Employees: Your Number One Renewable Resource
Updated: Feb 24
Machinery, methods, materials, money, and employees. These are all resources that management relies on to get the job done. If you had to pick one of these resources, which do you think is the most vital? If you're like me, the answer is easy: employees! Imagine, for a second, if all your employees decided not to attend work one day. What kind of work would be accomplished? Would any? Probably not!
In my most recent book, Leaders are MADE, Not Born! I outline three of the biggest complaints employees have regarding their leaders. This May, let's break those complaints down and take a look at how you can address them in your company!
Boss, Get to Know Us on Our First Day of Work!
Getting to know new hires only takes a few minutes out of your day. After all, this person is the newest member of your team. Studies show that employees who feel a sense of ownership in their work and place of employment are more engaged and more likely to go above and beyond the expectations set for them. Make sure your employees know that you value their work, their ideas, and their time from day one. You're the leader, yes, but lead by example. Model the kind of behavior and work ethic you would like to see in your team.
Boss, Take an Interest in Us!
Your involvement doesn't end on day one of a new hire. Developing a relationship with all members of your team, from the most recent to the most senior, will take you far. Find out what their plans are for an upcoming vacation, express sympathy if they've recently lost a loved one or had to put a beloved pet down over the weekend. Even something as simple as remembering their kids' names will go a very long way in establishing a relationship with your team.
A word of warning, though: you are still the boss. Be careful not to become your employees' divorce counselor or therapist. Taking an interest in their lives and stories doesn't mean trying to fix all their problems. Get involved but keep boundaries clear and everything professional.
And, hey, I get it! Things get busy, and sometimes the personal details can fall through the cracks. Don't be afraid to make building relationships with your team a priority, even if that means delegating more often when it comes to other tasks.
Boss, Don't Become the Invisible Leader!
You might be wondering what, exactly, an invisible leader is. This leader is only interested in good news and is otherwise absent—aka, invisible. This leader is ill-equipped to deal with anything beyond the good. This leader's door is usually closed, and they are often uninvolved with the day-to-day of the office or workplace. Got a problem? Take it elsewhere. How can you avoid becoming an invisible leader? Easy. Use the MBWA way. That is to say, Manage By Walking Around.
The MBWA way has been around as long as dirt. Maybe even longer! It boils down to a leader making themselves not only open and available to complaints and conversations with their team but actively seeking out these conversations. While walking around the floor, I often pause to ask employees what's going on today. I make a point to find out if anything is preventing them from doing their jobs. I've learned that employees are more likely to tell me what is on their minds point-blank in this context. They give me bits and pieces of information that I need to develop solutions.
It can be easy to lose sight of the day-to-day details that build a thriving business in the flurry of activity to keep an eye on over-arcing goals. But leaders, remember: your employees are your number one resource! Keep them content, heard, and interested, and you'll soon find a happier, more invested team ready and revving to work hard for you and your company's time. You're the leader, yes, but lead by example. Model the kind of behavior and work ethic you would like to see in your team.