In Darwinism terms, people are herd animals. We like to spend time with our associates, complain about the smallest of tasks, and band together to accomplish challenges. However, in a small business, people are also the cause of some of the greatest issues. To quote two of our favorite Someecards, here are some common "people issues" that every organization is bound to encounter at some point.
While these quotes are good for a chuckle, they also highlight how handling people issues within an organization can quickly rise to heated arguments. Here's some business advice and a few tips to help you smooth over any ruffled feathers and keep your organization working as a cohesive unit.
Tip 1: Address the Issue at Hand
It doesn't matter if an organization employs 10,000 people or 10 people, when there is an issue, everyone somehow hears about it. Rumors regarding an employee issue can spread like a game of telephone amongst five year olds; by the time everyone has heard about the issue it has grown to be the elephant in the room. If your organization's employee issues have become multiple elephants in the room, it is time for an intervention. Address the entire team or the entire company will suffer.
Tip 2: Don’t Grow Anxious Beforehand
All too often leaders will grow anxious before addressing the issue. They are afraid of ruffling more feathers and creating a new set of issues. Don't be! If you need to address an issue, and find yourself with sweaty palms and an inability to think clearly, try a few of these tricks.
- Remember that everyone knows there is an issue. They won't be caught off-guard. Address it clearly and succinctly.
- There is a reason that you are the leader. Keep these reasons in mind and you won't be anxious about addressing your employees.
- What's the worst that can happen? While this answer may vary, most leaders will say "everyone will quit" or "the company will somehow be sued." If you are afraid of the former, don't be. If everyone quits because you decided to address an issue, then they aren't the kind of employees that you want at your establishment. If you are afraid of the latter, check with your HR department before you address the issue. Being educated can help you to avoid potential litigation-worthy comments.
- Think of your favorite leadership motivation quote. For example, "The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." Ronald Reagan.
Tip 3: Build Team Trust
When team members trust each other, they perform better. If there isn't a strong trust amongst members, then any organizational meeting will result in a one-sided conversation between the leadership and the most domineering person in the room. With this in mind, trust building exercises only go so far. If you think that your team members don't trust each other, bring up the issue point-blank (see step 1).
Tip 4: Maintain a Great Team
A leader is only as good as the weakest team member. Resolving any people issues, requires an organization to maintain a strong team. Build core values. Create team member accountability. Identify team measuring metrics. By paying attention to these smaller details, you will be better equipped to handle any people issues that do arise.
Resolving people issues within your organization is a job that should be handled with care. It is one that requires both an open-mind and a firm-hand. Leadership must act promptly, but not rashly. When needed they must address the entire team. Above all, don't forget that your entire team should be united to achieve great things. Addressing issues is simply one way of ensuring that greatness is in fact achieved.