The saying “a rising tide floats all boats” is thrown around a lot. When it comes to employee engagement, a company that encourages and recognises its employees will almost certainly find itself able to do good work.
There is of course a fine balance between positive forces such as encouragement and recognition and political statements. It can be easy to get caught up in the politics of actively calling out employees for their good work. For these reasons, we will outline how to actively “float all boats”, instead of giving select recognition to employees for political favour.
A rising tide
Building a company culture that allows for encouragement is very difficult. As a manager, it’s very easy to view your role as merely about resource allocation. With this view of management, most roles can seem like having a blanket that doesn’t quite fit over your body; if you move the blanket over, you end up getting a lack of coverage elsewhere.
Of course, this type of feeling as a manager is frustrating. No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you stretch your resources, it always feels like you can’t quite win. The blanket doesn’t fit, and you’re always a little bit dissatisfied.
So what can you as a manager do to help this?
The hardest part in all this is being able to step outside of the management “square” to see what is actually taking place. If you as a manager feel that you aren’t able to stretch your employees to cover everything, then maybe you have a “capacity problem”. A capacity problem occurs when employees aren’t able to work to their full potential, or more broadly speaking, your resources cannot perform their complete workload. Adopting a “rising tide” approach to resource management can help you get the most out of your existing resources.
A rising tide approach simply says that you treat your employees equally, and to focus on the performance of the lowest performing employee. Doing this will enable you to see that you’re not in a position of resource management, but rather in the position of “capacity management”. Reframing this attitude will let you see your people as a collection of persons, and a complete team that can only move if even the lowest performing employee is only fractionally worse than the top performer.
Floating all boats
The way you can create a rising tide culture is to simply “float all boats”. The saying “whatever floats your boat” may be loosely adopted in this regard. Finding a way to cater to the individual persons needs and encourage them in the way that best suits their personality type is far better than using generic terms such as “love your work” and so on.
Being able to cater your management style to all the personality types within your team will allow you to create a rising tide by floating all boats. It can be difficult to do at first, but by actively recognising your employees for their good work, you set yourself up for success in the future.