You cannot buy devotion, loyalty, trust, or commitment. You cannot buy hearts and minds - these can only be earned.
It’s easy for a company to buy a person’s hands and feet, but what the organization really needs is its employees’ hearts and heads…
You can buy a person’s hands and feet for $20 or $50 an hour, but that’s all you will get; their hands and their feet, and nothing else. That is a lose-lose situation for both the employer and the employee.
For these employees the best time of the week is Friday night. “Thank Goodness It’s Friday!” Right?They can’t wait to get away from work and forget the place. Their most miserable time of the week is Sunday night. Why? Because they have to return to that hated place the next morning. Sound familiar? Of course it does, you’ve seen it play out often.
A “hands and feet” employee actively looks for opportunities to be absent from work. Given a choice between a dental appointment at 1:30 or 4:30, he will choose 1:30—and then just let that stretch out through the rest of the afternoon. These are the kind of employees you may have to watch to make sure they are not surfing the internet or playing computer games rather than doing their work. Lunch breaks tend to go over the allotted time, never under. And the quality of work from “hands and feet” employees is usually mediocre, at best.
How do you deal with these employees? Do you continuously try to manage hands and feet, or do you try to earn something more? How do you alter their attitude? How do you get genuine commitment out of your people? You must change the focus. It is your responsibility to earn their commitment. Treat them as you would want to be treated, and you’ll get more than their hands and their feet. Consider giving them more support, respect, and trust. Include them in decisions. Ask for their opinions. Listen to them. Help them to feel valued. Then you will begin the process of earning their hearts and their heads, along with the commitment and performance you’re looking for. That is a win-win situation.
“You can buy a man’s time: you can buy a man’s physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour or day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm…you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, and souls. You have to earn these things.” -Clarence Francis
A few points for reflection:
- Any organization can improve the level of commitment that their employees have.
Buying hands and feet is easy to do. It’s the starting point.
- Earning the heart and mind is the real goal. This requires effort by the leader. It starts with viewing the employees as truly valued and respected. That is conveyed to the employees by the attitude and behavior of the leaders.