It has been said that all organizations have some degree of dysfunction. When you stop to consider the jigsaw puzzle of people who are brought together to work for the same company, it is easy to understand that last statement. Part of the challenge is, in every green industry company, there are different types of personalities and behavioral styles of the owners, managers and employees. When you toss into the mix the personal problems we are all faced with, and the daily business problems we are confronted with, it only makes things more complicated.
Despite the different types of personalities, behavioral styles, personal and business problems that people have, there are some basic day-to-day strategies you can encourage and develop within your team of managers and employees. These simple strategies can go a long way in building a healthy organizational culture, and grow a successful and profitable company.
First, set an example by giving respect to others in your company. By being an example, you create a powerful walking, talking illustration of how you want your people to treat each other. Using your position of power as president, owner or manager to pressure your employees to perform at a certain level does nothing to build the kind of work environment that people will thrive in. Instead, giving respect to the other people in your organization can be one of the most important things you do to make it part of your company culture.
Earl Nightingale once said, “Treat each person you talk to as the most important person on Earth.” If you do that, you will most likely bring out the very best in each person with whom you communicate. Before you scoff at that last suggestion, consider this thought: Respect begets respect. You can’t help but earn it, by giving it. By treating others who work for and with you as the important individuals they really are, you’ll build the trust and rapport that is part of the foundation of every successful business or non-profit organization.
Next, praise the people in your company on a regular basis. It has been said that some individuals can cheer up a whole room—by leaving it! This is the kind of person who brings others down by condescending remarks or curt behavior. We all know this type of person, because, over the course of our careers, we have either worked with or for someone just like this.
As I have always said, “Praise pays.” If you want your team to grow and thrive, try sincerely praising them. Find the things that they have done right and bring it to their attention on a regular basis. Survey after survey shows that one of the top reasons employees leave a company is not because of their salary, but because of lack of appreciation. In one recent national survey, it was revealed that 60 percent of participants reported that they had never received any positive reinforcement on the job. The funny thing about appreciation is that it costs nothing to give, yet pays such big dividends.
Let me share with you a two-part formula for paying compliments to your employees, managers and colleagues. But, before I do, let me share some things with you to keep in mind when paying compliments to them.
First, many people haven’t learned how to properly give a compliment, so that is why they don’t give them. Second, they might have tried once or twice to praise others, but didn’t realize that most people don’t know how to receive a compliment, so it became an awkward experience for both people involved.
Here is the two-part formula that I teach to my green industry clients on how to find strengths in their employees, managers and colleagues. The first part is to identify, specifically, what you can compliment about the person. Here are three basic categories you can choose from:
T – Things they own, drive, wear.
A – Achievements—degrees, promotions, honors.
P – Personal qualities—traits, character, talents.
The next part of the formula is to deliver the compliment using these three steps:
S – Sincere – This is a critical part of this formula. You must be sincere when giving the compliment, otherwise it will come across as phony and it will create more harm than good.
E - Evidence – Be specific. Give real evidence to the person for what you are saying. It is hard to deny a compliment when the person giving it backs it up with undeniable evidence.
S – Short – Keep the compliment short and it will make it easier for you to give it, and easier for the person to accept it. If you go on and on, it can make the receiving person very uncomfortable. When this happens, it can create a less-than-desirable experience for both the person giving the compliment as well as the one receiving it. When this happens, it reduces the chance that you’ll give out additional compliments to others.
Finally, one of the best ways to get your team to work together and grow your profits is to never criticize your employees or managers in front of others.
We all make mistakes and no one is going to get it right every time. When someone in our company does err, pull them aside and point out the mistake that has been made and ask them what they can do next time to avoid making the same mistake.
F. G. ‘Buck’ Rogers, of IBM fame, tells the story of one of his directors at IBM who committed a terrible marketing blunder that cost the company over one million dollars. The director walked into Rogers’ office and tried to turn in his resignation. Rogers explained to the director that they were not about to let him go since, through this experience, IBM had just spent over one million dollars to educate him. The director never committed the same error again and went on to do great things for IBM.
The power of correcting your employees privately, and helping them to learn from their mistakes, can be one of the best ways to develop the confidence and productivity of your team.
So, when it comes to your team, no matter how many challenges they present to your company, try using these three simple strategies. It will go a long way in helping them work together and build a more successful and profitable organization.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg is an employee performance and customer-experience expert who works with small businesses and organizations in the green industry to improve customer acquisition and retention. To ask him a question or to hire Tom, contact him at: 734- 404-5909 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.tomborgconsulting.com.