There are two types of energy managers get from their employees. Compliance energy and commitment energy. Good managers know that commitment energy is the goal.
Employees who perform their work in compliance with the supervisor’s directions finish tasks because they have been told what to do. They do it because the supervisor has position authority. That means they can be fired if they don’t do it. Compliance leads to a decrease in energy for the group and diminished creativity.
Commitment energy comes from employees who want to do the job, not simply because they have been told to. These people are committed because they feel empowered to do the work as they see fit. In most cases, they do their best work because they feel a sense of pride in what they are accomplishing.
There are four things that lead to this commitment energy. A good manager can have influence on all four.
Control – When employees feel that they can use their own judgement and complete a task as they see fit, their commitment increases. Managers need to realize that individuals may not take the same path they would take to complete an assignment, but the end result will often be the same.
Purpose – Commitment increases when employees feel they are completing work that will ultimately help the organization achieve one or more of its goals. Managers should help individuals see the vision for what needs to be accomplished and how it fits into the overall plan.
Competence – Managers should help their people find the right tasks and assignments that will stretch their capabilities and help them develop their skills without burning them out or causing them to fail. Employees need to feel like they have the skills and abilities to complete what was assigned while at the same time not feeling underutilized or undervalued.
Progress – No one likes to work on the never-ending project. Commitment comes when people can see that things are being completed and they are moving toward the finish line. When assigning tasks, supervisors should take a critical look at the time horizons on different projects and tasks. If you can’t see the finish line (or at least some reasonable milestones) consider breaking the assignment into smaller, attainable, chunks.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help move your employees from compliance to commitment, take a look at our Essential Skills of Leadership program.