Over the last few years, I’ve seen a worrying increase in the number of people looking to quit their “high Flying, this is what I’ve always wanted careers” for a different life. More and more people are becoming disenchanted and disengaged with working for large corporations and the joys and treasures that this can hold for them. I’m inundated with people looking to set up their own business and “escape” the city. It makes it sound like Alcatraz and for many perhaps it is. With a growing trend for down sizing, a rural lifestyle and a better work life balance how can a corporation compete with working around families and life styles, across a chatty family dinner table, a commute to the back garden in your slippers with a dog in tow and no one telling you what to do or how to do it?
If you look after a team and are seeing this trend what can you do to look after your team and show them that actually, it’s a great place to be and still reach your targets each month?
As well as the increase in highly successful people looking to run away that I’m coaching, I’m also seeing a trend for more people who wish to showcase to their staff that we genuinely do care, and we do want you to achieve and excel as much as we wish the organisation to. So how can you ensure your team are happy and what should you steer clear of to stop your team from proverbially running for the hills?
Expect them to care as much as you do.
It’s likely you are highly dedicated, hard working person who gets what they want in life. And as such you find yourself looking after a large team of people. And one of the first things that many clients learn is that your interpretation of what matters and your definition of what is important may differ greatly from that of the people that work for you. You care about the end result because it’s your department, however, not everyone has that level of passion for their work. Take a step back and imagine that you are a member of your team. Do you feel that you strive for the bosses’ job? A seat on the board? Or do you feel that you may have other priorities in life? There is no right or wrong answer here. And by understanding the different drivers in peoples lives, you can tap into this to help people feel cared for and listened to on their own values and passions in life.
Don’t listen to them.
I actually once heard a person say “You’re not here to think you are here to work” And as incredible as that sounds and as far removed as this ethos is to most organisations that understand the need to get the most out of the people. Inherently it can still feel like this is the case to some. If you want your team to love working with you and your firm then you need to help people feel heard. And that’s easy to achieve at a review however not so easy when the deadline is looming and 3 people have called in sick. Learn phrases that feel natural to you that enable you to effectively say “I hear what you are saying and wish to address this let’s get this project completed and let’s book a date to discuss.” Or “This must feel incredibly (frustrating, disappointing, hurtful, disrespectful, etc) to you, and I want you to know that this concerns me, I would like to look at ways to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” Showcasing that you wish to hear their views makes people feel valued. Which brings me on to….
Argue with them.
The minute someone argues with you, it get’s your back up. Try it with your partner, sibling or child and you will see that if you push against a person, they will push back. Arguing is never productive. A difference of opinion is different, and it’s about learning powerful ways to communicate that enables that person to hold on to their own views and hear yours too, without emotion, guilt or intention. Their view is their view, and you don’t have rights over that. Remember that person has got to this stage of their life with their beliefs, values and experiences. You will have a unique combination of those too that enable you to think, behave, act and achieve as you do. Helping someone to overcome their limitations and obstacles does not start with a conversation that says “You are wrong.”
Shut them out.
A quick way to see staff leave is to shut them out of the big picture. You can quickly turn your organisations next big plan for success into a war zone of gossip, and upset if you don’t help your team feel involved in the big picture. Organisations hit hard times and to shut people out so that they don’t panic, doesn’t work. If anything it can create “The conspiracy theory attitude” that says “We are all doomed!” Helping your team to appreciate what you as a team face and listening to concerns and ideas will help to make people feel like they matter and that you aren’t about to cut them loose. Batting down the hatches can scare people fast.
Moan about people.
It has been proved that by talking about a third party many people feel like they are part of the “in crowd”. It is often used as a way to make that person feel special and valued, because “I’m sharing this with you because I trust you” feelings. That’s great on one level, however subconsciously (even if not with awareness) if you are prepared to talk about someone else, how does that person not know you are going to talk about them too. Professionalism indicates that most people understand this, however what about with other companies, suppliers or departments? Speak as you wish to hear about yourself. Bambi’s mate Thumper had that one sussed “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” As many clients have learnt saying nothing can be a far more powerful way to get your message across on a negative.
On a planet with over 7 billion people, it’s not surprising that you may rub someone up the wrong way and they may dislike you. Your job is not to be Mr or Mrs Popularity your job is to help everyone work together effectively and powerfully as a team feeling like they matter and are well respected and valued as a member of that team. And that can get tricky when personalities clash. What you see as an insulting way of speaking is just another persons idea of a fun way of behaving. What you see as professional may seem cold hearted to some. Learning to see the world from other people’s view points can help. And learn to listen to people’s natural style of communication. If you have investigated this for yourself you may already know about the different styles of learning that people may favour. And this extends to their natural chosen way of communicating and learning about the world that surrounds them. If you are an auditory learner and you are speaking with a kinesthetic learner, you can alienate that person and make them feel like they are not being heard or understood if you don’t pick up on their verbal and visual clues. It’s a whole article on its own to look at the power of using other people’s natural styles of communication, so for now, start to consider;
Does this person use lots of body language?
Does this person use words like “I see what you mean” or “I hear what you are saying” or “I feel that this is the best approach”?
Don’t say thank you.
It may seem so obvious and yet the amount of times I’ve had people tell me that they just got fed up with no one ever saying thank you. “It’s your job, what do I need to thank them for?” I’ve heard in retaliation. The fact is it takes a short amount of time to say thank you and gratitude is such a powerful tool in so many areas of our lives. These people weren’t marched in and made to work in your offices, they choose to. Okay, they may have mortgages and mouths to feed however ultimately they are making the decision to invest in working for your organisation to get them what they want in life. And that is not just about perks and salaries. Taking all the praise and forgetting to share the glory can kill their attitude to you and the organisation. Some people don’t need praise, they are just pleased to see the job done and go home at night, however, I’ve seen many a person light up when they’ve plucked up the courage to say to their boss “actually do you know you never say thank you?” and that person has appreciated this and started to say thank you more. That member of your team feels appreciated and respected and that is ultimately what we all strive for in life, not just the joys and treasures of a corporate career.
One of the first things I did when I set up my business was write a mission statement. I did this for a number of reasons;
1. To remind me of what matters most to me. What is at the core, the heart of my business. In business it is all to easy to get rail roaded into other great ideas that come along. Only to find yourself 6 months later going in a direction that doesn’t sit right with you and is taking you away from the goals and ambitions for your business.
2. Every business woman that comes into contact with me knows my mission statement so that they know my dedication and determination to support them in every way that I can. This also ensures that I constantly ask the question of myself “Am I marketing my business in the right way?” “Is it connecting with the right people?” “Do they feel like I care and I want to help them?” Making people feel truly special will help stand you a part from the competition. Anyone can design a website/make a cake/decorate your house/write a will. But few people will you connect with and want to work with again and again. A mission statement tells people what they get from you.
3. As my business has grown I’ve had to rely on other people. One of the issues I hear from business owners all the time is “They don’t do it like I would!” That is the whole point! That you get diversity, creativity and other people on board to create a business that is capable of growth. If you control every decision and never listen to others you risk losing out. But to ensure everyone from the Cleaner, the post man to your CEO are on the same page. Have a mission statement. Let everyone feel it is their mission statement. That they are a critical cog in the business. If everyone can see your vision, then everyone can work towards it.
4. It keeps you all on track, from suppliers, customers to your staff. Every area of your business can benefit from a mission statement. It keeps things simple and in business, that is always a good thing!