I’m helping a small company out and am amazed at the lack of respect, honesty and integrity the employees have for each other.
Bickering, gossip, and intentional sabotage are all fair game.
This is ridiculous. In an exchange between two employees, one kept turning to me saying, “Ask her why she…”. And she’s sitting right next to us. But this employee acted like she wasn’t even there.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Are you faced with employee issues that you don’t know how to solve? You’re not alone. But what most small retailers don’t realize is that they’re the problem. They’ve allowed this hostile environment to be developed and perpetuate itself.
That’s what happened at this company and now it’s a swirling vortex of anger, frustration and cattiness where finger pointing is the norm and problem solving has been thrown out the window.
Time for some tough talk.
Here’s a few ways to deal with these types of issues.
1. Be introspective, then find a mentor. Chances are that if you’re “fighting” with your employees, then you know you’re the issue. But even though you may admit it to yourself, you can’t or won’t change. That’s the situation at this company. And increased employee turnover is the result. Get someone to help you face the facts and be honest with you so you can become a better manager. You can’t learn this at a seminar. Find a partner, a mentor or someone whom you respect who can be frank and honest with you. Then talk with them every chance you get.
2. Operate with honesty, integrity and respect. I sound like the proverbial broken record, continually communicating this message every chance I get. People need to be reminded that it’s not okay to treat others with a lack of any of the three. And it all starts with you, the owner. You set the tone for how all others act. The adage of “actions speak louder than words” applies here. Don’t say it and do something different. If you do it, your employees will begin to change as well. It’s a long process but we’re on the cusp of changing at this company and it feels great!
3. Talk it out. Bring the employees together, serve as the mediator and encourage conversation that operates under the honesty, integrity and respect mantra. Communication is the key in your personal relationship at home. And the same holds true for work relationships. Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
4. Follow-up and be a nag. We have an issue where the offender hasn’t yet learned that I am his mentor and partner, no matter how many times we’ve talked. So he’s not coming to me for help or advice. So I go to him. Every chance I get. I pull the information out of him, and then help him to become a better manager. Do the same. Follow up. Then follow up again. And follow up some more.
Managing people is the toughest part of any operation. After all, we’re all human with our own personalities, emotions and thoughts. Communication is the great equalizer. If you communicate (and are honest) with yourself, and with your employees, you’ll be on your way to creating an environment where your employees will love working.