I hear so many managers talk about how they want to ‘fix’ their employees.
They say thing like…
- I want to make them more motivated.
- I’d like to figure out how to make them perform at a higher level.
- How do I get them to be more engaged at work?
- I want to make them get along better.
We cannot make our employees be or do anything.
We can’t fix them. It’s not our job.
I do believe we all know and understand the idea of not being able to fix another human being. But, sometimes that logic escapes us.
First of all, fixing implies that something is broken.
While you may have employees who do or don’t do what you want, that doesn’t mean they are broken and require fixing. People are who they are.
It’s not our job to fix anyone.
Take that one off your list!
The sooner we can get really clear about this, the less frustration we will experience.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to support our employees in developing the skills they need to improve.
And improvement is specific to the tasks and goals at hand.
Our role as leaders is to outline expectations, provide goals and support and tools to do the work.
If employees are unable to achieve their goals, with ample investment of development,
Then the role may not be suited for them.
There’s no fixing necessary.
But we can’t know if they can or can’t if we don’t invest in development.
As leaders, instead ask, how can I help develop my employee?
What skills or thoughts does this employee need to develop in order to be more successful?
Development is a process.
It isn’t a one and done conversation.
Especially when we are talking about a significant skill or behavior change.
Development is ongoing and may take a long time.
Fixing means you think you should be able to tell someone what to do and they’ll just do it.
Over and done.
That doesn’t work. It may feel good for you, but it doesn’t lead to improved, sustainable performance.
Development invites you to a more substantial commitment for everyone involved.
It requires your time.
And it requires that we all recognize that people are doing the best version of themselves that they know how.
People don’t need fixing.
People benefit from developing.
To do so they may need more from you.
The benefit of your time, insight and support.