The way you do anything is the way your team does everything.
One Contractor asked what was wrong with his team: they seemed reluctant to enter the busy summer; they seemed to drag their feet from one customer’s home to another; they didn’t seem to hustle; they left as soon as they could each day and didn’t seem to go the extra mile.
“What was wrong with the team?” the Contractor wondered. Were they lazy? Were they so short-sighted that they didn’t see that a busy summer was good for business and therefore good for their career? Did they just not care about their jobs or the company?
The answer, though, shocked the Contractor.
The team may have been problematic but the problem didn’t START with the team. The Contractor only had to look in the mirror to see where the problem started.
And what was true for the example Contractor mentioned above is true for many Contractors, especially during the busy summer months when the phone is ringing off the hook and everyone is scrambling to keep up.
The problem: the Contractor is stressed. He or she feels the pressure of trying to keep so many customers happy and trying to move all the pieces around. Although no Contractor wants it to be slow all the time, they sometimes unconsciously prefer the slow times because it was easier to make sure that the right team members went to the right customers’ homes.
But during the summer months? It’s different: it feels like you are bailing water while new holes appear on the ship. You’re moving your team around as if you’re playing ten games of chess at the same time. Your employees are coming to you and begging for this or that—more team members or more equipment. And you’re just trying to keep everything moving forward, putting out daily fires, and praying that projects are completed on a predictable timetable (or it messes up all the subsequent scheduling).
Sound about right? These busy summer months are not necessarily a bad thing but they are challenging to navigate through… and that challenge leads to stress. Problem is, when it gets stressful, it shows.
- Maybe you snap at employees, or even scream and shout.
- Maybe you freeze when things get really bad or disappear into your office to let your managers deal with it.
- Or maybe you maintain a general calm but mutter or curse to yourself as you face the barrage of challenges.
These are perfectly normal reactions that many Contractors have. Unfortunately, your employees see these problems and it impacts them.
As I always say: “The way you do anything is the way your team does everything.”
What it means is: when your employees see you stressed (however you communicate that through your words or your body language or the way you run your company in the busy summer season), it impacts how they do their job. Even in your morning huddles, when you say something like: “I know it’s tough out there and we’re all drowning but keep going…” the words “tough” and “drowning” communicate the wrong information to your team!
- If you don’t show that you’re excited about the summer, they don’t get excited; in fact, they drag their feet to work each day
- If you look nervous, they get nervous and even wonder if the company is in financial difficulty (and guess what they do with their resume when that happens!)
- If you look stressed, they can’t wait to leave
The way you do anything is the way your employees do everything. So if you are stressed and frustrated by the challenges, your employees become reluctant to come to work, they struggle to stay positive through the day, and they can’t wait to leave at night. No wonder they show up late, don’t hustle, and leave as soon as they can!
(Sure that might not be the only reason but during the busy summer months, if they see you stressed and frustrated, you can be sure it’s a pretty influential reason).
Here’s What to Do Instead
#1 – Every morning before you get to work, check your own headspace. Tell yourself that the challenges you face today are not going to make you frustrated or even angry. Instead, you will rise to those challenges and conquer them!
#2 – In your office by your door, put up a sticky note that reminds you to stay enthusiastic and energized and engaged throughout the day.
#3 – Stay positive and focused when dealing with your team. Remember that you are the leader of your team and they are looking to you for clues about how to act and what to think about this busy season.
#4 – If needed, return to your office from time to time and reset your thinking. It’s necessary for a leader to do this in order to stay positive.
Always be mindful of what your team sees when they look at you. Are they seeing a stressed and frustrated owner who seems worried about the situation? Or are they seeing someone who is genuinely positive and energized by the opportunity to rise to the challenge and serve more people? Do whatever you can to make sure you’re leading your team as a strong, positive leader!