I had an employee who kept making mistakes and was reaching to work late everyday. He was put on PIP but no improvement. His supervisor said she had tried everything.
Instead of firing him, I sat down with him to TALK. It was obvious he was at a very low point. He had to move out his home and was going through a divorce, custody battle plus facing financial problems. He felt he was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Asking for help wasn’t one of his strong points.
I recommended him for counseling andsent him on leave so he could get it together. When he returned, he went from being one of the most difficult employees to one of the most POSITIVE influences in the workplace.
Managers please use the HUMAN-to-HUMAN approach when dealing with employees. Take time to get to know your people, meet them where they are, and be flexible. It’s a person you are dealing with and not just a statistic on a graph. A little EMPATHY goes a long way.
My experience is that there are few bad employees but there are many “bad bosses” who lack PEOPLE SKILLS, and are quick to cross people off.
My new employee asked to work from home. Then she started to tell me the reason. I told her “No need to apologize and I don’t need to know the details.”
I do not pay for seat warmers. Come to the office fine. 9 to 5? Fine. Work from home. Fine. Work from the garage while they fix your car? Fine. I don’t need to know you will be late because of a doctor’s appointment, or you are leaving early to attend a personal matter. Everybody works at a different pace. You choose how to get your work done. It’s sad how we have infantilized the workplace so much, that employees feel the need to apologize for having personal lives. I am not a clock watcher. I trust you to get your job done. Keep clients happy. I am happy.
The future lies in flexible work patterns.
For far too long, being nice has been mistaken for being weak. In reality, niceness is an necessary quality of leadership for the world we’re living in. It has become so rare that when someone does a kind act or goes out of their way to be nice to someone, it goes viral on social media. Being nice doesn’t mean you can’t make hard decisions or stand up to difficult people, it just means you are respectful, kind, and show empathy to your employees.
When kindness isn’t modeled in the workplace, we find ourselves in an environment that is, unhealthy and at worst, toxic. Today people are clamoring for a more human style of leadership. In an age of automation and AI, leaders hard skills are easily being replicated by smart technology. What will make the difference in effective leadership is soft skills.
Here are 7 ways I’ve found being nice can bring you more success as a leader at work. You can start to encourage a culture of being nice to others by carrying out random acts of kindness during your day.
1. Be considerate: Hold the door open for the person behind you. If you are going to the water cooler, ask someone close to you if they would like you to fetch water for them also.
2. Smile at a colleague. When you make eye contact and smile at someone you are showing that they matter which gives them a boost of happiness.
3. Mind your manners. Say “Good morning” or “Hello” to colleagues more often.
4. Show appreciation: Be more vocal in your praise. Acknowledge the contribution and efforts of others.
5. Listen more. Learn to listen with the intent to understand. Don’t just dismiss or ridicule others’ viewpoints. Listening shows that you care.
6. Offer support and help to team members who are struggling.
7. Treat everyone with the same level of respect, whether it be the janitor or the CEO.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always.
The way you treat others shows your values and true character. You can’t influence others if you aren’t authentic. Employees are looking at you as a leader to determine if they can trust you.
In my experience, tough and nice doesn’t have to be incompatible. Managers, please use the human-to-human approach when dealing with employees. It’s people you are dealing with, not just a statistic on a graph. Get to know your people, meet them where they are, and be flexible. Employees want to be treated as human beings.
In the end, people make companies successful. Any strategy or business plan relies on motivated and engaged people to make it happen! It’s just like a relationship. For a relationship to last, there must be mutual respect, love, trust, understanding and appreciation. Without these, the foundation is shaky. This is why the most successful companies focus on people and relationships, and make sure both are not just managed but lead and cared for.
It’s said there are two rules that should be accepted working under a boss. The rule no. 1 is the boss is always right. The rule number 2 states that if the boss is wrong, then, refer to the rule number 1. The fact is a manager may not be always right. Most people feel the need to be right all the time. I’ve seen strong companies fail at the hands of a boss who was unwilling to accept others’ skills and ideas. When leaders accept that their role is not about having all the answers, a few things happen. They start to ask more questions, don’t take constructive criticism personally, and see things from a broader perspective.
As a leader, one of the most crucial skills is having the ability to admit you might not know the answer to every question. It’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know” or “I would need more information before I can make that decision?’ It is also important to delegate decision making with comments such as, ” Let me know what you think, I trust your judgement.”
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen R. Covey
As much as people love smart people and someone they can rely on for guidance, no one likes a know it all person. Listen more than you speak. Leaders who show some vulnerability are more authentic and approachable to their team. Employees will want to provide feedback and share ideas, because they know it will not fall on deaf ears. In the end, you have a more engaged and productive team, who feel valued and appreciated.
Working for a boss who needs to be always right can be very frustrating and demotivating. Such bosses don’t give employees opportunities to grow and develop and they resort to micromanaging. Micromanagement is a complete waste of everybody’s time. It sucks the life out of employees, fosters anxiety and creates a high stress work environment. In the end, smart people don’t stay for too long in these companies.
With advances in technology and unprecedented levels of change, leaders will need to hire people who are smarter than they are, and draw on the diversity and expertise of everyone in the room. This can be the difference between success and failure. Ultimately, your aim as a leader is to drive growth and innovation by surrounding yourself with a diverse team, who has complementary skills to yours. This takes humility and wisdom. Select the right people, provide them with the proper tools and get out their way.