The job of a people leader is to inspire employees to bring their personal greatness to work every day and to invest their best in the business, according to Martha Finney in her book The Truth About Getting the Best from People. The book goes on to discuss a range of different topics including employee engagement, motivation, engaged cultures, the leader’s behaviour, performance, creativity, communication and teams.
Many managers continually struggle with the question of how to make the workplace into an environment so compelling that employees can’t wait to get out of bed in the mornings to come to work. According to the author, employee engagement is not created by offering carrots and sticks; it is created by having a mission which employees believe in, making sure employees understand how their work serves the bigger picture, ensuring clear consistent communication, and cultivating high levels of trust and respect.
Another uncomfortable aspect of managing is performance appraisals: there are sound reasons for having a formal feedback system, but the process is usually a dreaded one in which both parties skate around the real issues. The author sees performance appraisals as an opportunity to reconnect with employees in a positive way, inspiring them with next year’s mission and deepening a relationship of trust and mutual respect.
The book is divided into 49 reasonably short chapters or “truths”, making it easy to read, and the writing style is quite engaging. Anyone who has responsibility for managing other people will benefit from reading it.