I'm currently reading a book called Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know by Jill Geisler. I have only started the book and in the second chapter she talks about something that really resonated with me as I had seen some of these things in my own experience. These were three things that employees never forget, three things never forgive and the your evil twin. I will leave the details about the evil twin for another post, and for now lets look at the first two.
Three Things Employees Never Forget
The Sincere Apology
Let's face it, everyone makes mistakes, even managers or leaders. For me, the right thing to do is to admit to your team when you made a mistake. Ideally, you would want to deliver the apology in the same setting as it was error was given. For example, if you said something erroneous in front of your whole team, then the apology should be done in front of them as well. However, from what I have seen, this is seldom the case. My experience has been that most of the time, when people in "power" make mistakes, they often try to make it seem as if it wasn't a big deal and brush it off. For me, this is not the way to do it and when someone like that sincerely apologizes, they earn credibility with the team.
Reaction to Honest Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes in their daily job and when they do crop up, people tend to their bosses coming down on them. However, I believe that you should take the approach of first trying to understand what the problem is, what its root cause was and then try to teach the person what should be done and expect better next time. If the issue was due to a process error, then you would want to prevent the issue from occurring again, so a solution should be put in place. Don't get me wrong, this is not to be done for underperformers. That is a separate challenge on its own.
Showing Genuine Empathy
We recently had say goodbye to one of our dogs. My wife, whom is a huge animal lover, was told by her boss that she could go to the vet to say goodbye and then come back to work. You have no idea how much damage this done in terms of breaking down relationships and losing respect. When something like a death, birth, children's successes etc come about, be compassionate and understanding about the situation. You will be surprised how much appreciation and what a lasting impression you will get for such a simple act.
Three Things Employees Never Forgive
No matter who you are, no one likes lies. Besides the obvious act of lying, people also dislike unkept promises as well as the inconsistencies between what you say and do. You should never go around consciously lying to your team members, it is as simple as that.
No one likes it when someone else takes credit for your work, especially when positive feedback is is short supply in most organisations. Leaders that give credit where credit is due will again gain much more respect from their fellow team members. Additionally, they should never be scared that other people are seen as the 'heroes', whom will steal the limelight from you.
As a leader, you are constantly 'on stage' and closely watched by all your team members. As such, people pick up when you act differently around your superiors compared to when you are with them. At the end of the day you need to be authentic and send the same messages no matter who you are interacting with. If you don't they will probably start seeing you as untrustworthy.
Well that wraps up this post. I hope it gave you something to think about and keep in mind next time you talk to your team members.
Until next time...keep learning!