Saturday, December 10, 2011

16 Ways to Show Staff You Care

Having a firm belief that when you hire right and take care of your people, they in turn will take care of your business and the customers it serves.  With this in mind, my friend Joe Isaacs, an association executive, and I published an article in this December's (2011) issue of Association Now. 

The article is entitled "16 Ways to Show Staff You Care".  For the benefit of my blog followers, I am posting the text of that article here.  Hope you find some nuggets that you can apply to strengthen your own teams, and therefore your business.


We've served associations as both senior management and as trusted vendor partners for more than 30 years.  Over the years we have observed what contributes to organizational success among those who take seriously the adage "we are only as good as our people." 

The art of developing positive staff relations can fill books, but here are 16 simple truth that we believe will foster trust and dedication, promote a shared vision and performance excellence, and inspire staff leadership and creativity.
  1. Show faith in your staff's capabilities: Set expectations, provide needed resources and tools, encourage measured risk taking, and offer specific feedback.
  2. Recognize it's not all about you: Know that your success is derived from your staff's success.  Your role is to insure and help them be their best, not respond to your whims.
  3. Watch performance and outcomes, not the clock: Work them hard when you need to and give them time off and the opportunity to work from home when they need it.
  4. Get to know them as human beings: Recognize them by name and try to reward them based on their personal interests and preferences (e.g. concert tickets to a favorite performance for some, verbal praise for others).  It will often mean more to them then just money.
  5. Don't micromanage: Ask staff what they need to get the job done, but don't dictate how they should do it.  Listen to staff for their important insights from the trenches.
  6. Play to their strengths: Help staff find work that fits their natural talents and that they enjoy (even if it means a job elsewhere), and provide additional professional training when needed.
  7. In case of mistakes, don't shout or punish: Talk it out, allow the staff member to explain what happened, and use it as a learning and growth opportunity.
  8. Hold staff accountable for their efforts: Everyone brings something different to the table, but you don't want free riders or a sense of inequity to pervade.
  9. Encourage managers to serve as mentors: A good manager is like a good coach, not merely a delegator.
  10. Praise in public; criticize in private: Acknowledge staff's contributions in public every chance you get (including listing all staff on your website when possible and practical), and reserve sharing individual criticism for private moments.  Do keep in mind though that some staff members prefer more recolonization to be private.  When in doubt, ask them how they like to be acknowledged.  They will respect you for asking.
  11. Treat staff with respect: Model positive behavior you expect from them and you are more likely to have it reciprocated.  Reflect professionalism but have a sense of humor.
  12. Treat staff like adults and they'll be more likely to act that way: Make time for them when they need to talk to you and do so without judgement.  And when appropriate, ask them for needed advice.
  13. Recognize that some staff may not fit the culture: Remove staff members who are toxic to the workplace, no matter how good they are technically.  Your organization will go on and be healthier for it.
  14. Don't ask staff to do anything you wouldn't do yourself if asked by a supervisor: Listen to your gut in those instances and buffer your staff from unreasonable requests from individual board members.
  15. Give them credit: Acknowledge to them and others routinely that organization's accomplishments are a result of staff's talent and their support of the organization's strategic directions.
  16. Communicate honestly and fairly: Keep staff informed about the organization's progress as much as possible, and don't shoot the messenger when someone informs you of a problem.

If you have additional suggestions, I hope you will share them.  Thank you.

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