Welcome! I hope you found some helpful nuggets in Parts 1 and 2 and are here to learn more. In this post I will explore the remaining domains from Dr David Rock’s SCARF model. So far we have covered Status (S) and Certainty (C), and I trust you have taken time to reflect on how you can integrate this model to fit your leadership approach. Let’s continue…
A stands for AUTONOMY. It sounds self explanatory, yet let me emphasize we all like to feel as if we are in control of the things in our lives. Being in control means we have a CHOICE, and as humans we seek out choices.
When employees are clear about who they are and what makes them unique—a process you can promote through encouraging self-discovery—and they have been educated with an understanding of the corporate brand objectives, they understand how they fit in. When they know how they can apply their unique skills and expertise they know how to create SMART GOALS that align them with corporate goals and vision. This fosters consistent commitment rather than compliance or conformity (which violates autonomy). Each employee needs to determine how they can contribute to the corporate brand in a way that is authentic and allows them to shine, and find meaning for themselves.
My experience tells me this is very powerful. I was part of a team who consulted for an organization that was deemed completely dysfunctional and was riddled with animosity and lack of direction. You can imagine how inspired or loyal the employees were. After suggesting the supervisors get to know their employees by engaging them in conversation and supporting them in identifying and integrating their personal brand to that of the organization, they did just that. They held a retreat and facilitated a self-discovery process whereby the employees identified their personal goals and then focused on how they meshed with the organization’s vision. The results were fantastic—the employees started to see how their personal goals were valued and by pursuing them they would indeed be contributing to the larger picture. They saw how they fit in. In the words of one of the direct reports: he said, “By talking about goals and the things I want to do and realizing now that I do fit in, I am actually motivated to continue to work— AND I am more focused.” Would that not be music to many leaders’ ears?
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THEM FEEL AUTONOMOUS:
1. It is important to avoid micromanaging your employees, instead, EMPOWER them by asking them how they would handle an issue or give them options on how to handle an issue, rather than telling them what they need to do. This is especially helpful in a team environment where autonomy may be more reduced.
2. When possible, enable them to exercise creativity and decision-making without consultation with or intervention by a supervisor.
3. As you continue to get to know your employees, encourage them to learn about and apply their personal brand to the organization’s brand. This will capitalize on integrating their individual traits—their WHY or PURPOSE with the broader corporate objectives.
R stands for RELATEDNESS and refers to how connected we feel to someone or a group of people. We are at our best when we are with people who ‘get us,’ our brains respond favorably–it makes us FEEL GOOD, it makes us FEEL SAFE and also CONNECTED, like the other person is on our side. In the absence of safe social interactions, the brain generates a threat response which causes us to feel lonely and become distrustful which will cause us to withdraw.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THEM FEEL A SENSE OF RELATEDNESS:
1. In any workplace it appears to pay off well to encourage social connections, to share personal aspects. You can be a role model by sharing your vision & experiences with your employees; letting them in on how your journey has unfolded (lessons you learned) within the organization is a powerful way to create a safe space in which trust and mutual understanding can flourish.
2. Have others on the team do the same as above. Having just one trusting relationship can have a positive impact on relatedness.
3. Look ahead and remove obstacles. Commit to helping others succeed by understanding them. Listen to their needs, concerns and feedback and then share it with senior management or other stakeholders. It is important for employees to know you have got their back.
Take a moment here to reflect on how you can create conditions in which your employees will feel autonomous and relatedness. By choosing and practicing one idea from each domain, your whole approach to communication and engagement could change for the betterment of all concerned.
F stands for FAIRNESS. When we feel we are being treated unfairly, it causes an intense AWAY or THREATENED response. It will send people right into demotivation. Conversely, we naturally become <strong>more engaged</strong> when we feel we are treated fairly.
I have seen unfair play far too many times. I am not saying it was intentional by the supervisor or director, but things such as favoritism, or holding parking lot meetings to which not everyone is invited, or a supervisor telling an employee that they would like him or her to be involved in a project and then when it came on to the agenda, that employee was not included on the team. I have also seen directors praise performance superstars regularly to the exclusion of others. Thankfully, there are ways one can ensure fairness is prevalent in the workplace.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THEM FEEL YOUR ARE CULTIVATING A FAIR ENVIRONMENT:
1. Ensure you are transparent in your communication about business issues. Find ways to interpret, translate and share what the c-suite is espousing.
2. Be sure the ground rules for recognition programs are understood and the criteria is attainable by all. In other words, make sure the same set of game rules apply to everyone.
3. Look for opportunities to involve team members in decision-making–especially the shy and underperforming–and ensure you have a common understanding on how decisions are made.
4. Establish clear expectations from the start and develop a common understanding so people know what they need to do so they can’t claim they have been treated unfairly.
What we have covered in this 3 part blog series is a way to see your employees differently through a lens called SCARF. SCARF has tips that when practiced continuously build rapport that can influence, and inspire your employees. When you acknowledge and accept that your employees may be in a state of stress or feel threatened whether from information overload or because their drivers are being triggered in negative ways and you choose to embrace the SCARF model, you will learn what makes them tick and enhance your capacity to cultivate individual and meaningful personal relationships that reek of “I care about you and you are an important part of our team.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to hear your employees say I work WITH __________, rather than I work for ___________? Cultivating meaningful relationships has the greatest influence on fostering feelings of BEING VALUED, increasing ENTHUSIASM, CONFIDENCE, EMPOWERMENT AND INSPIRATION. The reward is deeper engagement, increased motivation and discretionary effort for your employee, your team and your organization.
Please share what resonates with you from this blog series and what tips you adopt. We would love to learn about your results and what other things you do to enhance employee engagement.
Wishing you the best always and in all ways on your leadership journey!