Dealing with employees is like dealing with young siblings in a family.
One of our recent team meetings, at Ozark Outdoors, reminded me how similar adult employees are to children. Managers deal with employee rivalry, jealousy, competition, nosiness, drama, gossip, and rebellion. All in a single day’s work.
Parenting employees gobbles up more time, money, and energy than any other challenge. So how do you juggle the wants and needs in a large family of company staff?
Apply wise practices. Here are a few basic principles that I find work time and again:
- Deal with problems early and head-on. Don’t wait, hoping your employees will behave like mature adults and work their issues out. Parents and managers are needed to help sift through tangled emotions so you can dig down to the factual details. Only when you identify the true problem, can an effective solution show itself.
- Listen twice as much as you speak. Most employees and children share a common complaint, “They never listen to me.”
- Communicate clearly and often. I often use the shower analogy. When you get dirty and shower, it doesn’t mean you are clean the rest of your life. More dirt sticks to the body, requiring regular showers to clean up.
- Remind employees, as you would with a child, that each person has unique gifts, strengths and weaknesses, and everyone brings something beneficial to the company. This is a basic truth humans often forget. Everyone needs to feel important.
- Explain to employees that the proof of worth to the business comes from what they do, not what they say.
- When employees want to point out the faults of others, GENTLY help them remove the splinters of weakness in their own character, so they can improve their own work habits.
- Set the best example possible. Children and employees alike follow what they see, not what we say. If there is a patterned problem in the organization, take the courage to see if employee behaviors mirror your own.
There are many other ways parenting employees reflects similar methods of parenting children. Effective managers understand the reality of human nature, instead of expecting their staff to behave in opposition to natural instincts. You can try to shove a square peg in a round hole, and you might even succeed, but not without many splinters.
Have you used good parenting skills to manage adults?
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Luke 6:41 (NIV)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Specialist, Certified Team Training Facilitator, Marketing Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.
She’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy marriage, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research.