The employees of your business are important to your success. And today more than ever their connection with their job and your business is directly related to your success.

In past times, leaders would give directions and expect them to be followed. Leadership today requires collaboration. Instead of saying what you want done you will say, “here is what we can accomplish together to achieve our goals.”

Unfortunately, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many bad employees and they want me to fix them.

I was asked by a family business what I felt needed to be done to “make their people work.” They did not ask me what they could do differently.

For starters, family members disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over the other. The managers in the business complained about lack of leadership and direction. One manager was very hard on her staff and had no tolerance with people of different capabilities. Ownership allowed this continue and ran around putting out fires. Ownership feared confronting abusive managers reasoning that it would be difficult to replace her because they felt that it was difficult to recruit and hire in their geographic area. Fact is, it was difficult to recruit because of the tolerance of an abusive environment. This culture created by the entire leadership team was suppressing applicants and potential customers alike. This example shows how employee disengagement will torpedo the success of the business.

Looking in the mirror and asking what we need to change is never easy. These owners were defensive and made excuses. Pride, however, will not result in a profitable outcome. Embracing change will begin the process of improvement. Here are the starting recommendations to correct this situation:

The owners must agree on a clear vision, values and objectives for their organization. In order to have managers that lead, ownership must first inspire. Be clear and be positive. Owners must convey their goals to everyone but they should start with their managers and leaders. They need to help their managers develop interpersonal skills so that they may apply the business objectives in the conduct of their job.

They should hold the managers accountable for objectives that they have the authority to implement. They should give managers a clear description of duties, authority, and responsibility and not countermand a manager’s directives to staff. Rather disagreements should be discussed with managers privately.

Have detailed job descriptions with regular and ongoing performance feedback. Hold the staff accountable and take proper action to correct errors. And above all have a no tolerance policy for abuse.

Develop easy to follow systems and procedures that will facilitate smooth operations.

Develop a customer loyalty program. Create a process to exceed customer expectations.

Generations in the workplace

When ownership is focused and they inspire leaders they will create an enthusiastic staff. The result is that focused owners will empower engaged and focused leaders empowering an engaged staff serving loyal customers.

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