The employer/employee dynamic in western business culture is primarily dictated by tools developed more than half a century ago. Management theories favor top-down and outside-in approaches to getting people working harder and generating income for the company with no regard to how it affects their personal lives. But what if a more modern balance could be struck that offers value to both parties in the arrangement?
The two ends don’t have to be unrelated or mutually exclusive. In fact, Jonathan argues that the desired result of making money is best served by ensuring the people who work for a business are treated as integral to its success — as integral as customers.
“Why would there be a gap between the way you want to treat your customers and the way you treat your employees?” asks Jonathan. “Why would they be any different? Of course you wouldn’t want them to be any different. You want them to feel cared for and seen and valued and respected and honored. You want to have a huge impact on both of those groups of people.”
In conversation with business owners and managers, Jonathan finds time and again that having a positive impact on the people around them — customers as well as employees — is a greater, more tangible motivation than the financial rewards expected from conducting a successful business.
It’s easy to connect the dots and see how people who feel good about their work — business owners, managers, and employees alike — are going to do good work. The hard part is getting people to change the way they do business and chuck the established top-down models that have been in place for the past half century.
If you want to be the type of leader who institutes big changes, it’s important to first communicate to your team what the desired result is and acknowledge the baby steps it will take to get there. It’s okay to admit you’re not quite sure what form those baby steps will take — opening a conversation and being open to feedback is more inclusive and empowering for everyone involved than simply forcing a change that’s poorly understood and ultimately resisted.
What do you do when you’re constantly punctual but you have a coworker who comes in at least ten minutes late on a daily basis? How do you react when a vendor keeps underdelivering with the promise that “it won’t happen again” — until the next time and the time after that? If you’re like most, you probably bite your tongue and put up with it. But Jonathan insists that addressing these microbehaviors is the only way to change them and keep them from having a negative impact on your business — and others will appreciate you for being the one to take the initiative and step up.
“It’s not sexy to talk to somebody about the way they use or abuse time,” says Jonathan. “It’s not sexy to talk with someone about how they don’t know how to say ‘I don’t know.’ But these are the things that, when you do that, people go, ‘Wow, thank you so much for saying something. I really struggle with that and I don’t know how to get better at that. Do you have an idea?’
“When you go small with somebody, you’re so much more likely to succeed in connecting with them.” Calling upon someone in a respectful way to help them improve goes much further than passively overlooking their shortcomings. Ultimately, you’re showing not only that you care about where that person is going astray and offering ways to improve, but that you care about them.
At their core, destructive microbehaviors are usually symptoms of a larger disconnection — job dissatisfaction as a result of feeling disempowered, for instance. But give an employee a reason to be proud of their work, and often these microbehaviors will lessen or disappear altogether.
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about how to take the tactical first step in correcting disruptive microbehaviors without succumbing to passive-aggressiveness, how a business culture starts as soon as two people get involved, why you probably have more power at your job — at any level — than you think you do, the importance of taking personal ownership of your own growth, how you can use your job to improve your life, why the process of growing doesn’t always look good (and why we should be okay with that), how to identify and work with the strengths and weaknesses of our own leadership archetype, and lots more.
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AJ Harbinger - author of 1166 posts on The Art of Charm
AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality.
Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.
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