Employees can be either grow players, those eager to grow and learn from you, or role players, those great at what they do and are eager to do it.
If you are like most business owners, you have a handful of grow players and a lot of role players. This is perfectly normal and it makes a lot of sense. That said, I wanted to give you some tips on how to get the best performance out of the role players on your team.
1. Know what matters most to them.
Let's say you have an employee, Emily, who comes to work every day, does what is asked of her without complaint and at 5 o'clock, she clocks out and goes home. She is a great employee and you hope to keep her on your team for many years to come.
One way to do that is to find out what matters most to her. What does she value? What is important to her? Is she married? Does she have or want a family? Does she care about the environment? Is she passionate about a certain hobby? Does she have a particular goal she hopes to achieve in the next year? Finding out what your employees value and making an effort to connect and let them know that you care is important to keeping your team members happy.
2. Know what they hate.
Similar to learning what they love, you must learn what they dislike. Is there a certain job or task that they hate? Is there a particular client they don't want to work with? Do they hate it when people are late or messy?
While it may be impossible to remove all the things they come into contact with in a day that makes them unhappy, you can consistently work to remove these elements from their job life. When that is impossible, be very appreciative of the things they do for the team that has to get done but that they don't enjoy.
3. Don't take them for granted.
What is going on in their lives? Keep a lookout for life stresses that, left unspoken, might cause them to leave. Acknowledge and appreciate them. Treat them with courtesy and respect. It is never acceptable for your in-spite-of behaviors to pour out on them. If this happens, apologize and don't let it happen again.
4. Don't over-coach them.
Role players are hesitant to learn new things and don't like to be pushed. Be careful about over-coaching them. Focus the majority of your feedback on the job to be done. The more competent they are, the more you need to give them a voice in how things get done. Just be careful about pushing them into a role they do not want, like managing or supervising others.
5. Don't push them to be who they are not.
If they do a good job, it's easy to start giving them more responsibility and tasks. You know that they are good at what they do. But if they don't want to be pushed into another position, doing so will ultimately sour the relationship and cause them to look elsewhere. Instead, support them when you can and appreciate them for the role they play in your company.