leadership

Stop being afraid to ask your people for extra effort

By Cam Upshall, Director & Co-Founder
on September 5, 2019
Calling on your team to put in more from time to time doesn't make you a terrible boss. Otherwise I'm a really really bad boss!
Look, maybe you need to hit a launch date or deliver on a project deadline, and you just can't do it without asking your people to work longer hours or even come to the office on the weekend.

Now, as a business leader myself, I ABSOLUTELY get why you might feel awkward about having that conversation.

After all, no one ever wants to take on more, right and your team are already working super hard. So surely making that kind of request is unreasonable. Not great for your popularity either.

But here's why you need to shift your mindset: People who share your vision are just as committed to bringing it to life as you are. And if you follow my tips on how to approach your team the right way, you'll probably find these conversations are nowhere near as bad as you think.
Don't underestimate your team
The first thing you need to do is STOP underestimating your team. Like - don't just assume they're not interested to do whatever it takes to meet the deadline.

If you've done the hard yakka of communicating a shared vision and common goals, and your people understand how this delivery ties in with the bigger picture, then they should be pretty pumped about getting it done too. My TOP tip here is to make sure your people aware of the individual impact they each have, because as we've talked about before, this can fill them with a sense of purpose, connect their pride with their work and skyrocket their engagement.
Don't just assume they're not interested to do whatever it takes to meet the deadline.
Communicate respect, not demands
It goes without saying, asking your team to work longer hours should be done respectfully and sensitively. Things like setting expectations as early as possible if you suspect extra work might be needed. When you think about it, asking last minute gives the impression that you expect people to change their plans and drop other commitments on command, which is bloody unreasonable and unlikely to go down well. Been there, done it, not great.
Show some flexibility
The third thing is to remember is that even workplace relationships can benefit from the give and take. So when you ask for your workforce to be flexible, show them some flexibility too. If they come in on the weekend, can they turn up to work later on Monday? Or could you give them half a day off during the week? Can they work from home, or anywhere (works well for us)? You want to bring into the conversation something you're willing to exchange for their extra efforts, as this is a way of recognising they're rising above their duty and more importantly, that you're grateful for it.
You want to bring into the conversation something you're willing to exchange for their extra efforts, as this is a way of recognising they're rising above their duty and more importantly, that you're grateful for it.
Don't get too cheeky
While having to ask people to do more occasionally is an unavoidable business reality, you need to step back and evaluate how you've ended up where you are. Did you set an unrealistic deadline in the first place? Or were there unexpected roadblocks that caused delays? Yep even the best leaders fall into these traps.

Having clarity around what you can do differently next time allows you to incorporate these learnings when discussing the extra hours you're hoping the team can put in. It shows you're committed to maintaining a healthy workplace where additional hours is not the norm. Retros are a great place for this type of upfront honesty and "what can we do better next time" discussions.

But let me be clear. Additional hours should absolutely NOT be the norm. Because remember, productivity decreases as more hours are put in. It can lead to burnout and hurt team dynamics if only some members has the flexibility to pitch in.

Look, these are not complicated tips because really, it's not rocket science. The trick is appreciating simple human needs for things like gratitude, respect, a vision for success with meaning and purpose that galvanises your team. Give your people all these and it's a sure fire way to make your people happy enough to do whatever it takes to make things HAPPEN.

If you want a sure-fire way to improve and keep on improving Every.Single.Day, then check out High-Performance Leadership app. It's like having an accountability coach in your pocket. The bit I'm super stoked about is that it gives you measurable results at every level so that you can actually track improvement and growth. Jump over to https://trampolineplatform.com/hpl, get the app and start RIGHT NOW. What are you waiting for?

Interested to find out more? Drop me a line or leave a comment below!

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