What about the employee who does just enough work and does it well enough and nothing else? How do you motivate that person to go the extra mile?
The manager wonders of this person, “Why not try just a little bit harder? Why not do just a little bit more? Instead, the manager should explain this “extra mile” expectation to the employee in question, in concrete terms, as regular part of their ongoing one-on-one dialogues.
Often managers balk at that advice: “That misses the whole point! I shouldn’t have to tell them. But should your employees be reading your mind?
Managers often say. “I want this employee to fully meet the formal expectations and even exceed them. And then—on his own initiative—to see what else he can do to help, and then—on his own initiative—to do it!” A better approach would be to explain to them, frequently and enthusiastically, that ‘going the extra mile’ is the expectation.
Start talking about going the extra mile in your regular one-on-one dialogues.
1. Make an “extra mile” list for yourself. What would it look like for you to go the extra mile in your role? After you do your job very well, very fast, all day long. In those extra moments. What are some extra ways you can add value? This will give you a bit of perspective.
2. Ask every one of your direct reports to make an “extra mile” list for themselves.
3. Review each employee’s “extra mile” list. Perhaps talking through it together you will learn a few things. Sometimes managers are surprised to find that items on the employee’s “extra mile” list would have been on the manager’s list of basic performance expectations. Together, create a working “extra mile” list for that employee. Remember, this is always a work in progress.
4. Encourage employees to keep score for themselves on how often they complete items on the “extra mile” list. Take note of those who do and those who don’t score a lot of “extra mile” points. For those who do, provide recognition and reinforcement whenever you can. For those who don’t, ask once is a while, “Why not?”
By making the opportunity to go the extra mile concrete, you give a lot more people the chance to excel in ways they might not have ever come up with on their own. They might not ever have realized it was something they could do or that you actually expected them do to do. Now, you are telling them, “These are concrete opportunities to excel. Go get ‘em!”
Remember, "Sooner or later you get what you expect."
To your greater success,
Peter Mclees, Leadership Coach, Trainer and Performance Consultant
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