Every company is a community: with its spaces, roles and relations.
In many cases, simply in terms of hours, the time we spend with colleagues in the office or remote working is actually greater than the time we spend with family and friends.
Like a community, a company also functions well when people are working in harmony, personal and group goals are not conflicting and everyone wants to contribute more.
Organizational Citizenship and Citizenship Crafting
The similarity between society and a company is the subject of much debate, including an important analysis published by the American Psychological Association, which explains how the desire to get involved and “go the extra mile” is a significant driver of success in an organization.
Helping colleagues, volunteering for special projects, doing overtime or contributing with new ideas: all of these positive actions belong to the behaviour set of Organizational Citizenship, usually simply abbreviated to OCB, the acronym for Organizational Citizenship Behaviours.
People begin to act like this when a good reciprocal relationship is established and they feel that they are an integral part of the group. The result is improved trust between team members, positively affecting team productivity, as we have already described in a recent article.
The key factor in this positive cycle is a push that comes from people themselves and not from outside pressure, otherwise the task might become a source of stress and resentment.
According to the psychology this is where Citizenship Crafting should come into play, a kind of “creation of a citizen” with two parties involved: the co-worker and his/her manager.
On the one hand, co-workers need to follow their own aspirations, within the limits of their roles, to improve their job and make a positive contribution to the people around them. On the other hand, the manager’s role is to get workers to develop professionally and become involved according to their strengths, without imposing activities outside of their roles that might clash with individual characters.
How about a few examples? It’s simpler for a shy person to offer to write a report than to speak at a conference. For a salesperson, who’s used to being in constant contact with people, a coaching project might be more suitable than bashing out long analyses in front of a screen.
A tip for managers: how to motivate the team
Citizenship Crafting is a one-to-one task, which takes time and above all a good understanding of the co-worker.
There are however things that can help managers motivate their team, starting with their own behaviour. Here are a few tips:
- Communicate clearly, directly and effectively
This is indeed the key to success.
Always give feedback, both positive and negative. Transparency creates a climate of trust and shows that the manager cares what their team is doing.
Choose your words carefully, so as not to leave room for interpretations and discontent. Being a leader means understanding who you are dealing with and using the right language for the subject and situation.
- Share goals and results
The guiding priority of a company is not a prerogative of the upper echelons. Showing what the future might be and giving constant feedback on results can become the right motivation for a co-worker who is momentarily flagging. Ensure that everyone understands the impact and significance of their effort on overall company objectives. You’ll probably be surprised to discover that they don’t even think about it. To achieve more, a person needs to feel like they are an irreplaceable cog in the machine.
- Become a source of inspiration
That doesn’t mean playing the hero, it just means visibly adopting some of the positive behaviour we just mentioned. Be seen to propose new ideas, cultivate your training constantly and help out whenever necessary.
- Balance fun and seriousness
Being too strict can create a hostile environment, while too much fun risks undermining your authority. Choose the right attitude for the right moment. Enthusiasm derives from fun but also from a decent set of rules.
- Manage time effectively
Your time and staff time. Deadlines too close together or too far apart may make people lose sight of the end goal and in extreme cases lead to problems of burn-out or a creative block.
- Cultivate talent
Good managers are like trainers. They have to push their co-workers and lead them on the path that will motivate them most. Finding a leader in your group will help you find another ally in motivating the team!
- Create a comfortable environment
Make sure the work environment is calm, comfortable, clean and cheerful. Imagine a group of people working in an office with grey spaces, uncomfortable chairs, unsuitable desks or a broken coffee machine. All that can be demotivating. Make sure all equipment is working properly so the team can do their jobs and feel at ease.