“You can buy a man’s time, you can buy a man’s physical presence at a given place, you can even buy a measured number of skilled muscular motions per hour per day. But you cannot buy enthusiasm; you cannot buy initiative; you cannot buy loyalty; you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds and souls. You have to earn these things.” ~ Clarence Francis
Clarence Francis retired as Chairman of the General Foods Corporation in 1954 – over 60 years ago when management methodology was very different to what it is today. But the underlying message in his quote is still valid. A paycheck is an important part of being employed and by paying it you will get the basics from your staff. But if you really want excellence – if you want employees to bring their whole selves to the workplace then employment needs to be viewed more as a partnership where mutual respect and a demonstration of shared values needs to be present.
Thinking back to when I worked in a corporate environment, what was it that made me do my very best for my boss? Having clear, challenging goals with a reward system that made it worthwhile was important but ultimately 3 things stand out for me.
Be fair, be kind and be real.
Growing up, being treated fairly and seeing others being treated fairly was very important to me. That feeling has never left and for me it’s one of the key elements of running a successful business or team. It creates great cohesion and makes employees feel valued. Seeing others treated fairly also builds respect for the leadership team.
In business, being kind is often a completely misunderstood concept. It is often incorrectly associated with being warm and fuzzy. Being kind requires empathy and emotional intelligence. It requires the ability to give something of yourself and to understand why you are doing it. And kindness is contagious – be kind to a colleague and they will tend to pass that on. Not only to other team members but to customers as well which is great for your brand.
Allowing your team to see you as you really are can build great trust. Showing yourself to be fallible and vulnerable is part of being human. Admit mistakes, laugh out loud, share your colleagues sad and happy moments. It will add great value to your and your employee’s lives.
So – be fair, be kind and be real.
By Graham Boxall