29 Mar

Are you a good boss?

According to Gallup, only 15% of the world’s one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. Let’s just stop and think about that for a moment. 85% of people are not engaged at work. Due to this disengagement, we often see destructive, bullying behaviour in the workplace or hear of employees talking negatively about their company to friends and family. Not a good result.

While you are thinking about the 15%, think about the loss of productivity and the amount of time wasted. It is staggering.

This article also points out the following; Employees everywhere don’t necessarily hate the company or organisation they work for as much as they do their boss. Employees — especially the stars — join a company and then quit their manager (Clifton, 2017).

This reminds me of the quote from Marcus Buckingham who said “people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers’

You can see the theme I am going for here. As a manager, business owner or leader you are responsible for your team’s performance. But gone are the days of the autocratic management style and the sadly facilitated performance reviews, (which never worked anyway) or the “my way or the highway” approach. So, how do you manage your team’s performance without taking on this archaic approach?

Communication. Simple. To help improve your communication with your team, think about the following:

  1. How often do you communicate with your team? Do you talk at them or with them?
  2. How often do you honestly listen to what they are saying, or take note of what they are not saying? Providing them with 100% of your attention? No devices to distract your attention.
  3. How often do you shift employee appointments for other “more important” meetings?
  4. Think of each one of your employees and rate your professional relationship with them from 1 to 10. Do you know if they have children? Who are their favourite sports teams, their favourite foods? What do you need to improve on in this area? Building trust with your team members starts with building relationships.
  5. Are you are aware of their different personality traits and what motivates them? We are all unique and therefore need to be managed differently.
  6. How often do you let them make the final decision?
  7. How often to you reward and recognise them?

This list could go on, but I need to end this post. The moral of the story is that your employees are the most important people in your business. Instead of just agreeing with this statement, action it. Show them that they are important by changing your attitude and behaviour towards them. Walk the talk!

17 Oct

Be accountable

Moliere said that, It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. This really resonated with me as I’ve been reflecting for the past couple of days on accountability, and how it can positively or negatively influence your business.

What does that it actually mean to be accountable and what does being accountable look like in today’s business world?

People’s definitions of what accountability is will vary, depending on who they are and where their focuses lie. I have a fairly “old-fashioned” view of personal accountability. When I look at doing business with someone I look at how accountable they are to themselves, their potential and existing customers, and their own businesses. It’s not necessarily the big things that I always look at, but its the small things that matter sometimes.

Accountability rule #1:  Commit to what you say you will do –  So many people are so busy being busy, that one of the first things to fall off the accountability wagon is the ability to follow through on tasks. Remember that your business, which includes you, is constantly on stage and in the public arena for all to see. Your actions or lack of actions show your customers and potential customers how you operate. In order to send the right message such as “Im dependable and not a flake” and to build the right reputation, focus on being accountable for the small things in your business. Answer your emails, follow up on enquiries, return phone calls and arrive at meetings on time. Honestly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do that! This doesn’t just show that you are accountable and dependable but it also shows respect and how serious you are about your business.

Accountability rule #2: Accept the consequences for your actions –  When you make an excuse for not completing a task you need to accept the consequences, big or small. Making excuses doesn’t miraculously remove the consequence, your accountability, or the inconvenience for the other party. Therefore if you cannot deliver on a project, don’t just arrive with an excuse and think you are off the hook. Be accountable and be the first person to offer a solution.

In the business world, your customer doesn’t really care about your issues. They don’t want to hear your excuses. They just want their product or service delivered to them at the right time at the right price and in the right condition.

Accountability rule #3: Never pass blame  – This can be a tricky one, especially when someone else has really stuffed up. But passing blame and shining the spot light on someone else’s imperfections makes you look like an amateur. This is where you should bite your tongue and move on. Rise above the situation and focus on solutions instead of excuses, sob stories and drama. Perhaps there is a need to build some safety nets in your business?

Accountability rule #4: Be honest – So the paw-paw has hit the fan, or you are unable to deliver on a project. Drop the ego and be honest about what’s going on. Getting into the habit of making excuses, dodging irate customer calls and passing blame doesn’t serve you and definitely doesn’t boost your reputation with your customers.

Most people in business have the best of intentions when starting out, so don’t let a lack of accountability, responsibility or ownership ruin your chances of building a strong and successful business. Be accountable.

15 Jun

Something to consider when promoting your team members

For most employees, a promotion would be seen as a fantastic achievement and opportunity.

However for some, the thought of been promoted is equivalent to their worst nightmare coming true. And often it’s not the extra work responsibilities, the potential longer hours or having to report to a different manager that freaks these people out. It’s the fact that with promotion comes the real possibility of having to manage someone or a team.

As a business manager or owner, do you take these thoughts into consideration? That this newly promoted person may need to manage another person or a team? On average there tends to be more of a focus on the measurable more tangible outcomes and targets of the job, the key performance areas, as opposed to the fact that this newly promoted  employee may be the next office ogre.  How often is the question asked, “Does this person (soon to be promoted) know how to manage people?” Actually, I should rather say “successfully” manage people.

It’s not about giving instructions, chairing a meeting or ticking off an annual performance appraisal, its about that new promotee being able to manage another person or team in such a way that they perform to their optimum with a smile on the faces.

People can be brilliant at their jobs, they can tick all the boxes, but it doesn’t mean they are ready to be promoted and run a team of people or even manage one person. Before they make the move it is vitally important to assess their management skills and then provide them with the correct mentoring, training and coaching in order to pursue their new position successfully. Set them up for success, not failure.

13 Dec

How much do you invest in your business?

When I think business, I think people. Why? Well in order to have a business or even a successful business it first needs people to add value, before value can be provided to  clients.  Without people or without the right people, there is no business.

So let’s rephrase our initial question. How much do you invest in your people?

When this question gets asked, so many people assume that it refers to a financial investment and their eyes glaze over and the common answer is, “We don’t have the budget right now!”

So, if you don’t have the budget, does it mean that you cannot invest in your people?

The funny thing is often employees are not always wanting the financial reward. Don’t get me wrong, extra money is great, but its not the only thing. Employees actually want other “investments” from you their employer.

Investment #1 – They want to be treated as  equals

Why did you hire your employees? You hired them to do a job, which you couldn’t or didn’t want to do. If you hired them correctly then they would be an expert in that specific field. You might be the boss, but they are the expert. They know the right way and the wrong way to achieve certain outcomes. They need you to take their opinions, recommendations and advice seriously. They need you to listen to them. Not to patronise them, but to engage with them as equals and show them that you appreciate the value that they are adding.

How can you achieve this? Be present. Focus 100% of your attention on them and what they are saying. Being distracted and impatient in their presence can be perceived as showing a lack of interest and these specialists might will lose interest and move on.

By treating your people as equals you are including them. You are sending out a message that they are not just working in your business, but they are collaborating with you and working on building the business. They become instrumental in the business success.

Investment # 2 – They want to be developed

Good people will continuously look for challenges, growth and development. They are always wanting to improve their skills. If they are stuck in the same role they get bored and start looking for greener pastures.

People development can be achieved by in-house or external training, mentorship programmes and coaching initiatives. You can even ask your employees where they want to focus their growth and how this development will align to their current or future position within the business. You might be surprised with what you hear?

Investment # 3 – They want regular communication

This doesn’t have to be a formal sit down session. It can be a 10 minute chat  over a cup of coffee. The conversation doesn’t even have to be about work, it can be about family, personal interests or even the weather. That small investment of your time goes a long way to proving you are actually approachable. Regular conversations, regular engagements and regular contact is key to building loyal team members and strong employee relations.

Investment # 4 – They want recognition

People want to know they have done a good job. It doesn’t matter who you are or what position you fill, everyone wants to hear “Well done! Great Job!” every now and again.

When last did you compliment your people for a job well done? You may find the following article interesting – Thank you!

Investment # 5 – They want responsibility

Good employees are people who want to be able to make decisions. If you demand that all decisions are passed through you first, then expect for your good people to leave.

By providing your people with the business vision, mission and values they are able to align their decisions to these business fundamentals when the need arises.

Allow your people to feel accountable for their positions and their decisions. By following this practise, you are not only developing your team, but you are building their confidence, their self-esteem and their loyalty to your business.