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People are My Biggest Barrier to Success

For my team and I, who spend most of our time supporting owners and managers of manufacturing businesses with their ambitious plans, we find that 70% of the barriers in the way of them achieving success are people related. If this is the same for you, this article should provide some comfort. Believe me, you’re not on your own.

We get it. It’s frustrating, disappointing, and really infuriating at times. There are no end of things that push your buttons when it comes to people problems.

Here are some typical examples we hear on a regular basis:

  • People not doing as you expect
  • Senior managers not up to the job they are being paid to do
  • Departments under performing with no plans to improve
  • People crumbling when things get hard
  • A general lack of common sense

Sound familiar? Read on…

There is no doubt that if the type of things mentioned above didn’t happen, you would have less problems to deal with, an easier work environment, happier customers and you would be much more profitable. This is all true.

So, what have you tried so far to address the problems? You must be reasonably proactive if you’re reading this article.

Maybe, you’ve tried a few of these:

  • Sat down with people to clearly explain their role and what you expect of them
  • Put up performance management boards to track performance (and highlight improvement areas)
  • Provided mental health awareness training
  • Offered a pay rise or bonus as an incentive
  • Monthly briefings on what is going on in the business

Puzzling isn’t it. You’re introducing a lot of best practice that appears to be working for other businesses, but for some reason it’s not working for you. Well not as well as it should. You’re probably experiencing a slight improvement, but not what it could be.

Firstly, this is normal. We experience this a lot and understand the problem. Secondly, which is hard to hear for a lot of people, maybe even for you. Drum roll please! You are probably part of the problem. Oh dear. Spoiler alert. Did I say that out loud? You, yes you reading this article. You are potentially at the root cause of the people problem. Especially if you have done lots of nodding and yessing as you’ve read through the article so far.

It’s not the solutions that you’ve tried so far that are the problem. All the best practice solutions do actually work. Being clear with your team about expectations, measuring performance, training, good communication, incentives are all good tools to help solve problems. But what I’m suggesting is that you are not solving the right problem. Solutions to the wrong problem very rarely work. Mostly not. There is a magic ingredient to leading people that is missing, that could help you break through many barriers at the same time, leading to game changing results.

There is a magic ingredient to leading people that is missing, that could help you break through many barriers at the same time, leading to game changing results.

The magic ingredient is – understanding people. Simple? I know, not at all simple! You’ve spent most of your life avoiding the “touchy feely” people stuff and it pops up in an article you thought would be focused on providing a quick fix. Unfortunately, there is no getting away from understanding people when you lead a business.

People are emotional beings (even some engineers), and our feelings can and often do lead to us experiencing amazing emotions, such as, being happy, fulfilled, excited, confident and proud. But feelings can also lead to people experiencing not so good emotions, such as, being scared, anxious, sad, rejected, angry or hurt. And I know which feelings I would like to experience most often.

I want you to read this next question and put the article down after you’ve read it. Agreed. Take 2 or 3 minutes to reflect before you pick up the article and read on. OK, here goes, how do you make people feel? Now put it down and reflect. Don’t read on yet. Have a think to yourself. What is it like being on the receiving end of you? How do you make people feel?

Stare at this while you reflect…

Maya Angelou said…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When people hear this quote in relation to how they lead people, it can stir things that help to unlock the magic ingredient. It forces them to reflect on their interactions with people and whether they are building them up or chipping away at them.

How did your mini reflection go? Are you curious about the magic ingredient? Hopefully, that’s a big fat yes, because the results when you get it right can be game changing:

  • Happier, healthier, more fulfilled people have higher sustained levels of motivation.
  • Companies in the top 25% of employee engagement scores have twice the annual net profit than those in the bottom 25%.
  • Organisations in the top 25% of employee engagement scores experience 18% higher levels of productivity than those in the bottom 25%.
  • Companies with higher levels of employee engagement show a 40% lower turnover of staff rate than those with low levels of engagement.

So, what next? The possible results look good. You appreciate you need to change something. It may have something to do with the magic ingredient and understanding people and their emotions better. (It probably does, and you know it).

How about this as a starting point. Start by assessing yourself against a set of criteria, that we know from decades of experience will bring the game changing results highlighted above? And here’s another juicy bonus for you.

We are offering a free Self Awareness Assessment to download for owners and managers of manufacturing businesses.

Why is it free? Because manufacturing is our passion and where we want to help make a positive difference for leaders in this sector. And having done this so many times before, we know this assessment and approach works in manufacturing.

Start by downloading the free Self Awareness Assessment. It will provide a clear indicator of where you are now and where you need to focus to develop yourself.

Fill out the one-page assessment and then set yourself a little plan to work on by answering the following questions:

What are you doing well, that you could do more of to make people feel great?
What do you need to stop doing that is causing negative feelings in others?
What do you need to learn more about and start to do more of to help engage your team?
Great stuff. You’ve got yourself a personal development plan that will help to make your team feel better and will lead to better results.

Would you like us to help you?

If you are looking for some help with your personal development as a leader or you’re interested in sharing ideas with like-minded manufacturing leaders on a regular basis, please get in touch for a free no obligation discussion. We help people like you break through the boundaries of possibility via 1-2-1 mentoring, peer groups and high impact training programme’s.