Sunday, October 7, 2007

What Makes People Tick?

I have realized one glaring flaw in all the big shots that have managed to turn me from a high performing employee to a Turtle at Work. They don't understand the human element! What do I mean by the human element you ask? In short, it's what makes people tick and what drives each individual.

Let's face it, most people really don't want to work. How do I know this? Take a look at the number of people who play the lottery each week. People don't want to work for the most part, but they have to. Why? To support a family or lifestyle that they like. To do things outside of work that bring enrichment and happiness. Now I know there are those chosen few who wake up and just love what they do and wouldn't trade if for the world. Bravo to you, you are the .001% of people who feel that way. The other 99.999% must grind it out at a job that is not full filling to them, but pays the bills.

But back to what makes people tick. One of the most important factors of leadership is understanding people and what drives them. You'll hear the saying "leave your emotions or home life at the door" when you come into work. This statement was made by one of the moron big shots that just doesn't get it. We are human beings damn it! When there are situations going on in your life it is impossible for most to separate work from home.

I've had employees that were high performers and suddenly their performance began to drop. As a leader that understands the "human factor" I understand that behavior is driven from a root cause. Great employees just don't suddenly become horrible. There is a reason for this change in behavior and it's the job of the leader to identify it and help the employee get back on track. When I have had this situation I have talked to the employee to try to get to the root cause and then worked with them and tried to help them. Basically I cared about these people as individuals, tried to understand what was going on, tried to help and as a result got them back on track. If you care about the individual the worker will emerge and be better.

The clueless manager will not handle the situation this way. The manager that does not understand the "human factor" just sees an under-performing worker that needs to be disciplined. They'll call the employee in and issue a warning or discipline and feel great about what they've done. Meanwhile the employee feels like their manager does care about them, and continues to spiral downwards. Eventually the employee is probably disciplined further, demoted or fired. It doesn't have to end like that if the manager understands people.

We are all humans (except for those few aliens living amongst us...LOL) . Far to often poor managers forget that fact and overlook what really drives people. A good manager understands what makes a person tick and tries to get to the root cause of behavior changes that impact performance. We all have problems outside of work that influence us at work. I just wish some of the clueless morons I report to would realize this. They don't and probably never will, which is why I'm a Turtle at Work instead of a Wolf.


OMG.... I love your blog. I found you on a local newspaper comment and had to add you to my favorites list. Keep them coming, so I can make it through the day.

OMG.... I love your blog. I found you on a local newspaper comment and had to add you to my favorites list. Keep them coming, so I can make it through the day.

Thank you. I appreciate the comment. What local newspaper did you find my blog link on? If you don't mind me asking?

Turtle King

I found your site via a comment you left on a Amelia Howe's pregnancy blog on the Reading Eagle site. You left a comment about the 17 lb baby born in Russia. The smart@$$ed remark caused me to check out your blog. Glad I did. Shared it with a couple co-workers too.

Thanks for responding. Yes..that's me! That was one big baby! LOL. I appreciate you spreading the word about Turtles at Work.

Turtle King

Your writing is very spot on regarding work situations and examples. I in the the throes of becoming a Turtle and I stumbled upon your blog while researching new jobs on Monster (not sure I got from one to the other), but after reading couple postings/topics, I am actually NOW in a GREAT mood. You are so witty. I love the articles. Keep it up.

Turtle job hunting in the Caribbean...

Thanks for the comment Caribbean Turtle!! As a Caribbean Turtle you hopefully have nice sunny, warm weather! As opposed to a Northeastern Turtle like myself that has to deal with cold winters.

Feel free to post on our guest map. You'd be our first Turtle from the Carribbean on the map. You can remain anonymous or name yourself Carribean Turtle. You don't have to fill out every field on the guestmap part.

Thanks again for your comments!!

Turtle King

Hi Turtle King,
Saw your posts in the Crazy Boss section of ... love them! Clever and entertaining ... I feel like I'm reading a reality version of "The Office" - great!
Finding unsatisfied others is a new thing for me ... and it's helping quite a bit :)
Anonymous AKA "Disappointed88" on Monster boards

Thanks Disappointed88! I'm glad to see some monster board folks coming on over to Turtles at Work.

It would seem being unsatisfied or discouraged at work is more common than most would think. Hang in there and know there are many Turtles out there like you and I who deal with crap day in and day out.

Turtle King

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