If you ever wonder why your best performing employees are the most difficult to bring “in line”, here is a quick tip! Do not be that boss that will trip over a $100 bill to pick up a Quarter! That is right! You know who you are.
Please allow me to share with you some pointers as it relates to experiences from my past in working with a boss such as this. I worked for a heavy equipment construction company that was family owned and operated. These were very pleasant people; however, there were a few business tools lacking in the ol’ business toolbox. There are some very key business practises a small family run company in a low population area needs to keep in mind.
First off, you do not have an endless supply of potential employees at your disposal so fostering loyalty is essential. Let’s face it, money talks. To keep decent employees, you need to open up the purse strings. When your employees are out in the field giving you their best efforts, they get a little touchy when they find out about your multi-thousand dollar home renovation when they are sent home with no pay on a rainy “no work today” day. It is true, “you get what you pay for”. If you pay cheap, you get half effort. It is human nature. Know how your employee’s value themselves and structure their compensation accordingly. If you know off the bat you can’t pay them what they are worth, don’t waste your time hiring them because they won’t stay and if they do, you’ll only get their idea of acceptable effort for pay received. Remember, your labour is your most valuable asset so treat them accordingly. This includes adequate orientation and ongoing training.
Secondly, relax! Do not be that boss that delegates a task and then goes ahead and does it himself or herself without giving the employee a reasonable amount of time to complete it. Next time you ask for something to be done, that employee will sit on their hands until you ask a second time. Ask me how I know! No one likes a micro manager, and no one excels under a micro manager. If you want your field managers to be successful, and not quit out of sheer frustration, stop undermining their authority in the field by showing up and barking orders. Chain of Command! Respect it. It exists for a reason.
Now, let us have a simple lesson in mathematics. If Sally Sue, the receptionist, makes $18 per hour and Billy Bob, a labourer working on a site that is already behind schedule, makes $28 per hour and you need someone to make a four hour round trip to pick up parts, who do you send? You would send Billy Bob. Why? Because you do not think outside the box, that’s why. I would send Sally Sue. Billy Bob is a direct labour asset. Sally Sue is not. Billy Bob gets the variety of helping on different pieces of equipment with different tasks keeping his days varied and entertaining. Sally Sue is stuck at the same desk with the same scenery all the time. Oh, and Sally Sue has offered MANY times to run for parts for you just to experience a little variety in her work week thus adding to her job satisfaction. If you want to keep Sally Sue for more than two years, send her for parts if she has offered! Plus, you have just saved $40 by sending Sally Sue on top of the extra $200 you earned by billing Billy Bob out as a swamper for those four hours. Do not rush into decisions. Weigh all options. Do the math!
The last tip I am going to give you today is this; “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Just because you are working in a traditional “‘git ‘er done” environment, does not give you the right to forgo the use of manners. Please and thank-you go a long way in earning and keeping the respect of your employees. Barked orders breed disrespect. There is a time and a place for brisk, authoritative communication in the face of potential danger; however, as a rule there is always time for manners. The old saying is true, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Choose your words and tone more cautiously and you will be amazed how much more positively your workers respond to you. Heck, maybe they will even invite YOU out for a beer or bottle of wine after work one day!
These are just a few little tips to get you started on your transformation from “That Boss” to “Great Boss”. Stay tuned for more articles coming up that will delve deeper into the essential tools great leaders and managers carry in their toolbox.
If you are a NASCAR fan, you may be familiar with Roger Penske. In the NASCAR world, Penske is known as an authority on good business practises. Take a read and be inspired! https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/roger-penske-nascar-interview.html