2016 Australian of the Year and Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison famously used the line, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” to push for gender equality in the army.
The idea applies in many situations, including the office.
Avoiding performance discussions and ignoring employee issues in the office won’t bring about the change and increase in productivity that business owners desire (and honestly, employees want to know).
If it’s a mystery to you why you can’t solve performance issues, then read on to see if these clues apply in your company too.
You can’t literally run every aspect of your business; that’s why you felt the need to hire employees.
You outgrew your one-man shop years ago, but you can’t continue to act like you’re the only one capable of taking care of everything from coming up with new ideas or products to fixing any issues to making all the sales calls to invoicing clients.
That’s why it is important to not only delegate, but to provide feedback and training so your employees will achieve the standard you’d like to see them achieve.
If it takes hearing about problems with a certain employee’s work product before you acknowledge a performance issue, then something’s gone wrong in your organisation.
And you certainly don’t want to hear about performance problems from a client—that can be ever worse than a co-worker.
Leaning on someone you deem as your “best” employee won’t lead to the best results overall for your team.
It might work for a while to ask your “known quality” staff to step up if there is a sudden problem—an employee gets sick and has to be out for a month or someone quits without notice—or even a planned absence such as parental leave.
However, employees notice if you continue to pass over them when assigning work, but you don’t address why. And the unfair allocation may cause not only hard feelings, but an “I don’t care” attitude.
Although this might be one of the most obvious clues—like the butler did it—it is something that can create the biggest issue for the health of the business, especially if that translates to not meeting sales goals.
As business owners move from micromanaging or handling every detail to a strategy and growth role, there might be growing pains for them as well, and it might be hard to stay on top of whether everyone is achieving their objectives.
If you’re constantly getting notices from your team leaders that another employee is quitting, don’t blow it off.
Or if you’re a smaller business, and employees never seem to last longer than a year, then it’s time to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Is there always a particular staff member involved in a particular area or something wrong with the way the team manager handles the staff? Is the employee given the tools necessary to succeed? From training to feedback on work product, employees, especially new ones, can’t perform well without direction.