Many of us have heard the phrase Happy Wife, Happy Life, but have we considered the idea of “Happy Staff Happy Customers?” Aside from the fact that the latter has no snappy rhyme to make it interesting, the point is that there is a trickle down effect which occurs in the workplace whether you are aware of it or not.
When a boss, leader, supervisor or manager is constantly walking through the door grumpy, stressed, silent, inattentive, unengaged and unaware, that has an enormous negative trickle down effect on everyone he comes into contact with.
When the owners or leaders of an organization are negative, critical, complaining or unengaged it models to the rest of the staff those attributes.
Additionally, emotions are contagious- much like catching colds or flu- so when leaders exhibiting negativity walk in, it literally shifts the mood, energy and overall culture into a negative web of fear, apathy, or eggshell walking. Over time, this reduces morale, productivity and will ultimately have a negative effect on the bottom line.
But what if you are the owner, leader, or boss and you ARE stressed out? What if you are so preoccupied with the next 25 things to do that you fail to acknowledge your staff, hear their hellos, or make eye contact. If this describes you, the absence of engaging may have become habit.
The first thing is to get your own stress and emotions managed more effectively. You are a leader in your organization so your words and actions set the tone.
Modeling self care, and emotional control is a great place to start because innately, we all have a survival instinct that kicks in and tells us if we are in a safe place with safe people. When someone in authority consistently ignores us or only talks to us when we have done something wrong, what soon follows is a miserable working environment that leaves many people looking for the exit.
So if you are a harried business owner or frazzled organizational leader, there are small things you can do to turn this dynamic around. Remember, start with your own self care and stress management plan.
Acknowledge your people every day. Depending on the size of your organization, walk the floor, say hello or send an uplifting motivational email or quote. None of that takes a long time, but it goes a long way in causing people- your people to feel appreciated.
Notice when someone does something great. Then tell them. Most of us have a brain that notices when something is wrong, or errors have occurred. If that is all we see, then we create a culture of negativity and error fixing. Watch for the small things that people do well and publicly thank them.
If you are feeling stressed, say so. It may be that you just level with people by sharing “I am not at my best today, I’m feeling a bit stressed and wanted you to know so I have accountability to not take it out on you.” People will understand if you are just up front about it. After all, we’ve ALL been stressed lately.
Check in with yourself first before you walk through the door or jump on that zoom meeting. Ask yourself: am I well rested, well nourished, am I able to show up being curious and caring for others? Increasing awareness of how you are showing up, i.e. how others are likely to experience you makes a world of difference in your people feeling energized, motivated, engaged and wanting to give work their best.
Make Sharing Appreciations a Habit. Whether your business is micro, small, medium or large, make it a point to engage with people, and to start meetings off with an appreciation. Encourage your team leads and managers to do the same. Appreciations must be brief, specific and genuine. Watch people’s faces light up.
Investing in your people is time well spent. The more you engage with them, the more you model for them what it looks like to engage with your customers or clients in a genuine way.
Do not overlook this important aspect of running your business if you want to thrive rather than merely survive.
The more you show appreciation, kindness, caring along with accountability that goes both ways, the more likely you will pass those same behaviors to your staff who then treat your customers and clients accordingly.
You may find yourself a lot happier too as the positive emotions come back to you – a great return on your investment.