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When was the last time you complained about someone?

For most of us, it was probably within the last week or so. 

It’s in human nature to complain about what people are continually doing wrong. Interestingly enough, not many people will actually do something about it.

Now, I have managed and owned multiple businesses, and in this time, I found staff would complain about other staff members. Most of the time, they would tell me the issues so that I was aware, but it was almost always followed up with, “You can’t say anything because it will cause a problem or she will be angry at me!”.

Sound familiar? Where can you go with that?

I quickly learnt to create tools and strategies that dealt with internal feedback most immediately bringing around a better cultured work place.

An example of one of the strategies was to implement a system where instead of complaining to the manager, you instead would approach them with a solution. What can the manager do about this problem? Or what can management do to show that they care about the situation?

While we all appreciate our employees telling us about issues within the business, it also makes it difficult to resolve when the handbrakes are continually being pulled every time you try to establish a solution.

New Formula: Problem = Possibility and Opportunity! 

So, with every problem you share bring a solution with it!

Ultimately, people do what they do because you let them.

So, stop letting them!

I learnt the hard way and my coach at the time would bang this saying out!

The thing is she was right and not just in business but also in every day life!

Business owners will complain about their staff members always turning up late, not being productive enough or ‘Ive told her how to do that three times already!” Well, aside from complaining, what are you actually going to do about it? Do you feel as though you couldn’t possibly tell your staff that they need to arrive on time? 

Perhaps they have children, or they are a single parent…maybe they are going through a divorce. We start to become invested in our emotions rather than becoming invested in our business. I am not saying that investing your emotions is the wrong thing to do, I am going to ask you though does that serve the higher intention of keeping your business running and functioning successfully or does it limit you and stop you from following through or taking action with accountability towards achieving the results the ‘business’ needs to be successful?

Often your deep unconscious desire of wanting to be liked by your staff can come into play. You can however be loved, respected and appreciated by your team without sacrificing your business can’t you? How you talk to your staff doesn’t need to be controlling and abrupt. In fact, there is talent in your etiquette of communication.

Instead of saying, “Hey Sarah, you need to start being on time otherwise I am going to have to do something about it!” in a tonality that is quite forceful, you could instead work on developing a rapport with your staff. Understand the type of communication that would resonate with them. Don’t react to something that has gone wrong, instead have a controlled strategised response that delivers the message clearly and fairly. Leave emotion at the door and calmly state the facts. How being late effects everyone.

Sometimes we need to get back to basics with our management skills. For example, when our children are 2 or 3 years old, we are often tired.

When they muck up, we feel as though we don’t have the energy to deal with them. But children need consistency. We need to repeat ourselves to create new habits. It means reminding children to shut the door behind them, look before they cross the road, say please and thank you…

Sometimes you may need to ask them hundreds of times before they finally create the new habit.

If you allow them to always get away with something, once, twice, three times or more, you are teaching them a new habit and that the new behaviour is acceptable.

Also, the behaviour needs to be addressed straight away if you want to make any significant changes. There’s no point telling your child five hours after they have left the door open, that they need to learn to shut the door. Change needs to occur immediately.

It’s the same for adults.

If your staff are always late, you need to address it immediately. It could even mean waiting for them by the door to ask why they are late. Discuss the issue with them so that you are both accountable. Ask what can they do that will have them at work onetime?

Another solution could be that you offer to start work at the same time as they do or offer to change their hours that enables them to be on time without exceptions. When you make suggestions such as these, you are ensuring both of you now have a level of self-accountability to change the problem. Instead of threatening to “write them up” with a warning, you now have created a solution that will work!

The best thing about accountability is that when we hold ourselves and our staff accountable, we immediately set a standard within the business.

Accountability drives integrity, and follow through within your staff and management. 

Rather than being angry, frustrated and even possibly rude to solve the problem, you have now created a solution that will build a trusting relationship with your employees.

This lets your team know that you are invested in outcomes that assist everyone in achieving and that you are a leader who takes action.