Thursday, March 25, 2010

Q. As a manager and a leader, what can I do to get the absolute best out of my employees?

A. This is a question that I'm sure many people have, especially in today's turbulent business environment. The good news is that that are some very specific things you can do that can help create an engaged and highly productive workforce:

4    Establish a clear mission, vision and values. Employees need to feel part of something and have a common focus with their co-workers. This becomes the foundation for the development of functional, departmental and even individual goals.

4    Understand that each employee is different. Leverage a behavioral assessment tool, like Predictive Index, to understand one another. Rather than thinking of employees as a single, homogeneous workforce, you need to make it a point to realize the diversity of your staff and the potential inherent in that diversity. Realizing that employees have different needs, requirements, expectations and motivations is the first step to realizing their full potential.

4    Manage expectations. It's important for any manager to lay out specific expectations and benchmarks ahead of the game. Sit down and draw up a plan of action to ensure that you and your employees stay on track. Also, transparency and honest communication will ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4    Provide a challenging environment. If you were placed in an unchallenging and monotonous environment, chances are you wouldn't like it either. Try hard to provide a challenging and dynamic work environment that fosters creativity and excitement.

By taking these steps, your organization will lay the foundation to best ensure that you are getting the most out of your employees and prepare your organization to meet unforeseen future challenges.

Janice Ahlstrom is a partner in the Healthcare Practice of consulting firm Wipfli LLP. Reach her at 414.431.9352 or