Instant TurnaroundNegative bosses who make nasty comments to belittle or suppress those who work for them are a tremendous drain on the productivity of a business. The problem is that negative comments are hurtful and almost always ruin people’s days. When this occurs, it immediately sucks away people’s energy and now they are no longer able to apply their best effort toward doing their job. A friend of ours who is a manager recently told us that he receives at least one degrading email a month from one of his superiors. “When this happens,” he said, “I completely shut down for the rest of the day.” Let’s assume that 29 other employees received similar emails from that same person. If each of them responded by shutting down for a half-day, that’s 15 days of lost productivity each month all because of one thoughtless email! The message here is: If you have negative people working at your company, especially if they’re in supervisory or managerial positions, don’t ignore them. You need to find a way to get them rehabilitated or get rid of them because they’re a luxury you simply can’t afford.
Uh-oh? Wait! What if I’m the negative boss? In that case, let’s take a look at the facts. There isn’t one research study that shows how being a negative boss has a positive impact on productivity and the bottom line. In fact, being a negative boss has the exact opposite effect: It increases turnover, absenteeism, employee theft, the number of sick days taken while it great decreases morale and productivity. In their book, The Invisible Employee, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton estimate the cost of employee turnover alone in America to be 1.7 trillion dollars annually. So, if you insist on being a negative boss, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot—your performance review takes a big hit because your employees aren’t working anywhere near their potential.
So what’s the secret for getting employees to work up to their potential? That’s why we wrote Instant Turnaround! We wanted to show managers at all levels how to capitalize on something we learned nearly a century ago from the Hawthorne Studies, but have chosen to ignore: The simple act of paying positive to people has the dominant impact on their productivity. This means that the better you treat people, the harder they’ll work. If you want to get people excited about coming to work and working hard all you need to do are the following simple things consistently and well:
- Be yourself and let the real you shine through. There’s no room for arrogance if you expect to get your employees excited about working hard. Arrogance breeds mistrust and people don’t work hard for bosses they don’t trust.
- Say “thank you” often. People absolutely love to work hard when their efforts are appreciated. On the other hand, they slow down quickly if they feel they’re being taken for granted.
- Treat people like they really are your most important resource. Ask their opinion on things, actively listen to what they have to say and take appropriate action when necessary. In other words, let them know that you really do care about them.
- Be nice. Say or do something that brightens the day of each person you come into contact with—smile, greet them by name or compliment them about something they’ve done. Being nice is what makes people like you and they have to like you before they’ll get excited about working hard for you.
- Encourage your employees to be themselves and express their uniqueness—this encourages them to turn their work into fun. Fun is extremely important because it releases excitement which enables people work even harder. There can be no sustained hard work without excitement.
- Spend lots of time out on the front lines working right alongside your employees. This enables you to keep your finger on the pulse of the business and it sends a very clear message to front line employees that you respect them and what they do.
So, if ou’re a negative boss or if you have a team, department or sales force that’s underachieving, give these six bullet points a sincere try. You’ll be amazed at the speed of the turnaround and how quickly your employees step up to make you look good as their boss.