Have you ever found yourself or one of your cleaning or restoration managers saying, “My employees have terrible attitudes about their jobs and it’s affecting the quality of our work. I don’t understand why they’re complaining. They should all be happy to have a job and a paycheck!”?
Regardless of your position in the company, more than likely the cause for a statement like this stems from problems with two important elements of your company’s culture: The attitude you and your managers exhibit with employees and the expectations you have set for them. Although these seem like relatively simple concepts, they are arguably the most neglected aspects of our work life.
Attitude is defined as a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior. For business owners and managers, the latter part of this definition is immensely important, as it plays an undeniable role in influencing the behavior of your employees. If you want to see a positive change in the attitudes of others, you have to look at your own actions first. Always ask yourself if you are abiding by these three ground rules, and if not, adjust your behavior accordingly:
- Exhibit a positive attitude yourself.
- Influence employees through patience, support, and praise.
- Be sincere and genuine; don’t try to manipulate situations.
If you let these rules guide you then not only will your own attitude improve, but you will be setting a positive example for others.
Like attitudes, expectations and how they are met are heavily influenced by business managers. Great managers understand the need to do more than just set rules and standards and assume they will be followed. They need to get buy-in from their employees. When an employee starts a new job or is assigned new responsibilities, the manager must clearly define and communicate what will be expected of them. Then, once the employee and manager have a shared agreement on, and understanding of, the expectations, it is the responsibility of the manager to frequently evaluate and measure the employee’s progress toward fulfilling them. When you set and communicate expectations up front, your employees know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They can then focus on using their unique talents to perform their jobs, which is why you hired them.
I often reflect on my first job out of college and the manager to whom I reported. Although he had many recent graduates to manage, his sincere attitude and high expectations helped lead each of us down a path of success. He recognized that each member of his team had unique talents, so he coached us through regularly conducted individual meetings. Because this manager held a strong belief in the need for balance between work and personal life, he started each meeting by inquiring about my well-being and that of my young family. Opening the meetings on this personal note set a positive atmosphere from the start.
The structure of the rest of the meeting was always consistent and supportive. He would ask for an update about my customers, product placement, and sales numbers. He would then review what he expected of me while pointing out both my successes and failures. I could always count on him to give me suggestions on how to reach loftier goals, not just the ones that were expected.
My first manager was a major influence on my personal growth and my business acumen. He always had a positive attitude, treated each of us as unique individuals, and understood how to set definable and attainable expectations for our jobs.
Are you providing the same foundation for your employees?
John Monroe spent 30 years in sales before becoming an entrepreneur by starting a commercial kitchen exhaust restoration and cleaning company and then operating his own sales management consultancy. He is currently a business development advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA) where he works closely with business owners and their management staff as both a business consultant and an executive coach. To reach him, visit Violand.com or call (330) 966-0700.