by Kate Nasser
Leaders always ask me: How can we develop a sense of urgency in our employees?
Many think employee urgency comes from employee connection to the vision and those affected. For example, if customer service employees understand the company vision and the customer’s desire or dilemma, they will show urgency and attention.
This is true with self-motivated high achievers. They see the deep connection in everything they do and that drives the urgency.
With many other employees, clarifying vision and asking for their ideas is not enough for leaders to engage employee urgency. Leaders must develop a deep connection to these employees to engage their urgency. To do this, it’s critical to be clear on what urgency is and isn’t!
Employee urgency is not:
– Purely high levels of activity, chaos, or recklessness
– Jumping at the leader’s command
– Rogue independence
Employee urgency is:
– Initiative in questions and actions to reach the vision and
– Interdependence and collaboration as needed to reach the vision together and
– Keen awareness and adaptation to conditions to reach the vision and
– Continuous learning for readiness and innovation
How can leaders engage employee urgency in those who are not self-motivated high achievers?
– Highlight how their individual talents matter to you and the organization!
– Ask them what personal identity they aspire to and discuss how they will connect that to work.
– Spark discussions among team members to ignite their interest in each others’ talents.
– Express honor and respect for urgency and those who display it.
– Applaud the actions of urgency every time you see them to mentor this into a culture.
– Fix the actions that block existing employee urgency like unproductive meetings and endless naysaying. If you don’t, you are saying urgency doesn’t matter. Change resistors and “yeah but” employees can strangle a culture of urgency.
Engaging employee urgency is not a just an enterprise wide five step training program. It takes your deep commitment to creating urgency. It takes your deep connection to the employees to ignite their commitment, urgency, and pride. It takes your unfettered embrace of urgency as THE culture and your mentoring employees to help create it.