This is NOT about a promotional idea, like my Family Fries idea, which Tom Funk, a great proprietor in Indiana said made lots of money. Nope, this is not a “promotional idea”, at least not in the traditional sense of promotion.
This is not that kind of a blog. This is about staff building and trust.
Sometimes my clients get into a rant about their employees and make disparaging statements about their skills, acumen and brain quotient. Similarly I hear employees make almost exactly similar statements that their manager or owner makes.
It is an interesting phenomenon…the same words being used by the employer and the employee!
But one thing is clear. The element of trusting the other party’s judgement is terribly lacking. In order to rebuild that trust and I am speaking to the owner or GM in this case, first wipe the slate clean of everything you think about particular employees. Then write down everything they could do to get you to trust their judgement and view their work habits as satisfactory, if not exemplary.
Here are three ideas
- Teach them to ask good questions. Everybody thinks He has THE answer. The truth is it’s better to have people who ask good questions because it gets people (collectively) to focus on answering the well stated problem and eliminates one person’s opinion and overbearing nature that arises because of their ego and because they “have been around a long time and know everything.” By teaching people to ask good questions, you are getting them to stretch and think beyond the “oh s*&^t, now I have even more work and I have no time to do it as it is knee jerk reaction.” Examples of good questions (especially when you are assigning projects) can include:
- When is this project due?
- Can you repeat exactly what you expect me to do so I understand the assignment completely?
- Can you suggest some resources that I can access for some of this information?
- Is there any particular format you want this (i.e. table, excel spreadsheet, narrative, etc.)
- Will you be presenting this document or is it for internal use only
- Anything I missed?
- Teach them to make good assumptions. This may sound contradictory to number one (#1) but in reality, if they assume certain reasons, facts, etc., they must understand that ALL of their assumptions will have to be substantiated with facts and not just because “I been around this a long time, trust me” statements. In other words, you are teaching them to be more professional, less ego involved and strive for solutions, not just prove that their answer is right; therefore their ego gets inflated and a feel good “I’m smarter than you” attitude becomes the goal and not what is in the best interest of the company
- While you are doing a project, let people know that HOW they solve the problem or reach a conclusion will be just as important, if not more important, than the actual solution. Employees should also provide feedback to their boss on how they communicated the problem, the objective, the time frame and other pertinent information the team needed to complete the project. It is important that this does not become an exercise in “gotcha” but a serious exercise in improving productivity, communication, trust and teamwork.
And it’s always a matter of trust that makes the organization run smoothly.
Will you share this email or Facebook post with two friends who might benefit from this advice? I’m certain they’ll thank you for it once they’ve read it.