Dear Boss: 5 Things Your Employees Wish You Knew
Dear Boss (past, present and future bosses everywhere),
This is a list of things that if we (employees) told you (employers) in person, it might make things a little weird professionally. There’s a good change your employees won’t tell you these things in person. That’s because they don’t want to step out of line or say something they don’t necessarily mean. So unfortunately, they can’t really explain these 5 things out loud.
Let’s hop in.
#1 YOU’RE VALUABLE, YOUR (eMOTIONAL) HEALTH MATTERS.
If all employers knew their value and took care of their health - especially emotional health - the world would be a much different place. Namely, company cultures would be a lot different for teams everywhere. Emotionally healthy bosses - who know their true worth at a company - communicate well. They reflect company values and take their employees concerns, comments and desires to heart. And that’s a big, huge, massively important, big freaking deal.
If you’re not healthy emotionally and you don’t communicate in utter confidence in your role, how can we expect to perform at our best? (And visa versa is true as well. However, as much as I strive for ownership, I believe 100% the burden is on leaders to lead.)
But it’s not always that easy.
According to research conducted by Bupa Global, “...64% of senior business leaders have suffered from mental health conditions including anxiety, stress and depression, with work often cited as a contributor to this.” When our employers feel stretched for time, strained relationally, overworked and unbalanced, it’s easy to see why they might genuinely find it difficult to operate in a positive manner.
On the opposite side, when our employers are told by their owners, their company, their own bosses, that they are valuable AND those company players walk the talk… Man, what an absolute dream that would be for us both. Oftentimes though, this sort of known value isn’t addressed within a company department head meeting. Our bosses almost can’t address their own health concerns to their management, especially when their management is also unhealthy. If they do they “think they’d lose credibility, or negatively impact the company and their brand. The higher you climb up the corporate ladder, the bigger an issue it can become (Thrive Global).” No one wants to talk about how they’re actually doing at work. But as an employee, we need our employers to be brave. If you’re struggling, talk about it. Trust me, your employees feel strongly about this because how you’re doing internally does effect them.
That’s why it’s time to tell you, employers everywhere, your employees feel that you matter and your work matters.
Your emotional health isn’t worth the job… If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, take a step back and focus on your health.
Consider these questions:
When was the last time you took a break and went for a walk? Chatted with people you love?
When was the last time you went to the spa or enjoyed some you time?
Went a little crazy at a bar, went to yoga or to the gym, etc? Have you recently completed a self-assessment or taken a personality test?
How’s the ticker? How’s that brain-box?
Are you taking your prescribed medicine properly?
The point is we want you to know yourself, your value and be healthy so you can lead us well.
When you operate under the belief that you’re valuable and your health matters, you will start to see some incredible changes in your leadership, relationships and the workplace. You’ll speak with humility, positivity and hope. You’ll dream and vision again. You’ll open up to reflections on your management, freeing others to also be flexible and available to changes too. Your effective employee communications will make for an incredible company culture. Low morale will vanish in the wake of your over mental health, stability and positivity. And that’s an incredible thing.
If you’re feeling stretched for time and could use an updated method of self-scheduling, check out our blog, Things 3 - Our Favorite Productivity App. You’ll learn about Things3 and why we love it so much.
#2 COMMIT TO US. YOU’LL SEE bIG RESULTS.
It really can’t be overstated: effective training is like rocket fuel to employees. Don’t have time to train us? Either don’t hire us or MAKE TIME. Meet early or late and teach us your ways…we want to learn from you. You are our Yoda and Luke Skywalker. You are both to us - a guide and a hero. Ongoing training, reviews and chats are important to our long term growth. Once we hit goals, you can delegate and give us more responsibility. Free up hours and weeks of productivity. Invest your company time and money well: train us.
Did you know Fortune 100 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ spend almost double the amount of time on training as the average company? Did you know employee development programs in part led to those ‘Best Companies to Work For’ having a 65% lower turn-over rate than other companies? (Training Journal 2016) That’s important because low turn-over rates saves you monneeyyy.
The proper, yet basic way to train?
I’ve read this in countless leadership books and have implemented this process myself. Training boils down to this scenario:
Employee watches and listens as Employer performs a task or completes a process.
Employer coaches Employee to perform a task or completes the same process. Employer and employee do the work together.
Employer watches as Employee attempts to perform a task or complete a process on their own. Employer corrects as needed.
When you train us, it shows you’re committed to us. When we believe you want us around, we’ll give you the kind of work you’ve always dreamed you’d get.
Consistent communication is connected to higher engagement (Gallup 2015). Higher employee engagement workgroups experience “22% higher profitability and 21% higher productivity compared with workgroups with low levels of engagement.” They also experience 65% lower turnover and 10% higher customer ratings than workgroups with low engagement. (Gallup 2014)
Not sure where to start? Learning opportunities might include: certifications, management or skill classes, leadership books, industry magazines, LMS videos, team training for crisis or extreme circumstances, etc. The good news is if you’re pressed for time and can’t always be around to train, there are different resources that will help us grow. And we need them. One day we might train and coach others. So, we need your highest level of commitment. The cool thing is, once we’re good and trained, we can offer you more of the stuff you need - help.
Word graphic alert! Delegation is one of the top concerns of managers. And that’s interesting to me.
Yes, our bosses desire to offload and free up time for other duties. But I think good managers get caught up in their high expectations for themselves and others. They find themselves unable to delegate because it’s too hard. It’s weird and ironic, but the very thing they want - to increase their productivity potential - is frustrated by their own high standards. It’s a complex thing for them, and I can see why. Our bosses are busy, we are busy, and they are also the only one’s who know exactly how to do what they do best. The thing is, managers who have made themselves dispensable are at a better place for building and leading.
The Flip Side: Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender makes a good point when she says “abdication and delegation are two different things”. There’s a balance in the decisionmaking process on what to delegate. The idea is that employers inspire, mentor, coach, and keep working so employees can do the same.
Ultimately, we don’t want to help with a specific duty because we want your job. We want to free you into undiscovered markets, projects and expansion. If we want too much, explain why it’s too much. Manage us into a unified space.
Together, we’ll flourish professionally under a level of commitment that’s evident and actionable.
Shameless plug time! We think social media marketing is a big deal and can help your business explode with opportunity. Read our blog, 9 Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Be On Social Media for more VITAL information on ways you can impact a community online, gain followers and receive an ROI you’ll like!
#3 VALUE THE VALUES APPROACH
As an employee, if I don’t know the company values, the very values that built your business, how can I follow them?
And if you don’t know or don’t share the values of your own brand and company, how can you expect to keep those risky loose-cannon projects, candidates and clients away.
Values shouldn’t be conditional
I was once an intern in the creative department of a local-ATL, fast growing church. During the on-boarding process I was given a piece of paper with a list of team values on it and a place for me to sign at the bottom, saying I would share those values too. It was amazing. It was also the first and only time I’ve ever had to sign something that required me (and other staffers) to be individually accountable to our very character. Maybe I’m old fashioned and naive, but I truly believe when employees sign their name next to a list of values in this context, it means something - even if just legally. (When remaining employed and being promoted or fired hinges in part on the ability or inability to maintain those values, it definitely means something.)
Here are a few of those team, cultural values:
HONOR - Be on time, Be present
HONESTY - Don’t lie, cheat or steal
COURTESY - Strive to be fair, kind and gentle
FLEXIBILITY - Remain open and adaptable
If I see you value things that I don’t, then I know right away it won’t be a good fit. Better yet, put those values on the job ad and weed out candidates before the selection process begins. Your team, your clients/customers and your leaders will thank you for the road map you provided ahead of time.
#4 VIEW ISSUES OBJECTIVELY
I can be a little over-communicative. I keep it to simple questions and responses, but it’s just A LOT of simple. In some situations that might be helpful. Other times it’s probably annoying. I don’t mean to be chatty, I just want to send pertinent details and also receive them.
One thing my current bosses do very well is see past my digital-screen/texting personality into my work ethic. When I bring up issues or ask them questions, they are proactive in replying and helping to resolve issues. This is incredible and all bosses should be smart, level-headed and helpful like this. The fact is bad managers don’t see requests for help - and other things that could be deemed time-suckers - objectively; rather, they see comments, questions and concerns subjectively. They take issues to heart instead of head and get heated. They grow bitter or impatient over time due to lack of objectivity and vision. Projects, meetings and the day-to-day suffer at the hands of subjectivity everyday. But people, there is an easier way!!
What if we separated out the good, the hard and the unfinished tasks as separate entities? No more crisis-solving on the go in busy work situations; that isn’t helpful. Let’s learn to Identify, Discuss and Solve, or IDS problems together at the proper place they should be discussed - the weekly and/or monthly meeting.
EOSWorldwide does this for you.
Watch the video below on how to effectively hold great meeting that don’t waste time or offend!
culture breaking moments VS culture making moments
If separating out issues and chatting about them in groups isn’t right for you, another way to view issues as separate is to talk through culture breaking moments VS culture making moments. This is easiest to do in production or event setting where each team member is actively serving, helping or working production.
Let’s say you work FOH at a restaurant and you lead a team of 20 one night. Most of you work together start to finish. Only a couple staff get cut early. You’ve got an assistant manger, servers, hosts, bartenders, bar-backs, bus boys, etc. The way this works is just like it sounds. At the beginning of the night you review yesterday’s culture breaking moments and culture making moments. At the end of the night you talk about culture making moments and culture breaking moments. No matter what is said, as the leader you facilitate the conversation. So, let’s skip to #5 and say you meet having emphasized how hard you’ve each worked and that you respect, honor and value each other’s dedication. It’s an incredible thing. *Italian kiss of perfection*
In both cases, you’re all working together on definable issues and holding each other accountable to helping and serving well. Issues are getting addressed, communication is happening, and the team is crushing it! People aren’t feeling undervalued or attacked during these important discussion moments. They’re free to openly and honestly navigate the hard and good from the past week (or that night’s work) because you’re there to help safe guard. And for that we thank you, team lead! Addressing issues shouldn’t be a hassle or a struggle. It takes guts to bring up problems sometimes. So, we’ve got to honor their bravery by acknowledging their insights and then make. needed. changes. Employees want to speak up when they see that their voices are heard a.k.a. action is taking place. There is a safe space for issue resolution. We just have to find what works.
Want to learn more about how professionally tackling issues and working with empathy can help you in the work place? Read our blog, 3 Ways Empathy Helps You in Business for more!
#5 YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT HELPS
In the end, people want to be appreciated for their hard work. Your employees may still (will absolutely eventually) need more training, insight and TLC, but they are there for you. They’re crushing it, leading it and delivering the best they can because - even if it doesn’t look like it - they care. They care about you, the team, their work, their reputation, their paycheck and their family. And hopefully, even if it’s hard to see at first, there’s pay off in the end for both you and them. That’s why the word Thanks and words Good job shouldn’t be a foreign statement by employers or employees. It should be a healthy starting point.
Here’s a couple ideas for throwing genuine encouragement at your employees:
Quarterly employee party at the office for front line staff thrown by top level staff (make it what FL employees want)
Employee party at the 21+ bowling ally
Add an encouraging word into your emails
Create Monthly Shout Out Emails and Videos
The idea is that your employees should know you know value them and they’re doing well - if indeed they are.
Final Thoughts and Some Incredible books to read
Number one, we think you are valuable and hope you know your value too! You can start being a better manager and a better follower as soon as you seek to understand how your employees feel and truly seek to lead them well. But remember, your value doesn’t come from being the perfect boss. It comes from knowing Who’s you are - in Christ. If you want to be a better follower or a better leader, know that your worth is tied up in God’s big love for you. It’s not in your own performance of the performance of your team - it’s in Christ’s passionate love for you. Bosses everywhere, we believe in you. We know you can do great things and will when you focus together on your health, your organization and know your true worth.
Number two, I love love love the topics of leadership and ownership. If you know me, you know I’m constantly listening to audible books in the car that will help me grow as a leader. I truly want to apply the principals I read in them no matter how much that means I need to change. Don’t get me wrong, I read them to remind me I’m not perfect and I need to change. It’s a life-long process, which is why I want to read continuously. Here are a few books that got me moving in the right direction toward being a better communicator, leader and follower:
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Extreme Ownership How US Navy Seals Win and Lead
The Dichotomy of Leadership
If you seek to apply the principals in these books, there’s a good chance you too will learn more how to become a better leader!
Sales Representative, Caffeine Marketing
Other Blogging Work: False assumptions about Social Media Influencers
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