Keeping Employees Happy? Hey CEOs, This Isn’t Rocket Science

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Jul 2, 2012

Are you tired of hearing about all of the ways you can make your company a “win-win?”

Yeah, I know the jargon gets old — but the goal shouldn’t.

As much as I don’t like jargon, business leaders can achieve a win-win in their organizations. It’s not difficult but does require effort and accountability from the rest of management. A splash of empathy always helps, too.

When employees are happy, customers are happy

CEOs need to shift their focus from their customers to their employees. No, I’m not crazy. I get that it’s the customers and ongoing business development that keeps the lights on. What’s hard to see however (and I’m sorry to say that I’ve seen it first hand), is when companies put a higher priority on customers and numbers than they do on their employees.

It’s not a difficult concept. When employees are happy, customers will be happy. When customers are happy, the bottom line will take care of itself.

On the flip side, do you think employees will go overboard for a customer when they don’t feel they’re being treated fairly? Think they’ll burn that midnight oil for you at crunch time?

Leaders and CEOs have a lot on their plates. When it comes to how to treat people right, maybe this seems like an overwhelming undertaking. I understand that, too. But it doesn’t need to be complicated.

Good leadership MUST start from the top so that it can trickle down to the rest of management. This is not negotiable. The responsibility of providing good leadership shouldn’t fall on HR’s shoulders because HR doesn’t run the company — the CEO does.

Six leaderships basics

HR should be coaching and promoting good leadership styles, but at the end of the day, it has to start at the top. So now that we have that clear, here are a few basics:

  • Listen to new ideas. You never know who will come up with the next “big” one.
  • Provide good feedback. People want to know how they’re doing. It is a big deal. Don’t take it for granted.
  • Celebrate the little victories publicly. It’s free and goes a long way. Trust me.
  • Be sure that folks are learning from mistakes. If they’re not, take action.
  • Don’t get hung up on surveys. Leave your office and visit the trenches. You won’t melt if you mingle with the underlings, I promise.
  • Communicate and communicate more! People feel valued when they know what’s going on in the organization.

Get out of the boardroom, ditch your ego, and apply that basic psychology and some common sense to your leadership style. Be sure the entire management team is doing the same thing. Rinse and repeat.

In an environment that needs change, it will be slow but you will see a positive difference.

This was originally published on Kimberly Patterson’s Unconventional HR blog.

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