What a pleasure life would be to live if everybody would try to do only half of what he expects others to do.
–William J.H. Boetcker
I read a story about a farm boy got a white football for Christmas. He played with it a while and accidentally kicked it over into the neighbor’s yard. The old rooster ran out, looked at it, and called the hens to see it. “Now look here,” the rooster told them, “I don’t want you to think I’m complaining, but I want you to see what they are doing next door.”
Ask most people at their place of business what they need from their employers to be more successful or productive on the job and they will be quick to tell you. But when you ask them what they don’t need in order to be more productive is when things get interesting.
Knowing what your people need to succeed is important, but also knowing what they don’t need from you will certainly help.
Here are four things to start with.
Your negative attitude
In as much as positive attitudes are contagious, so too, are negatives ones. If you make it a habit to circulate among your people with a bad attitude, always finding fault, only focusing on what’s wrong, then your presence will be a demoralizing factor. The truth be told, your people may have every tool they need to succeed but if you have a negative attitude then it is hindering them.
Everyone wants to be appreciated, valued, and wants to believe that their work makes a difference. But if you come across as indifferent to their work, ideas, and contributions then you are sending signals that they are unimportant to you. If you place no value in your people then how can you expect them to place value in their work? Indifference breeds indifference and the results will be devastating.
Your leadership style will either facilitate the progress of your people or it will stand in their way. If you burden people down with unnecessary policies and procedures, time-wasting meetings, or ill-timed interruptions then you are in the way. Your employees should not be made to pay the price for your poor time management skills. Don’t allow the “tyranny of the urgent” to be an obstruction to your people.
While most of your people will never speak up about this, don’t mistake it for not noticing. Inconsistent actions by management always send the wrong message. When you communicate one thing and do another then you have planted doubt and mistrust in the minds of your people. Your employees don’t need mixed messages. It only creates confusion and animosity.