Do you have a consistent line-up of people dumping problems in your lap…
Do you have a constant stream of staff presenting you with problems to solve?
Staff Interrupting your work to sort out their stuff?
Are you constantly putting out staff fires?
You constantly feel like you’re constantly fighting fires instead of getting to the job at hand done. You feel like you need a ‘second you’, to deal with the problems full time, so you can get on with doing all that needs to be done in your business. Your team are consistently bringing their problems to you; Someone didn’t put the tools back, they’re messy, disorganised or careless. People frustrated with other people not doing their job properly, there is no initiative, they just don’t think for themselves. They have no motivation to take action to solve their own problem … what do you do in this situation?
I get it, it’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s like you’re running a kindergarten and you’re dealing with 3 or 4 year olds. There’s constant bickering, arguing and negativity that just seems to wear you down. You get to the end of the day and you look at your diary and you’ve done nothing but deal with other peoples problems all day. You think, ‘now they’ve gone home, I can start my days work.’ It’s like you’re on the mouse wheel, constantly trying to catch up but never do.
This leads you to working ridiculous hours, spending too much time at work away from your family and home/social life. It’s exhausting and it’s not sustainable. You may even feel like giving up, it would just be easier to scale back and reduce the amount of staff you have. Yes you’d be smaller but at least you wouldn’t have to deal with all the crap that comes your way now.
I want to tell you, this can be fixed. It doesn’t have to be this way, there is a way out of this seemingly impossible situation, but it requires you to think differently, to do things a little differently. If you’re up for it, read on.
This situation is common. It happens in all industries across all sizes of business’ with teams. The good news is, that it is fixable. You don’t have to put up with this forever. The bad news is, if you want to grow then you have to do something about it. It’s your responsibility to do something, and your willingness or lack of, to take action will directly impact whether this continues or not.
The problem is that your team are disengaged, they lack of ownership, care and buy-in.
If you take a higher perspective, when someone becomes the manager they get paid to take ownership and paid to have buy-in so all of a sudden they care. When they’re not a manager & there’s no desperate need for them to get it done and they don’t get paid on it, they don’t care.
It’s all created by lack of direction and relevance.
So, if you want to turn this situation around, here are the questions you must answer if you want to get out of this mouse wheel;
1) What is your Vision? What direction are you leading the team? Why would they want to go there?
The first thing that’s required is a vision – a direction. You have a team of people that you’re trying to lead, if you don’t have a direction then you’re not leading them. So create and image of success at some point in the future that is inspiring, that you and the team can aspire to. Be sure to communicate it in a motivational and inspirational way. Tell them where you’re going. Tell them what impact they are having on your customers lives. Make it relevant to each individual. Tell them how they will feel as a result of their contribution when you reach the vision.
2) Why do they care? What’s in it for them (WIIFT) How do they benefit emotionally? Can they benefit financially?
So many business I’ve worked with, when we get started, have no working Key Performance Indicators. (KPI’s) I’ve heard all sorts of reasons as to why not, but I’ve never met a business that you can’t apply one or more KPI to each role. No matter how ‘unsalesy’ the role is.
The problem is, if you don’t have KPI’s, how do you know if they are succeeding or not? How do you know if they are performing? Adding to the bottom line? If you don’t know where they’re at now, how do you know what they need to do to improve and how do you identify when they have improved?
So Implement some KPI’s and start to measure them. Not to make them feel bad, but to build their confidence and sense of achievement when they succeed. That in it’s self helps them care and means they are accountable for their personal performance. You can also highlight to them how their specific role is contributing to the bigger picture. (Vision).
If you want to take it one step further, make it relevant in their personal life. Take the time to learn about them as a person. What do they care about, value, want to achieve in life, what’s the next holiday they want to go on?
To make it relevant in their life as a whole, link their performance and success in your business with a specific goal they want to achieve in their personal life. Do they want to buy a new car or house, go on a holiday? Get creative and come up with a way that you can help them when they achieved their KPI’s. Some examples could be: Vouchers, paying for their passport, travel insurance, a nice dinner when they’re away. Contributing to the car in some way, introducing them to a connection you know to look after them or contributing to something that’s important to them for the house. Obviously it’s all within reason and must reflect the value they have added to the business, but no matter how small, this will make them feel valued and appreciated as a person.
3) How structured is your environment? Do you have well documented systems so they know what and how to do their job successfully. Do you have a code of conduct so they know how to be successful in your workplace?
Sometimes, without even being aware of it, we, as business owners, expect our team to be mind readers. We expect them to know what they should and shouldn’t do, without even telling them. As you can imagine, or even possibly relate from a previous job, this can be very frustrating. Being told off for something you didn’t know or having the goal posts moved is a fast way to disengage your team. It only needs to happen once or twice.
So, ensure that you have clearly defined and documented expectations. So it’s in black and white and there can be no misunderstanding. This ‘code of conduct’ is then in place to guide ALL people in the business, including you. If something once thought should be an expectation becomes clear that it’s not realistic, then acknowledging and updating the ‘code of conduct’ is necessary. This means the document is fluid, where it keeps changing and evolving as you become clearer and clearer of what’s possible and reasonable to expect.
A great way to do this is to make a list of everything that pisses you off. What are all the things that happen in your business that annoy you. Complaining at your desk could absolutely be one. So what would you prefer to happen. I suggest to my clients that they outline in the code of conduct, that it’s ok for them to have a problem, but you don’t want to hear about it until they’ve thought up a solution and tried that solution. If then it didn’t work, then they can come to you for help with solution finding. If they come to you with out a solution, they know the answer they are going to get. ‘What have you tried already?’ This is called solution based thinking and a great way to get them owning their own problems. They are, after all, adults, most of the time.
4) How do you hold your team accountable? Do you hold them accountable every time they don’t follow the ‘code of conduct’? Do they walk away from that conversation empowered or belittled?
Holding your team accountable is a crucial step in ensuring that you don’t have that constant line of problems at you. Many business owners shudder at the thought of holding their team accountable because they dislike confrontation themselves. So it’s just easier to over look it, ignore it or justify their behaviour this time.
What’s important to understand here, is that people will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. So if they know they wont be held to account for not doing their job properly, then it’s just easier for them to not do their job. On the other hand, if they knew that not doing their job properly meant having a serious and direct conversation with you, in time, they’d know that it is just easier to do their job.
But this also applies to you, you will also do more to avoid pain than you will to gain pleasure, so if you see holding someone accountable as more ‘painful’ than ignoring the behaviour, then you won’t have those conversations. So you need to make ‘not having those conversations’ more painful. You can do this by fast forwarding to a time, (maybe that time is now) where you have a disengaged, unmotivated team. Constant resignations and the expense of having to employ and train new staff all the time. It’s not fun. Simply having these accountability conversations can help you avoid all of that pain. And it is painful.
There is a positive way and a negative way to hold someone accountable. Simply yelling at someone or telling them off is not a way to effectively hold someone accountable. You can check out my blog here to learn more about how to do this effectively. https://lisawiking.com/the-secret-to-successfully-holding-your-team-accountable/
Once you have answered these three stages, you have a solid foundation to continue building on. The next step is to ensure you’re meeting their needs as a human being. There are 6 core needs that every human is striving to have met in all areas of their life. Stay tuned for the next blog to understand in more detail what these are.
Is there something here that you think ‘yea, but I can’t do that in my business because….. I don’t have time, my people won’t like that, I can’t implement that’. I’m here to tell you, you absolutely can.
Knowing how to manage and lead people is a skill, like the technical aspect of your business. There was a time when you didn’t know it, and now you are the master at it. It’s the same for leading your people, there was a time when you didn’t know it and with commitment and some guidance, there will be a time when your people are your most valuable asset.
If you’d like help with a specific situation, where you just need to know exactly what the next step is, then let’s get together and work out a plan of action to deal with it. We will unpack what’s going on. I’ll help you understand why this situation is happening and then we’ll strategise a plan to over come it. You’ll get the complete recording, so you can listen to it over and over again, capturing any required scripts so you know exactly HOW to deal with the situation, HOW have the conversation, making sure the solution fits your specific dynamics … AND a follow-up call to check in how did you go, what worked and didn’t work and what will you do moving forwards. All this for just $297. Simply click here to book your time.