is virtually impossible for you to own the capital “T” truth about your organization. That, instead, every person on your team owns a piece of the truth as they each occupy a unique perspective on your company, customers, and products. Invite those differing, competing perspectives in when making decisions. Not only will you get the decision right for the organization (making you a rock star), you will also keep your teams engaged by making them a vital part of the journey.
3) Keep recognition top of mind. Don’t just wait until a major goal has been achieved or a big account captured to celebrate, say “thank you” on a regular basis for a job well done. Extend your gratitude for the choice each employee makes every day to walk into work and dedicate themselves to your organization’s shared vision. After all, it’s the little things that shape the experience and cement ongoing commitment.