bobbie smith

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writer, editor, designer, communications expert

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Actions speak louder than messages.

You tell employees that they are important to you, but:
You never ask them how their day is going; it’s because of your crazy schedule.

You walk by them all the time with your head down, thumbing your Blackberry.
You don’t have time to answer their questions or meet with them.

If this is the case, you can post messages on your Intranet site and send them all the memos in the world about how important they are to you but because of what you do, but they won’t believe you. 

If employees really are important to you, you need to show them, not tell them. 

Then, and only then, will they get the message.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Give employees a voice.

Giving employees a way to voice their thoughts, opinions and suggestions about the business has multiple impacts. Offering opportunities for employees to give feedback allow them to:
  • Become more engaged as they feel someone is listening.
  • Come up with creative solutions to operational problems.
  • Share intelligence to which leaders are not exposed.
  • Inform leaders of what employees are thinking and what their needs are.
Ignoring employee input makes as much sense as ignoring customer input. If you’ve ever watched the reality show UNDERCOVER BOSS, you’d know that until executives get their hands dirty, it’s difficult for them to run their business well. The show follows high-level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the lowest level jobs within their companies to find out what their employees really think about the business and to discover/uncover ways to improve the business.

It’s tough for leaders to conduct an undercover boss operation in their own organizations. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ask employees what they think, what ideas they have and what problems they need solved? In fact, asking them is the easy part; following up with them year after year and taking visible action in the right direction is the hard part.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tell employees the truth.

Paul Galvin, founder of Motorola shared this thought in Jim Shaffer’s book, The Leadership Solution and he’s right. Employees are grown-ups. They can handle bad news, especially when they know they can trust their leaders. What they can’t handle is uncertainty, lack of clarity or a lack of trust from their leaders. 

When leaders hesitate to share information with employees, they have good intentions but leaders risk damaging their own credibility and alienating their greatest asset by not sharing. 

Employees know when you're hiding something. If you aren't straight with them, you risk encouraging the rumour mill. People will fill the void with what makes sense to them.