I try to hire Rock Stars. I try to develop Rock Stars.

No, I am not musically inclined at all. And no, I do not work in the music industry.

But I desire to work with a team of fabulous people who enjoy the work they do, bring the best of who they are to work, and actively seek to grow, improve, and contribute. Those are attributes of what I call the Rock Star engaged employee.

Do these people arrive at employment’s door as a Rock Star? Sometimes. But unless leaders know what they are searching for and are conscientious to develop their team members in the 3 A’s, odds are high that even the most ambitious and talented employees will wilt over time.

In order to develop employees into highly engaged, motivated, and progress-oriented team members (and sustain those who already possess those attributes), leaders need to own responsibility. How? Being mindful of the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees can serve as a roadmap for leaders. It’s really rather simple:

3 A’s of Engaged Employees

3 A’s of Engaged Employees

Aptitude – Do I notice hints that suggest what they may be good at? Am I socially aware and in tune with my team members as unique individuals? Am a “student” of my employees?

Ability – Do I develop my people? Am I taking the time to provide external learning opportunities, as well as investing time to train and coach my team members? Am I cultivating their talents, knowledge, and skill-sets?

Appetite – Do I stir their appetite to learn, develop, and excel at various skills? Am I offering stretch assignments and projects? Am I inviting my team members to select those projects they want to dive into?

Very few Rock Stars are simply born. Very few stellar employees just drop into companies or work teams.

As leaders, the more we own the responsibility to find and develop our employees into Rock Stars, the more success our teams will experience.

The next new hire you make – consider the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees.

The next time you go to work, consider your current team and the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees – and what YOU can do to develop each team member’s Aptitude, Ability, and Appetite. This is Servant Leadership in action…knowing, caring, appreciating, and developing your people to contribute to the team’s success in ways that only they can.

Leaders lead through serving their people. A leader’s roadmap to a successful team can begin today with acting on the 3 A’s of Engaged Employees.

Written by Dr. Heidi Scott, who currently serves as a Leadership and Communication Professor, Consultant and Coach, and Director of Training & Development

 

What if there was a simple mental model you could use as a tool to quickly assess the likelihood that the people you lead will be able to deliver what you ask of them?

As leaders, we know that to be most effective we need to “know our people.” Knowing, acknowledging, valuing, and appreciating your people is one aspect of knowing your people. But today we are talking about knowing how each stack up when assessing them using the WAG – the “Willing and Able Grid.”

The Willing and Able (WAG) Grid

The Willing and Able (WAG) Grid

When it comes to increasing the quality and/or quantity of work, putting the right people on the right projects is for sure what we attempt to do. When we are after higher levels or better quality of production, we often prod or gently push our people to grow, develop, and improve. But are they equipped to do what we ask?

Using the “Willing and Able Grid” provides leaders a quick snapshot of your team members – which can then be used to develop your people as you strive to bring the best output of each.

With a certain project, endeavor, or a specific type of improvement you want to see in a direct report, where on the “Unwilling or Willing” continuum would you plot them?

Where would you plot them on the Willing Continuum?

Where would you plot them on the Willing Continuum?

What evidence do you see and hear that causes you to assess if one of your people possesses a heart attitude of willingness or unwillingness to do, grow, or change the way you are asking?

Related to the change, work, project results, or growth you want to see in this team member, what indicates to you that this person is Unwilling or Willing? Think of hitting “Replay” on an imaginary video cam in the corner of all workspaces to review the facts of how this person displays and conveys an attitude of willingness or unwillingness.

Obviously we are looking for “Willing” souls who desire to grow, improve, and take on challenges. So when we assess a team member and find the scales tip toward “Unwillingness,” we may have some potential coaching to do. We may need to prepare and hold a direct conversation about the display of this attitude. That’s when the Replay function of the “camera in the corner” becomes useful. We can share as factually as possible (since a camera doesn’t lie) what we’ve seen, and check our perceptions. Hopefully we can nurture the desire within this team member to grow and improve.

When assessing who the best person is for a project or endeavor, or when you consider a specific type of improvement you want to see in a direct report, where on the “Unable to Able” continuum would you plot them?

Where would you plot them on the Able Continuum?

Where would you plot them on the Able Continuum?

Sometimes when we get focused on the outcomes we are after, we forget to assess the ability level of those we lead. Does she currently possess the Ability to do what I am asking or expecting? Does he demonstrate the aptitude to become Able to meet the expectation?

As you honestly reflect on the ability level of one of your people related to a specific project or aspect of growth, if you find that he may truly be Unable to execute on your expectations today, then you know the responsibility rests on you as the leader to help him develop that ability. You will either need to provide opportunities for this person to learn, develop, and become Able, or you will need to look to others to get that job done.

Finding one of your team members to be more Unable than Able related to a certain project or aspect of growth isn’t a bad thing! This new awareness provides us as leaders the opportunity to design an individualized plan of development for each of our people.

Using the “Willing and Able Grid” allows us to discern if what we are asking our people to do is going to get done! It allows us to discover how we can approach communicating with our people, optimally getting the most out of each of our people – because when our attitude is Willing, and our skill-set is Able, progress is on the horizon.

~ Written by Dr. Heidi Scott, Leadership Consultant, Speaker and Coach      www.LearningPursuits.com

“The job and career you may have today probably doesn’t even exist now,” is something I tell my 2 kids and the college students I teach.

I mean, perhaps the career they’ll have could closely tie to one in today’s current market, but how they work and what they’ll do is something that technology will open the doors to.

For example, the Pinterest phenomenon quickly jumped into the everyday realm of life, relationships, and sharing. A need to save great ideas, likes, interests, and hobbies, mixed with the desire to share them with friends, acquaintances, and the general public human race.

BOOM! Pinterest exploded and found its way into our everyday vocabulary.

Even through my husband of 23 years continues to toss out all sorts of “memorabilia” I found special enough to save due to my sentimental spirit, I recently found something “special” in our attic.

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Yes, I found a 1990’s early model of Pinterest, minus the Internet, that is. In my quest to be super mom when our kids were little, I read and gathered all sorts of crafty ideas to try with them. From taffy to flubber, I posted ideas into a magnetic photo album of kid crafts. And when other “mom-friends” came over, we’d share additional ideas. And they’d jealously gaze at my fun collection of recipes, plans, and pictures to use at a moment’s notice on a rainy day to engage and enthrall my kids.

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Yes…actual “Pins” from Cupcake Decorations to Christmas Ornaments; Circa 1995

When I saw this relic (and before my sentimental-stuff-throwing husband got a hold of it!), I realized that this was my non-tech Pinterest of the mid-1990’s!

It got me wondering, “What do we regularly do now that we enjoy that one day technology will help us do as if it were on steroids?” Who knows? But I look forward to seeing!

And maybe, just maybe, one of my kids or college students will make their living providing easy access for people to do what they love more easily. And I’m betting their work will be done in ways that today don’t yet exist.

What common “non-tech” thing do we do today, that in 20 years will be a regular, household process, known by a catchy name that technology will make possible? Figure that out, design, develop and deploy it…and you’ll create your career and income stream! Ignite your potential with a bit of creative dreaming!

Dr. Scott remains an active Digital Immigrant, forever learning from the Digital Natives in her life. It’s the next generation that teaches her so much! And it’s that learning that helps her be a successful Professor and Director of Training & Development. http://www.LearningPursuits.com

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