It’s not easy showing up at work everyday. Showing up inspired. Showing up motivated. Work demands an instant transformation, like the click of a button. But, people are not apps.
Imagine a 10 minute wait for the bus, 15 minute bus ride to the train station, 7 min wait, 42 min train journey, 12 min walk from the station to the office building and then an impatient wait for the elevator. Would you expect the employee to immediately switch on and sound energetic on the first sales cold call?
No, you can’t. People are not apps.
But what do you do as a leader? You cannot eliminate the travel and the challenges associated with the daily travel. But you could help the employee ease into her work schedule if you happen to be aware of her daily struggle.
Get To Know Your People
How does it help? First, it helps you be more sensitive and mindful. Like, if you are mindful about the daily pain of public travel in crowded buses and trains, you would not brag about your new car during the coffee break at office.
Then, it also helps you help your people.
You need to be aware of their personal and career goals; primary and secondary skills; likes and dislikes; hobbies. Match roles and responsibilities with skills and career goals. Not every star sales executive aspires to become the VP of Sales. You would be trying in vain to prepare them for a leadership role. Some like to play rather than coach. Unless you figure out and understand what they want, you cannot help them.
And finally, it helps you grow your business. Right people for the right job. This in itself is a winning strategy. People who are cared for, who are happy working for you and who have the right skills for what they are expected to do – this is your winning strategy.
Create an Employee Dossier
I now work as an independent consultant. But, a few years ago when I managed a team, I remember preparing a dossier for each employee – a one pager form with fields to capture key information. And, several pages of handwritten notes about conversations, habits, behaviour, food preferences, achievements and failures.
I would review these notes once every few days and prepare myself for the next purpose driven conversation with the employee. I made those conversations look informal, but always had a purpose and a goal.
You forget what you don’t document – make it a habit to write down information. People love when you remember the little details. The easiest leadership trick is to be able to connect with the person – not the job role, but the person.
Get to know your people!
Thank you for making it to the end. I publish a weekly newsletter on LinkedIn – The Guide to Happy Workplaces. Subscribe for weekly notifications on how to create happier workplaces for better results.