* * * WARNING: In reading this short story over again today, I realized that I’ve repeated different pieces in other stories. However, while most authors would never commit such an atrocity…🧔🏻 🔫…this time, my major faux pas is actually APPROPRIATE & only serves to underscore the message I’m trying to convey!
It’s just past night’s Vegas Bombs & Hurricanes speaking! 🤪) * * *
In any business environment, with so many different personalities spending so much time together, all for a (semi-)common cause, it’s inevitable that “things” are gonna spring up.
It could be something regarding interpersonal relationships…perceived favoritism…everyone not pulling his/her own weight…uncooperative individuals…an unclear business mission or different interpretations of the same…or any one of a million different things regarding policies, processes, procedures, rules, mannerisms, perceptions, behaviors, style, customers, etc..
Anything & everything.
It’s easy to let small annoyances, issues & problems snowball into major conflicts, without so much as a word spoken. (This is also true in your personal life as well.)
The key to not “allowing” them to mushroom into more serious situations is to address them early on & head-on.
It doesn’t take much for a misconception to turn into “reality” if left unaddressed.
Remember, when it comes to satisfaction, be it customer or employee, PERCEPTION is, indeed, reality.
I’m sure you already realize, for example, that the overwhelming majority of “customer problems” are really not problems at all.
There’s usually a misunderstanding of how various products or services operate and/or a lack of knowledge.
Many times, educating a customer & offering other options (to prevent a recurrence) can easily resolve the problem.
But until the issue is addressed (proactively or otherwise), in the customer’s mind…or an employee’s…a REAL problem exists and his satisfaction with the company drops.
For example, in the world of banking, it’s “never” the customer’s fault when a check bounces. Or when his debit/credit card is denied at a store or restaurant. Or when he can’t withdraw money at the ATM.
And even if the bank is “right”, until & unless the customer realizes that, he’ll remain dissatisfied.
The same is true when dealing with your employees.
If they don’t fully understand stuff, as well as WHY certain policies & procedures exist, then they’re left to their own devices. They’ll come up with their own reasons why things are done in a certain way.
“He only has those rules in place just so he can show everyone who’s boss!”
“They treat us like damned robots or just a number!”
“I can’t stand egg salad!”
🤔 🤔 🤔
I can’t overemphasize the importance of addressing the “little things” as often & as quickly as possible. (And I LOVE egg salad & have never in my career forced it upon anyone…except those tiny little kittens that lived in the bushes right outside my office window down in St. Petersburg!)
Be the person who says something immediately, right away. Not encouraging anyone to be rash when it comes to making important decisions or trying to resolve major problems.
But there are so many things happening on a daily basis that do, indeed, need to be addressed as quickly as possible so they don’t blossom into larger issues.
But that can only be done if you’re accessible.
If you have open lines of communications with your people.
If your working relationship are strong on both a formal & informal basis.
Don’t wait for a monthly conference or formal staff meeting to bring stuff up that could’ve been addressed as soon as you learned about them.
(Oh, and as a side note about meetings, inform your people about what you’re going to discuss & the pertinent information BEFORE the actual meeting so that precious time can be better utilized for a fruitful discussion.
If you’re gonna do a presentation, distribute a copy ahead of time so employees are able to better familiarize themselves with the information, formulate opinions, identify potential issues or opportunities, and hold an intelligent conversation.)
It’s all about communication…open, honest, frequent. And regarding communications, listening is just as important as speaking/writing/etc….if not more!
You CANNOT over-communicate. And even if you believe that it’s possible, it’s 1,000 times better than undercommunicating or not communicating at all.
(And, trust me, if you believe that you can over-communicate, then chances are that you’re currently not communicating enough as it is.)
And even if it takes “covering” a previously-discussed item, remember that things change over time, the team’s makeup could be different or rules have changed.
Or the topic (while it may not actually constitute a problem or an issue) is that important enough & crucial to your team’s, the individuals’ and your success that it bears repeating!!!
I truly believe that COMMUNICATION is the most important trait of a good leader!
As always, thank you so very much for listening!