Making sure your people do the Right Thing


Big question for all leaders is “How can I make sure my people do the right thing?”

When leaders I train ask me this question I tend to counter a bit Socraticly asking “What is the right thing?”

It all starts with giving your people the responsibility to make choices and take responsibility and ownership for the choices they make - regardless the outcomes.

“How can I make sure my people do the right thing?”

When I started as a leader myself I thought that what was logical to me, was logical to others as well. Assuming that the choices I was making would logically be made in approximately the same way by my people. Although this sounds a bit simplistic, we all tend to do this - in fact when we dismiss choices others make as “wrong” we judge based on this same principle: “If I were you I would have taken another decision”.

After I realized that - aside from the fact that we are not all the same - we also have different information, perspectives, roles and responsibilities and experiences I became more effective as a leader helping others making effective choices.


“What are you looking for..?”

One situation I remember clearly was when I discovered that one of my people spent a whole morning looking for an email that was supposed to prove that she was innocent regarding a misunderstanding causing a client to escalate. I asked her “What are you looking for..?” as I was waiting for some files she was supposed to have ready. She explained that she was looking for this specific email..

In the coaching conversation following this incident for me it was an epiphany to learn that because she came from a company where people used to constantly blame each other for mistakes and kept themselves busy with telling others that they were “clean” themselves, she was afraid that she might be fired because of the escalation if she could not find the proof that it was not her fault.

Fortunately I was able to explain to her that as a leader I was not so much interested in “who is to blame for what” but for more in “who is to praise for solving it”.

This thought made her turn around completely. Thereafter she became my best working companion in the difficult years to follow where we had to cope with a lot of business and team challenges.

What I took from this experience is the vital importance of Trust and Confidence in your people in order to fight a culture of blaming each other and working in safety shelters. Enabling your people to focus on the choices they make, based on Values and Insights, regardless of the outcomes gives them the freedom to take sound decisions.

That is the way to make sure your people to the Right Thing.

If you want to win as an organization you need to let your People play the Game: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy together in order to establish best results and performance.

About the author

Marja van Soest Activates People and Business partnering with her clients as Executive Consultant, Master Trainer and Coach in Sales, Service and Leadership. Parallel to her business career Marja is a sports trainer specializing in In and Outdoor Cycling. Combining her passion for sports, groups, individual and organizational performance Marja developed the 4 Motivation Keys Activation Model: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy empowering leaders to build a culture of Trust.

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