"Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him and to let him know that you trust him"-Booker T. Washington We've posted bad boss horror stories regularly (using company money to party in Ibiza? Really?) and suggestions for surviving work with managers from hell. This week's Incent right story helps you keep the faith and proves there are great bosses out there who inspire peak performance from their employees through trust, care and responsibility; demonstrating that incentives are often intangible and are more about the way your boss makes you feel than what they give you. Robert D. Sollars, president of Sollars Security Shield, shares the positive impact of a trusting boss: In October 2001 I was interviewed for a position as a security guard at First Response, Inc. of Mission, Kansas. The owner and vice president were both formerly Wells Fargo Guard Services management and both knew me, or of me, by reputation and they didn’t hold it against me! I was hired and started immediately as a supervisor on a strike. Over the next eighteen months or so, my boss, Scott Carmony, showed me how to be an effective manager and allowed me to do all the duties I was good at. While I was officially a field operations supervisor, I was tasked with other undertakings such as training all new hires and supervisors as well as fleet maintenance. I also got to sit in on meetings with clients, conduct surveys, handle hiring and turnover and innumerable other assignments that gave me excellent experience.
Scott’s actions and trust in his employees showed me what it means to have an incredible boss but the best thing that Scott ever did was to hire me. I had been beaten down and told I wasn’t worth anything, and had nothing to add to my chosen career field. He showed faith in me as a security ‘expert’ and wanted me on the staff. As he said to me that day, “We need someone like you with a broad range of experience to help us grow.” That was basically all the incentive I needed.
Scott gave us all the motivation to take on as much responsibility as we could possibly handle. He showed faith and confidence in all of us. He even allowed me to make numerous bank deposits for the company. This doesn’t mean much on the surface, but to a person who was constantly mistreated and distrusted by previous managers due to my lack of a college degree, it meant a lot. In addition, practically every suggestion that I made to improve operations was accepted and I was given full responsibility over it. Of course, this was also to ensure that if it failed no one else could be blamed. That was fine with me because Scott had given me the confidence in my own abilities. Due to Scott’s faith in me I was able to institute the first comprehensive training program in the company for both officers and supervisors, start the company newsletter, and re-start the “officer of the month” program. In addition, he allowed me to meet with clients on my own to solve problems and pushed me to conduct security surveys of client properties and find the vulnerabilities in the sites. In one case, it saved the company from bankruptcy because of a lawsuit. I was determined to safeguard the lives and property of our clients and client’s employees, something that Scott allowed me to do. When he assigned us accounts to be our personal responsibility, he gave us free reign to manage them as we saw fit as long as it was within legal, moral and ethical parameters. I took that as seriously as he did and made them my own. Scott often treated us to small perks that meant a lot to various members of the team. To one co-worker, he offered fatherly advice and a shoulder to cry on. To me and another employee he gave football tickets, meals, days off with pay, new stuff for our desks and most importantly, gratitude. First Response took advantage of my skills and experience. I took advantage of their time to pursue my career and interests within the field. Although I ended up leaving when my wife got a better job, I’ll always fondly remember Scott. Sometimes all it takes to motivate employees is your faith in them. You don't need the newest electronics to give out as bonuses, or all expense paid trips. At the end of the day, the people you're employing are human beings and they want to be treated as such. Small gestures like liberal thank-yous, more responsibility and feeling heard go far.
More Small Ways to Incent right
- Paint your employees an attractive picture of the future of the organization and their place in it and provide the rationale why certain goals have to be pursued.
- Give your employees interesting and meaningful work that challenges and vitalizes them. This work should require them to do things differently, with more risk and uncertainty, which gets them out of their comfort zone.
- Set stretch goals for your employees and give them more responsibilities and freedom to schedule their own work, while including the possibility of setbacks that they will have to overcome.
- Provide your employees with the possibility to get into contact with the beneficiaries of their work, i.e. the customers, so they can see the results of their work