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Quit Whining and Motivate Your Team

Quit Whining and Motivate Your TeamWho knew you could turn "suck it up and quit complaining" into a franchise. Well, Jon Gordon, author of Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture, The No Complaining Rule, and others, has done just that.

In a recent post, he offers a dozen dos and don'ts to help managers and employees improve productivity by avoiding workplace negativity.

According to Gordon, negativity, complaining, and pessimism are "now the norm in a lot of workplaces" and I generally agree. You folks know how much The Corner Office despises whining and complaining.

That said, I'm more than a little concerned that folks might get the wrong idea and think that avoiding negativity and complaining means be nice, be PC, and avoid constructive confrontation. That's certainly not the case and I've added some comments to Gordon's 12 Dos and Don'ts to drive that home:

  1. DON'T: Let negativity be your go-to response. DO: Respond constructively when someone offers up an idea. That doesn't mean you should sugar-coat what you really think or passive-aggressively say you agree with something you disagree with. Just try to be constructive about it.
  2. DON'T: Give in to the temptation to whine. DO: Push for solutions. Amen, brother. Not only does whining annoy the hell out of everybody, it takes the place of what you should be doing, and that's solving workplace problems.
  3. DON'T: Leave vicious voicemails or send critical emails. DO: Suck it up and have tough talks in person. Way too many managers and execs send flame mail without ever thinking about how intimidating and frustrating it is to be on the receiving end.
  4. DON'T: Overload your team with Monday morning emails. DO: Consolidate your communication. Hatred of Monday mornings is universal. If you really want to demotivate your team, send them a stack of emails over the weekend.
  5. DON'T: Confuse activity with progress. DO: Set goals and hold yourself and your employees accountable for results. All managers set goals; few truly hold themselves and their teams accountable. Which is sad because that's the most effective way to improve performance.
  6. DON'T: Let sub-par work slide. DO: Institute a zero-tolerance policy for low performers. When you let poor performance go unchecked, you risk that becoming the new normal for your group. Folks will think, why bother?
  7. DON'T: Assume others have all the information they need. DO: Make sure the right people are in the know. When I'm under pressure, my communications skills notoriously deteriorate. Nothing frustrates and demoralizes good employees more than when being expected to know what to do while lacking critical data.
  8. DON'T: Allow disorganization to impede productivity. DO: Make an effort to keep up with stuff. Chronic disorganization will drain your team's energy. Don't let everything fall apart when you're on the road. Put somebody else in charge.
  9. DON'T: Sacrifice quality for expediency. DO: Take the time to do the job right. Quality 101: Do it right the first time! It takes longer to do it over.
  10. DON'T: Let unmet deadlines throw everything off track. DO: Set reasonable deadlines and hold people accountable. When your team is chronically missing deadlines, it means something's wrong: you're either setting unreasonable goals, you're overloading them, or they're not motivated. In any case, it's a management problem.
  11. DON'T: Move onto what's next before acknowledging what's happening now. DO: Express appreciation and admiration as appropriate and in real time. Manage in the present. When employees achieve tough milestones, reward them with praise and give them a break.
  12. DON'T: Point fingers to take the heat off yourself. DO: Take responsibility for your actions. When a leader plays the blame game, it sets a terrible example for employees. Take your lumps with dignity and humility and they'll do the same.
Got any tips to add to Gordon's?
Image: oddharmonic via Flickr
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