Owning it vs. phoning it in at the workplace

By Susan Mauer, Tampa Bay market president for Axiom Bank

Do your employees show up at work to be an asset, as if they own the business? Or do they show up for the paycheck?

Many times, it comes down to not just the leadership, but how you have selected the people you hire. Most employees, if they are being honest, will say they do not see how their efforts make a difference in a company. As leaders, we tend to hire from a skill perspective rather than thinking about how to form a team. We may have very skilled workers, but we may not have hired talented workers. A talented worker can dance between skills and attributes that they have naturally.  It is not the practice of most companies to judge how the candidate would handle a change in company dynamics, a change in ownership or a change in company direction. We will possibly ask one of those, “Tell me a time when you…” questions, but not to actively see how the candidate responds in real life.

There are a few steps that have been proven to cull out that team member to make your company a place that people want to come to work.  And let’s face it, we are all looking at ways to motivate and encourage our employees to be excited these days.

  • Figure out what attributes you want in that, particular, job.
    1. Make a list of the core attributes you would like to see for the position
      1. Adaptability to uncertainty
      2. How they handle change
  • Do they work well in a team?
  • Design activities, or questions, that will pull out the core attributes you have listed.
    1. Ask ‘out of the blue’ questions such as, “What spirit animal are you?”
    2. Have a group or team exercise to see how they interact with others
    3. Give them a puzzle or a case study to see how they respond

None of these activities have a right or a wrong answer. Again, you are more interested in their response and their attributes.

Prospective employees that will add life to your company, that will have a feeling of ownership, will always have those core attributes vs just skills. Remember, you can always train a skill but never an attitude.

As a leader, you must be consistent to build their trust, and also be empathetic toward your teams. Howard Shultz, founder of Starbucks, said it best:

“1) Speak from the heart, 2) Put myself in their shoes, 3) Share the ‘Big Dream’ with them.”

So, what kind of Spirit animal are you?

Susan Maurer is the Tampa Bay Market President for Axiom Bank. At Axiom, we pride ourselves in our concierge service levels; we bring banking to you. From cutting-edge deposit and mobile products to a commercial suite of lending services designed for businesses of all sizes and in all stages of company life cycles, Axiom is all about maximizing your potential. By providing high-touch value and convenience to our consumers and business clients alike, we live up to our tagline: We Make Life Easier.

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