How to work with your “employees”
Part 2 of 2
OK folks! Are you ready for me to drive it home?
In a conversation I had with a friend at work, Ms. Goldstein, she told me about how her employer and its management would treat her and her fellow coworkers like worthless peons. Her words not mine.
Needless to say, her employers weren’t doing too well financially and would sweat out some serious money periodically, long before the economy did a little sweating of its own. Although this sweet little lady and mother of two teens made many attempts to jump ship, she managed to hang on for her kids. “I need the money, or the bills will get me”, she told me.
As a coach, would you want your players to ONLY want to play for YOU, just to receive a paycheck?
Before this woman worked at her present job, she did 11 years with whom she said was her dream employer. You could sense something in the way her eyes would light up when she would talk about her stint there. She pointed out a time when the owner, whom she would rarely see, and managers organized a baby shower for her when she was pregnant with her second child.
Ms. Goldstein also told me a story of when she made a critical error on an account which cost her company a major client. She told me that it was a careless mistake. Instead of the company firing the one and three-quarter year new employee, her supervisor and manager held a meeting with her during her shift and a mini training session after hours (most of the training dealt with quality control and error prevention). Everything was kept confidential and her supervisor “coached” her for a few weeks.
She didn’t make a careless mistake since and was promoted on 3 occasions before the company packed up and left town.
That’s real leadership folks. That’s how you turn around problems within your company. Sure, that company could have fired her, but then they would run the risk of hiring other people who are less and less qualified than Mrs. Goldstein to fill her position.
Ms. Goldstein told me that a few days after the initial meeting before her training, she felt so guilty that she tracked down the owner of the account and wrote a letter of apology, taking full responsibility for the problems she caused.
Just before her supervisor’s last day of closely monitoring her, the lost account’s owner gave her company another shot and returned to do business again (unfortunately, with less money than originally planned). She proclaims that she would do anything for her employer (except for relocating), even if that meant leaving her deathbed to work a day if they need her.
If anyone did something positive for the company, the news was immediately made aware of to everyone in the building. They had meetings that focused on team and morale building. Every once in a while, the management would bring in a motivational speaker to pump the workers up. Everyone was treated, and in turn, treated each other like a family. Now i was raised in a union family, so I’m somewhat pro-union, but who needs a union in a place like that?
(Just remember, you’re still the leader. We’re not doing this to make friends or pals. Yes, develop an atmosphere of camaraderie and family, just don’t blur your position as the matriarch or patriarch.)
In my opinion, the best way to build a “dream team” like workforce is to see yourself as your own employee.
What would motivate you to work harder? What would make you love your job?
On this subject, never where there truer words written than in the Bible….”So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…”
How would you respond to harsh criticism? How do you respond to threats of any kind (demotion or termination)? How do you respond to the feeling of being used and under-appreciated? How much respect would you have for a job superior that would have you take on a task they weren’t willing to do themselves?
How would you want your employer to treat you? This is the state of mind that will make dealing with your employees seem more and more like second nature. Think of yourself as your employee.
What would motivate you to give 8 to 12 hours of your day to a company who will only pay you a fraction of the profit that your week’s time and effort produced?
In the book, How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, the author quotes Charles M. Schwab, a revered businessman of the early 1900’s.
“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset that I possess. And the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambition of a person, as criticism from superiors.”
Marinate in that for just a moment. Take it in and digest it. I mean, really, really, really think about that quote. This is the opposite of what many, many companies do in regards to their workers. Can you think of a time when you were praised for decimating a task that was given to you by someone you worked with or worked for?
“Jason! You are unbelievably fast! It’s really good to have someone like YOU here.”
If you do get that kind of encouragement at your current places of employment, then you can relate.
I’ve had moments like that. Doesn’t it just make you feel like giving that extra 110%?
As an employer, you should remember and practice that quote. As Dale Carnegie says, it really should be cast in bronze, or better yet, gold.
It’s also a quote that you competition may not abide by, or strictly adheres to. Better to be the latter than the former for a more competitive edge. And what’s more competitive than a team of employees chomping at the bit to bring home another win to their favorite employer.
One more thing, it’s not enough for you yourself to be the sole person pushing the team spirit idea in your respective companies. Our management and supervisors have to treat the rest of the team as their teammates as well. They have to understand that morale is build by all of management, not just the owner.
I hope my stories and explanations were easy to read. I just feel really passionate about this topic and I have a lot on my mind when it comes down to this subject. I’m a witness to the positive effects of this employee management strategy and I hope more people will use it to their advantage. If there are any question or if anyone wants to add to this article, please use the comments section and speak your mind.