Four Simple Actions

Four Simple Actions: COVID-19

Use the Four Simple Actions to reinforce communication with employees working remotely or address compliance with health and safety directives.

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Leadership Made Simple

Great leadership doesn’t have to be complex—simple actions can have a profound impact. Four Simple Actions can help all leaders at IU build stronger teams and create a culture where staff employees feel heard, valued, and motivated. This simple approach to leadership is a communication framework that all leaders of staff employees should implement and what all staff should expect from those who lead them.

Four Simple Actions is an intuitive approach to leadership that requires no training, no manual, and is easy to incorporate into your daily interactions with employees. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or new to management, Four Simple Actions can help you become a more effective leader and:

  • Improve employee performance
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Begin conversations with staff

Four Simple Actions employees want from leaders:

1 ASK me what I think.

2 TELL me what you expect of me.

3 SAY something positive about my work.

4 SHARE information that will help me.

Start a Conversation. Conversations create a culture where employees perform at consistently high levels, work with passion, and move the organization forward. They also build a culture that attracts and retains high-performing employees. Start a conversation with your employees using Four Simple Actions. Learn how below.

1 ASK me what I think.

Knowing how to engage individuals and teams effectively is an essential leadership skill. As a leader, you can build trust and improve how staff employees feel about their workplace by asking what they think.

Leadership Made Simple

  • Involve employees by asking for their opinions or ideas.
  • Include employees in decisions that impact their jobs or roles.
  • Be partners in decision making and listen to creative solutions.

Tips to Get Started

  • Ask a team member how they would improve a process.
  • Ask a team member for their opinion on an issue that is impacting your team.
  • Continuously share with team members that you value and appreciate their feedback.

2 TELL me what you expect of me.

The conversations you have with your employees every day are essential to building a culture that attracts and retains high-performing employees. As a leader, you can create a culture where employees thrive by telling employees what you expect of them.

Leadership Made Simple

  • Clearly and consistently communicate expectations and priorities so your employees can focus on—and deliver—what matters most.
  • Discuss role expectations with them and share how each individual’s role contributes to the success of the larger team or organization.
  • Clarify a role’s tasks and responsibilities, as well as the behaviors they should expect from you and from their team members.

Tips to Get Started

  • Tell a team member what excellence in their role looks like.
  • Tell a team member how their role contributes to the success of the team or organization.
  • As a team, discuss behavioral expectations for team meetings, communication, etc.

3 SAY something positive about my work.

As a leader at Indiana University, it’s your job to ensure your employees feel heard, valued, and motivated. You can show your team how much you value their contributions by saying something positive about their work.

Leadership Made Simple

  • Recognize individuals for doing good work. Be timely, specific, and sincere.
  • Share positive feedback that tells employees what to keep doing and where their work is most impactful.

Tips to Get Started

  • Say something positive to a team member detailing how their work specifically made an impact.
  • Say something positive to a team member who went above and beyond.
  • Recognize a team member for a strong contribution, creative solution, or exemplary behavior.

4 SHARE information that will help me.

Great leadership takes place every day through conversations with staff members. As a leader, you can increase employee engagement by sharing information that will help them.

Leadership Made Simple

  • Broadly share information with your team so your team members have the full picture and can seek creative solutions and better perform their jobs.
  • To build trust with your team, have open and honest communication.

Tips to Get Started

  • Share the key priorities of the larger work team and/or unit with each member of your team.
  • Share information learned with all levels of your organization. During and after meetings or conversations, consider who else needs to know the information. 
  • Be transparent in decision-making. Share why a specific decision was made.

The Four Simple Actions Challenge

Registration for the last challenge is closed. To be notified about future challenges, click the button below.

Quickly integrate the Four Simple Actions into your leadership style with the Four Simple Actions Challenge. During this four-week challenge, participants will learn how to easily implement the four actions and track their experiences online. Any staff or faculty leader from any IU campus who manages staff employees can participate.

Learn more