In a recent Gallup Poll of more than 80,000 American employees, 32 percent self-reported being actively engaged and committed to their work and workplace, while 51 percent indicated being passively disengaged, and a terrifying 17 percent admitted to being actively disengaged and trying to cause problems.
In order to maximize performance, productivity and profitability, you must adjust your leadership strategies to fit the individual and situation. Based on the five types of people I describe in my book “Navigate: Understanding the Five Types of People,” I recommend the following:
High Flyers — Dream employees, High Flyers are extremely reliable, conscientious and driven. Tasks are completed well and on time. They make leadership look easy. All you have to do is assign tasks, give clear directives and provide resources they need. To best lead them:
- Refrain from rewarding them with more work.
- Protect them from burnout by empowering them to say no and keeping them in the sweet spots where they most easily soar.
- Reward them with wages that reflect their outstanding work and occasionally surprise them with things like bonuses, experiences or time off.
Steady Gliders — These reliable, hardworking and conscientious first cousins of High Flyers, Steady Gliders often fly under the radar and are often underappreciated and underutilized. Lift them higher by:
- Mentor them by finding and developing their talents, providing opportunities and sharing your knowledge, skills and expertise.
- Encourage them by reminding them of what they have previously accomplished, affirming their best qualities, telling them you believe in them and that you know they will succeed.
- Acknowledge and reward their courage and efforts as they push themselves and take risks.
Lackers — Underperforming workers who are missing a mindset or skillset needed to be productive and successful, you can help empower Lackers by:
- Identify why things aren’t getting done through conversations.
- Remediate skillset deficiencies by providing additional training and encourage them to overcome mindset deficits by working with a counselor.
- Ensure they come up to speed by providing accountability.
Slackers — Passively disengaged, Slackers force others to work harder. While they may be lazy, far more often they will respond to encouragement:
- Clarify their job and its importance to you, the team and to the company.
- Enforce deadlines that provide breathing room if the ball gets dropped due to their immaturity or inability to accurately estimate how long tasks take.
- Safeguard standards and hold them accountable to doing quality work.
Hackers — Actively trying to cause problems, hidden Hackers drop innuendoes, lie and undermine your authority when you aren’t around. Conversely, overt Hackers create chaos and fear by exploding, attacking, belittling and making snide remarks. Lying, stealing and sabotage are additional tools in their arsenal.
- Solve problems by addressing inappropriate behaviors and clearly state they will not be tolerated.
- Manage problems you lack the power to solve by assigning them less critical responsibilities, having them work from home or not allowing them to interact with customers.
- Terminate them when Hackers refuse to improve.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for leading your team, and each individual who comprises it.