Between the religious holidays and annual turn of the wheel, December is often a time for reflection. The season encourages people to take stock of their lives and, hopefully, count their blessings. So this seems an appropriate issue in which to discuss appreciation and recognition of those who are important to us, not the least of whom are our co-workers.
This is critical, because the dynamic works in all directions—respect and admiration are as essential moving down the organizational chart as up, or laterally to those of equal rank. Bosses and supervisors generally expect to be treated with deference simply because of their position within a company. What many don’t consider, however, is that regard must be earned. And it is most often and best won by first imparting it to others. An employer who shows respect, compassion and fairness to staff will have it in return. And this—not money—is what makes the business world go round. Cash can only carry you so far.
What constitutes courteous, just treatment in the workplace? The answer might depend on the type of business, geography and individual values, but here are a few items of import:
- Open and honest communication, including positive feedback and criticism, when necessary. Failure to communicate and “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies only create resentment and poor attitudes. Employees like to trust and feel trusted.
- Sociability and kindness. It is neither wise nor prudent to overly mix one’s business and personal life, but no one wants to work with a machine, either. Be friendly with co-workers. Avoid gossip, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can’t be compassionate if you don’t understand the place from which people work, mentally and emotionally.
- Fairness and predictability. Be the kind of employer/employee others trust to be consistent, rational and just. Always listen to both sides of any story and think before acting.
- Awareness. Know staff members’ job responsibilities and something about their workloads. It is impolite and irresponsible to add to someone’s burden through sheer ignorance, so know who does what and when enough is enough. Those with whom you work should view you as an ally, not an enemy.
- Verbal and material generosity. People love their paychecks, but money is far from the only way to let co-workers know you value them. Words of praise go a long way toward increasing confidence and good feeling. Reward others with compliments and, when appropriate, tokens of appreciation such as movie tickets, lunch or time off.
This issue addresses the vital processes of employee hiring, training, evaluation and retention. It contains the information you need to develop or be part of a successful sales and management team. Self-storage, like any other business, depends on the quality of its people to thrive. The product can be luxurious or basic; in either case, it can be lucrative when bolstered with the strongest foundation of all: talented employees.
Treat your supervisors, fellow workers and employees with care and courtesy and, like any good investment, they will give up great returns. In this season and all others, give the best. Give of yourself.
Teri L. Lanza