Work can be really interesting when the right things are in place. Otherwise, people just go to work barely to survive – at least they’d be able to pay their bills. With this mentality, satisfaction is poor and productivity is low.
In this article, I offer some tips on how you can help your employees or subordinates to have a sense of harmony with their work, colleagues and life in general. But you may also want to read this background article: 10 Facts about Employees.
- Create a listening environment. Make your workplace environment conducive enough for people to share their thoughts, ideas and feelings without the fear or threat of losing their jobs. It was Ken Blanchard who said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Your only hope of getting better as an organization is to welcome feedback. And the best people who can give it to you are your internal customers – your employees.
- Create a Sense of Belonging. Involve your employees in setting organizational goals and in deriving the vision and mission of the organization. Don’t just dump your ideas on them as if they don’t matter. People tend to be more committed to what they say with their mouths than to what others tell them to do.
- Create a Learning Environment. I once worked in an environment where each person is almost always trying to get ahead of the other person by keeping ideas to themselves. And then discussing with the Centre Head so that they can be seen or favoured. It’s not necessary. Make out time for your employees to discuss issues and ideas that can help advance the course of the organization. Give out some assignments. Encourage group thinking. The results can be amazing.
- Become a Sensitive Boss. When employees/subordinates make a complaint, what do you hear them say? What do you see in them? I think the reason we have two ears is to be able to listen twice as much as we speak. To listen twice, you must learn to listen for what is said, but more importantly, what is not said. Behind every spoken or written word are several unsaid. Listen for their desires and/or requests.
- Keep your Promises. Nothing pisses off employees like a dubious boss. When you make a promise either to your employees or clients, keep it. A man of integrity keeps his words even when it hurts. Don’t cheat on your clients. If you do, your employees will not trust you because they would believe that someday it would be their turn. In the book, The Coaching Revolution, Dave and John quipped: “When people see the values they’ve supported violated repeatedly, they lose faith in their managers, lose confidence in their company, and either leave or quit on the job.”
- Catch them do Something Great. We have a culture that rejoices in mocking people. This is largely unfair. Some years back, I was sent with a colleague to a client’s premises to conduct an Environmental Auditing. It was a very sunny day. This took us about three hours, walking round the plant, collecting samples, talking to factory workers. I was literally zonked arriving office. I placed my head on my desk to get some rest, and almost immediately my MD walked in; she didn’t even bother asking how the assessment went. She began yelling at the top of her voice: “the only thing you do in this office is to come and sleep! At the end of the month, you’d start complaining about salary….” And I was meant to be going out to another plant outstation the following morning. If you were in my shoes, what would you have done? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? What was your response? How did you react? I’d be glad to have your feedback.
- Respect! Respect!! Respect!!!I’ve found out that the only language people understand –male or female, young or old – is respect. Learn to respect your employees and subordinates, and I bet it would come back to you in multiple folds. To learn to respect people, I’d offer these three suggestions:
- Treat people with COURTESY. Use simple but effective words like “Excuse me!” “Please!” “I’m sorry!” “Kindly…”
- Treat people with CAUTION. Don’t ride others roughly. Don’t treat your employees as if they don’t have a choice, as if you are doing them a favour. Your relationship is mutual. You need them to thrive as much as they need you to survive. Without them there’d be no you.
- Treat people with CONSCIENCE. The Golden Rule still holds any day, any time and under any condition: DO FOR OTHERS WHAT YOU WANT THEM DO FOR YOU.
You may also want to read the following article: Understanding Frustration in the Workplace
Together, we can raise a truly productive workforce, and build a truly productive nation.
To your productivity,
D. A. B.
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