Do you have that one person in your team who is the constant “Go to “person for anything and everything who doesn’t think twice before leaving his /her work to help you solve your work issues? We all can agree that almost every team has at least one team member who doesn’t hesitate in going the extra mile for anyone on the team without the expectation of any reward. Is that because of the nature of that person? Or can this behavior be encouraged and learned?
Employees have an important choice to make every day – will they perform the basic tasks listed in their Job descriptions or will they go above and beyond the call of duty to do more than what is expected of them. The choice seems pretty simple but isn’t quite as easy to make .However whatever the employee chooses to do directly impacts the organization. An employee who chooses to go the extra mile by contributing more where required, voluntarily agreeing to help his /her fellow colleagues by taking on extra work or by spending extra hours on important projects benefits the team as a whole and with that, the organization effectiveness increases manifold.
Leaders are considered the most likely influencers of employee behaviors and thus are also more likely to play a key role in inspiring employees to adopt a culture of citizenship behavior.
How can leaders encourage citizenship behavior?
Hire the right people – Let’s get the basics right first. You can’t hire a person who is a misfit to your team and expect the person to learn and practice citizenship overnight with the people he /she don’t get along with. The onus of hiring the right fit for the team lies on the leader. If the employees “Fit “well together they more likely to practice citizenship behavior as compared to a team who doesn’t get along well.
Walk the Talk – A leader plays the role of the “Role model “for his/her team. As a leader the ability to practice citizenship behavior by walking the extra mile yourself from time to time will not only inspire the team it will also set an example which will be appreciated and respected by the team members. In simple terms, if they respect you they will follow you! A leader who expects the team to go out of the way for each other while never showcasing that quality himself/herself is bound to fail in promoting citizenship behavior.
Building trust with the team – In order to promote a culture of citizenship behavior the leader should be able to empower his / her team with the tools that are needed to help others and the organization. The most significant tool is “Trust”. If the team trusts the leader to provide backing and support even if their out of the box ideas don’t work out or some of the actions backfire they will automatically decide to take risks and think unconventionally to provide the most innovative and effective solutions as they will no longer be afraid of the consequences of failing.
Recognise Citizenship behavior – Every person who constantly takes the pain of walking the extra mile and going out of his / her way to contribute deserves a pat on the back.However such recognition should be provided in a way to ensure that it doesn’t promote a culture of “Fake” citizenship behavior where employees project themselves as going the extra mile just to win accolades and awards neither should the team members feel pressurized to display citizenship behavior just because it’s expected of them.T
The leader should be able to understand the difference between members who are intrinsically motivated to be good citizens and members who are extrinsically motivated ie “I feel like going beyond the call of duty because I have to versus I want to.
All leaders of the 21st century can univocally agree on the fact that this century demands more efficiency in managing teams. A team which is internally motivated to function as a group rather than individual units might be easy to manage however it may not be every leader's cup of tea to build such a team. However, a leader can succeed in creating such a team by customizing the motivation techniques for each team member to tap their intrinsic motives which will help them become “Good organization citizens”