Earning the respect and trust of 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.
According to Guy Williams, from The Training Guys, it’s not enough to simply provide a computer and a phone for your employees to perform at their best. 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 assist them in being able to perform at their peak.
“This idea of leave home at home and work at work, is a little naive,” he says.
Explaining his point, Guy shares a personal story during his own time as an employee, which demonstrates how a good manager can really support their employees, without going to great expense or imposition.
“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,” recalls Guy.
“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 this continual process left him utterly exhausted, and as the weeks dragged on it got progressively worse – limiting his ability to be able 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.”
The moral of the story, according to Guy, is to remain in close contact with your employees and really make an effort to understand what is driving them. With this knowledge on hand, 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.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.