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Gaining Staff Co-operation

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Co-operation Staff Business Reward

When a manager wants the co-operation of staff, it is vital that they get their ideas across in an open and constructive manner. It is far easier for employees to back a proposal if they know exactly what it is a manager is asking of them.

Careful use of words can allow a manager to keep discussions positive and objective. By making requests in terms of what they want to achieve, rather than in terms of what they do not want to achieve, a manager can state his intentions in a positive way. For instance, instead of saying “we never meet deadlines”, say “let’s get this finished by the end of the month”.

Managers who phrase requests positively and specify the benefits for others, inspire loyalty and action, whereas managers who make requests in a negative manner are often thought of as moaners by staff. This can lead to a loss of respect and make it difficult for management to gain co-operation.

Explain Reasons for a Request

If a manager can explain the reasons behind a request, they are far more likely to gain the co-operation of employees. So, rather than just request an urgent meeting with a colleague, explain how this can get a project moving; rather than just ask for a project to be finished by the end of the week, explain how a client has requested this; rather than just ask to chair a meeting, explain that there are some announcements to be made and rather than just ask for urgent approval of a report, explain how this can allow a team to get started on the project.

When a manager puts forward a proposal, they must focus on only one or two powerful arguments in its favour and concentrate on those. If management tries to highlight umpteen reasons for a proposal, it can result in too many frail arguments weakening the case for the proposal. For example, if introducing a new staff rota, a manager should not try to come up with an extensive list of reasons for doing so. Instead, pick out the two most salient reasons – perhaps it will increase productivity and secure jobs – and make as convincing a case as possible around those arguments.

Get a Positive Outcome

In time, a manager should be confident they can direct a discussion towards a positive outcome and phrase requests in a way that presupposes a successful result. They should be able to emphasise the words that indicate what they would like to happen, and not assume that others will make the connections for themselves.

Be willing to bring contentious issues out into the open and use “we” rather than “you” when seeking the co-operation of others. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before reacting to criticism and remember that a request conveyed with enthusiasm and commitment is more likely to gain the co-operation of staff.

Of course, a business can reward staff and a reward can be a powerful incentive when trying to gain the co-operation of employees, yet a manager can lose respect if only able to gain backing for business proposals by touting rewards.

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