I Want it All and I Want it Now!!
We are in very strange times. With the information age, comes the expectation of instant results. Yet, the economy is moving very slowly. There seems to be fits and starts. Things look good for a couple of months and then go stagnant for a few more. It is driving all business owners and managers nuts.
The pressure on employees is at an all-time high. Most organizations are still feeling the heat of the economy and after a couple of years of losses, there is a lot of catching up to do. Many want the impossible immediate income and managers and business owners are feeling the heat more than most. The tension is so high, it is difficult to work. The theme seems to be, "I want it all and I want it now." So the beating will continue until we see results.
Stories about the working wounded fill the internet. The biggest threat is stress caused by a workplace in which a lower number of employees are forced to produce more. Before going into this in more detail, it is important to note that increasing productivity is the right thing to do. But a sledge hammer management style in which employees are hit on the head until they "get it" just won't make it happen.
Create A Safe Work Environment
When one hears the term safe work environment, they immediate thought is OSHA regulations. But there is much more to a safe work environment than eliminating physical injuries. An environment in which employees are free to talk is crucial. Most people work better when they are given support. In last month's newsletter, we talked about trust. Think about how much time is being wasted due to a lack of trust. Cover your butt e-mails with copies to everyone in the company – who all have to read the e-mail. Problems are not handled, because of fear of exposing oneself to ridicule, gossip and power struggles and mistakes.
So, if you think about it, a supportive work environment is the key to doing more with less. In addition, goals and objectives will be met faster because the people responsible will not have to be watching their back all the time.
For years studies have proven that one of the biggest motivators of employees is a feeling of being an important cog in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the business. Sledge hammers don't work in motivating employees and never will. The only thing the sledge hammers do is cause injuries to the head. Business owners and managers the ones who need to "get it."
Patience and constant communication are more vital now more than ever before. Patience in that it will take time to get out of this economic funk. It is also time to stop blaming everything on the government, the economy, the full moon or whatever makes us feel better and take the proverbial bull by the horns. Be aggressive with business plans. We all know we have to work harder for less return. This is just the reality today.
Communications are also key to the success of the company. People need to know what is going on, what they can do to contribute and how they can contribute.
There was a great article in the Harvard Business Review on April 18 by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback entitled ,The Most Important Question a Manager Can Ask. The question is, "What can I do to make you more effective?" It is recommended reading – short and to the point.
The workplace should be a place where it is safe to speak up, safe to be heard, safe to disagree and safe to make those little mistakes. Walking and talking is a great management tool. Get out. Build the trust, enthusiasm, commitment and support needed for your organization to succeed. It just may be the thing that saves your company.