Just recently I learned one thing that you can say that will motivate your staff pretty much immediately.
I was something I have never said before, and to be honest, I can’t believe that it never occurred to me to say it.
Just recently I took over a new team, and in situations like that you often come in as an unknown quantity, which can make people a little bit weary, especially if it’s a tough project where the people are under a little bit of stress.
For one of my new direct reports, I knew that they were feeling the pressure and I wanted to see what I could do to help. Unknown to me, they hadn’t been told that I was their new boss. So it came as somewhat a surprise to them, which only added to the stress of the situation.
A few minutes later I over heard them tell someone that “Gordon said he is going to be my new boss”. I immediately stepped into the conversation and said: “actually what I wanted to say was that not only am I going to be your new boss, but I am also going to try and be the best boss you have ever had.”
This was something I always feel, that I would like to be their best boss, but it was never something I had articulated before.
I could see the look of surprise on their face, and they simply responded with an “okay then, I’m glad to hear it.
It was then that I said, “this is why I am asking so many questions, I want to see where I can help you, help to relieve the burden and see if there is anything I can take off your plate to help improve effectiveness”.
Now, I had mentioned this before, but was always met with comments like, “it’s okay I’m good”, or “I will get back to you”.
But this time, armed with the information that I wanted to be their best boss, they immediately came back and said well I could do with some help on this.
I said, “ok, let me see if I can pick this up and run with it.”
They thanked me, and I said, “no problem, as I said I am going to try and be your best ever boss.”
To which they replied, “and I am going to try and be your best ever employee!”
Now maybe you’re thinking yeah right, that’s an easy thing to say. But it wasn’t just that they said it, it was the way that they said it, It was said with authenticity. It was said with a smile, and they left with a spring in their step.
In the space of just 24 hours, they went from being a little wary of me to them being very motivated. And all it took was for me to say I was going to try and be their best ever boss.
One of the other managers who overheard the exchanged looked at me quizzically, and then said “well that’s a bold goal”.
But why wouldn’t you want to try to be the best boss that someone had ever had? And why wouldn’t you want to let them know that?
Don’t you think that that’s something they would be interested to hear?
It sets a positive expectation, a positive vision for how you want to see the relationship develop. It shows that you are committed to being a good boss.
As I said, it’s not something I had ever said before, but having seen the immediate reaction it is definitely something I will be saying in the future.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, is this something you have ever said, or thought about saying. How would you react to someone who said that to you?