The “Nudge Technique”
“Leadership” is the process of influencing behavior, but an employee’s “behavior” is a choice that they get to make. Not you! So your job as a leader is to create an environment where it’s easier for the employee to make good decisions. This is all the more important when you’re working with “remote” or “hybrid” employees that work independently.
Nudges are a subtle way of influencing change. Instead of demanding change, you make the change easier.
An effective 'nudge' is simple, small, realistic, and enlightening. That’s how you make the behavior you want more likely.
- If it’s not simple, it’s going to take too long.
- And if it’s not small, it’s going to take too much effort.
- If it’s not realistic, it’s easy to dismiss.
- And if it’s not enlightening, it won’t be memorable.
There are different ways to “nudge your employees”. You can send a “simple” reminder, make a “small” request, set a “realistic” expectation or provide an enlightening update.
You can simplify your plans, focus on small baby steps, encourage honest and realistic feedback, or simply celebrate the progress being made. These are all ways to nudge people forward.
A nudge isn’t a monetary reward or a negative consequence. It’s not a carrot or a stick! It’s a more subtle prompt that encourages the right behavior.
Leaders that use the nudge technique are viewed as more collaborative and less dictatorial. But you have to practice! Your nudges have to be carefully planned out and customized to the individual. An effective nudge for one employee may not work for the rest of your team.
If you keep your nudges simple, small, realistic and enlightening, people will respond.