|Would you like more discretionary effort from your
If you are a savvy leader, you will plan to give more to get more.
And money is not part of the equation. Most leaders are surprised to
learn that employees can be motivated by factors other than money. To
determine what might motivate your employees to give more discretionary
time, establish a personal but professional relationship with each
You then are privy to information such as:
- Olivia excels in the planning phase of a project. Knowing this,
you GIVE Olivia more opportunities to plan team initiatives. She
enjoys the work, feels self-actualized, and GIVES BACK more
- Phillip is not in management ranks, but is a natural leader. You
perceive he feels frustrated when the project veers off and he is
not in charge. You GIVE Phillip specific assignments where he is in
charge of a portion of the project. He GIVES BACK energy in the form
of moving fellow employees forward to the on-time completion of the
- Tanja loves to learn but is in a job that requires routine
work. Noting this, you GIVE Tanya the opportunity to research a
topic for a coming change initiative. She GIVES BACK by tackling her
routine work with vigor so she will have time left to do research.
Is this imaginative and unconventional wisdom? If you are a manager
prone to managing business as usual, then the answer is yes. But if you
are a manager who recognizes the importance of using management levers
in the work environment to address levels of human motivation, then you
will excel in getting your employees to give you discretionary time.
Doug Ross and I have generated a new model for getting discretionary
effort from employees. In this model, the RossBrandau Engagement and
Discretionary Effort Model, there are five management levers you can
apply to engage employees and earn more discretionary time from them.
Those levers are:
1. Physical safety and security. If you increase the safety
individuals feel in the workplace, they will give their task greater
concentration. Safety applies to physical protection from bodily injury,
freedom from harassment, and freedom from the threat of losing their
job. I once coached a manager who believed the best way to get the
employee to work harder was to keep him under constant threat of losing
his job. It didn't work that way. The employees were so afraid of losing
their jobs that they were in a constant state of nervousness and made
frequent errors. If you GIVE more security, employees will GIVE BACK by
conforming and complying with organizational rules.
2. Social Acceptance. This management lever involves team building,
getting the employees to know one and other on more than a superficial
basis, and accepting employees "as is". "As is" means that everyone has
a bump or a button off somewhere. Helping employees feel accepted as
they are, sets the environment for individual emotional growth. The more
you GIVE the employee acceptance, the more the employees GIVES BACK
stable work efforts.
3. Rational Alignment. Humans are naturally goal seeking creatures.
There is a certain self-esteem that comes from setting and reaching
objectives, and a deep satisfaction that binds employees together when
they are aligned with organizational goals. Working to have employees
rationally and intellectually understand how the organizational or
departmental goals and strategies fit together helps them align their
own personal goals with company goals. You GIVE them the right to
participate in the goal setting process and they GIVE BACK by accepting
the challenge to move goals and deadlines forward.
4. Emotional Commitment. When you GIVE employees security, acceptance
and rational reasons to support your organization, they GIVE BACK
emotional commitment. Discretionary effort is given at grows at each of
the three previous levels, but is greatest if you can obtain emotional
commitment from an employee.
5. Authentic Contribution. This level is a two-way street meaning
that you GIVE great freedom to the employee and permit the employee to
work in a state of 'intrapreneurship'. You GIVE them opportunities to
self-actualize as they freely GIVE BACK authentic contributions and
treat the business as if it were their own.
As you increase the number of employees giving authentic contribution to
your organization, beating the competition and gaining market share is
top of mind. Watch the profit margin rise.