Einstein’s theory on building better employees

ManagementEinstein said that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Now he, of all people, should know.

He was 443 pages into his paper titled On the Relativity Principle before he finally mentioned his most popular  equation, E=mc2. Now that took some s’plaining.

So then, simple IS in the eyes of the beholder.

But let’s bring this discussion back to earth, or more precisely, back to building better employees, which is where Einstein’s theory on simplicity takes hold.

Managing people can seem like an amazingly complicated web of cross purposes firing all at once.

Some days, if you sit back and contemplate how to cope with every employees’ needs and desires, it can feel as though the sky is falling after all. Way too much going on.

When managing starts to feel like this, there is a simple way to get the ship back on course.

Simplify the task

There are three questions every manager can ask to help simplify the task of building better employees. They are:

  •  “What two things do I need to do to help you be more successful from now on?”
  • “What two things do I need to stop doing to help you be more successful?”
  • “What two things do I need to continue doing to help you become more successful in the future?”

You're Fired!
(Note: It is always good to ask for two things. Try it. Ask someone “What do I need to do to help you?” and they struggle for an answer. Ask for two things, and they open up and give you a much fuller response.)

Those three questions can help any manager bring clarity – and a renewed sense of purpose – to their leadership efforts.

Now, science also tells us that every action has an opposite reaction. So, once you have a clear understanding of what employees need from you, it’s also important that they have a clear and  focused picture of what you need from them.

Here are five things to help you simplify that list.

  1. Positive Attitude: “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”  — Walt Whitman
  2. Dependability: “Ability without dependability has no value.”  –Unknown
  3. Continual Learning: “Life was to him a school.” — From Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  4. Initiative: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”  — Vincent Van Gogh
  5. Cooperation: “We all do better when we work together. — Bill Clinton

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Comments

  1. Mike Harvey says:

    Einstein also had enough humility to admit it when he was wrong. His original theories were based on the Milky Way being the totality of the universe and a stable structure. He called this The Cosmological Constant, and it was an integral part of his math. Edwin Hubble pointed out that Einstein’s cosmological constant was in error based on observing multiple galaxies moving away from each other. With this new paradigm, Einstein corrected his math, leading to the work that makes up part of the bedrock of modern physics.

  2. Great insight, Mike. Thanks. It sometimes takes humility to move things to the next level.

  3. Well said Mike; Einstein was indeed a man of dignity and deep humility.

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