Earning the trust and respect of your employees is no guaranteed feat. The key, as a management trainer explains, is adding value to your workforce in a way that’s valuable to them.
Guy Williams, from The Training Guys, says it’s not enough to provide a computer and a phone for your employees. As a business owner and people manager, you need to actively develop the trust of your employees, to know and understand their personal circumstances, and be willing to help them perform at their peak.
“This idea of leave home at home and work at work is a little naive,” he says.
Guy shares a personal story, from his time as an employee, that demonstrates how a good manager can support their employees, without going to great expense.
“My daughter is now 19, and I remember when she was born and I was working for a company… She was the most miserable baby you could ever imagine. She was just such tremendously hard work,” he recalls.
“People were saying, ‘Oh, they grow up so fast’. No, they don’t. Every day is dragging at this point in time. It was just awful… I mean, she’s absolutely wonderful now and I love her dearly, and I loved her as a baby, but she was tremendously hard work.
“Now, my boss at the time knew that I was exhausted. My child didn’t sleep, well’ she did sleep all day, but she didn’t do much of it at night, so my poor wife was absolutely exhausted. I would come home from work and my wife would probably just hand my child to me, and say, ‘Now, you take care of her for the next 12 hours before you go back to work.’”
Guy says living like this left him exhausted, and as the weeks dragged on, things got worse, limiting his ability to function during work hours.
“I just remember so vividly, the greatest gift my manager ever did was that he knew the circumstances, he knew what I was going through, he knew what was happening, and he set up, at the back of the office, a fold-down bed for me to go and sleep on,” he says.
“By about two in the afternoon, I was utterly exhausted, getting nothing done. He had a quiet word with me, I don’t think anyone else knew, and I wouldn’t sleep all day every day, but I would disappear out the back and literally have an hour and then return, and to me that was the greatest gift he could have given me at that stage in my life, knowing that he knew about what I was going through.”
Guy says it’s important to remain in close contact with your employees and make an effort to understand what drives them. With this knowledge, you can respond to their challenges much faster and find workable solutions to make their life in easier, which in turn will help them deliver the best results for your business.