Tips on getting the absolute best out of your employees

Motivational speaker Jon Wilks on banishing the 1,000-yard stare from the workplace...

On the latest Down to Business, motivational speaker Jon Wilks outlined what company owners, business leaders and managers should be doing to engage and fire up their employees, getting the very best results for their business.

Here are some of his key suggestions for improving your workplace...

Start With Yourself

"I see too many people who, if they're positions for inspiring or leading or motivating people, they regard a lack of that in their people as the people's fault.

"Often I think they need to look at themselves in the mirror and say 'how am I contributing to inspiring, enthusing and energising those people in the first place?'

"Often motivation for an individual comes from within, but... There's an old expression that a leader's behaviour is infectious. Well, is yours worth catching?

"Set the right kind of example... Come to work and you are high energy and high enthusiasm.

"I'm not suggesting you're bouncing around like Tigger on speed, but you need to project the right kind of attitude of mind and behaviours that are consistent with what you're asking your employees to display to your customers."

Be encouraging rather than dictatorial

"There's plenty of other stuff that you can do to help your employees feel that you're on their side.

"I think the old 'tell, direct and instruct' mantra from perhaps the '80s and '90s is very much yesterday's idea of how you get the very best out of people.

"You will get level of performance out of them by telling, directing and instructing, but the more enlightened manager's today look at enabling, they look at encouraging, they look at positivity, they look at getting the best out of people by reflecting the best things that those people are capable of."

Managing expectations

"The smarter employers realise that actually if they demonstrate a genuine concern for their people and put responsibilty in their hands and encourage and enable and motivate their people, actually they're going to get a better performance and higher result from those people.

"Rather than just telling them what to do.... Getting on their backs when things don't look particularly good.

"That is a very hackneyed way of going about stuff."

Making a boring job interesting

"I've worked in boring jobs. I've been in retail myself, I've worked the eight hour shifts where, from the moment the first five minutes are up, you're thinking 'oh my God, I've only got another seven hours and 55 minutes of this'!

"I know it's tough, but there's a lot of stuff that smart employers can do to help that time pass fruitfully and valuably. You need a clear idea of what exactly we're trying to achieve. That's not what you're trying to achieve.

"It's something that those employees can share a sense of ownership, responsibility and excitement about.
"I always use the 'Wet Wednesday morning duvet' test.

"[On] a wet Wednesday and you're snuggled under the duvet with somebody significant to you, when it's work time do you bounce out from under that duvet thinking 'great, it's time for work' or is it just an endless struggle to somehow get yourself going and take the bus in and you're just hating the very idea of it?

"Often that's because you have nothing to look forward to in that role, you don't know what you're trying to achieve, there's no sense of excitement or purpose or worthiness to what you're trying to achieve."

Dealing with difficult people

"I don't think there's anything as an utterly rotten bad apple.

"We all have opportunities to improve, we all have opportunities to learn and develop. Everybody's interested in furthering themselves, getting the best out of themselves, and the best out of others."

And for employees themselves, what to do if you can't stand your job?

"We're all responsible for the outcomes we get in our life.

"People tell me that circumstances dictate how you feel. No, it's how you react to circumstances that determines how you feel in the long-term.

"If you're utterly miserable in a job, leave it, go find something that you love. Go find something that you can pour some passion into, and enjoy what you do.

"I know it's an old-fashioned sort of a thing, but too many of us are stuck in awful jobs being led by second-rate people who don't understand us, don't value us...

"It's not good for you."

To sum up...

"People – in my experience – leave managers, not jobs.

"It doesn't matter what the company is, what the brand is, what the product is,  if you've got people in a leadership role who are enthusiastic and understand how to get the best out of people over the long-term, then it'll be a thriving business."

For more on Jon Wilks, go to jonwilks.co.uk