As you know, occasionally we have an associate or partner write an article for the Weekly Business Update. This week, one of our senior consultants, Cory Halbardier, is writing an article on “Employees as Customers.” Enjoy.
Do we, as leaders, treat our employees the same way we treat our customers?
This became apparent to me just a few weeks ago when I was with a client. I was observing an interchange between my client and his underperforming employee. The conversation went something like this: “Johnny, do I have to tell you again? Huh? I told you to knock it off. I’M YOUR BOSS! You better listen to me or I’m going to fire you!”
We need to examine the underlying assumptions this manager has. For example: 1) Is the employee really committed to the company? 2) Are they committed to the manager? 3) If the manager creates fear in the employee, will they work harder?
In order to answer these questions we must first consider these facts:
1) Employees are not committed to companies like they were 20 years ago. If an employee feels underappreciated for the value they provide, they will move on to another employer who appreciates them. The old business paradigm had employees working for the same employer from college until retirement. That old paradigm is gone. Now a typical younger employee will work with a company only 3-5 years before they move; less time if they feel underappreciated. Who decided if the employee feels underappreciated? They do.
2) Rapport and trust are key catalysts for respect. Most of us want to work for employers who respect us. Our employees want the same. If your employer demands respect from you, will you provide it? If you are a business owner, then the customer is your boss. If a customer demands respect from you, will you bend over backward to give it? Most of us would look for a new customer. Demanding respect does not work anymore. Today, we must earn it. Earning respect from employees will develop commitment through attraction, where demanding it will push them away.
3) If a manager uses “scare tactics” to move an employee back on track, it destroys rapport and trust. If this occurs frequently enough, the employee will likely move on. What if they do not move on? This scenario is worse because now you have an employee who lacks self respect and the ability to stand up for themselves (and the company, if necessary.) Do you want an employee who lacks backbone working with your customers?
How do the best leaders approach employees? Stephen R. Covey, in his timeless book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said, “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
Assuming this paradigm, if I was handling a customer problem, I would treat them with respect and maintain clear communication as we worked through the challenge. At the same time, I wouldn’t allow a customer to take advantage of me. Balancing the two is key. Occasionally, this may require parting ways because the arrangement no longer works for the two of us.
The same is true for employees. It is important to maintain clear communication and treat them with respect because, just like a client, they are directly, or indirectly, bringing you money. All employees have the option of taking their “business” somewhere else.
If a manager adopts this new paradigm, they can transform the way they manage.
I will give a step-by-step process for achieving uncommon cooperation and performance from your organization in a seminar called “How to Achieve Uncommon Performance from Your Organization.”
It is a FREE Lunch ‘N Learn hosted by Milestone Risk Management and Insurance Services on Tuesday, July 31st from noon to 1:30 pm in Irvine, CA. It is best suited for company leaders interested in doubling the size of their company. To register, go tohttp://milestonepromise.com/privateregistration.shtml and sign up for Lunch ‘N Learn 4.
See you in 2 weeks.