Today it seems to be in vogue to lead from a “people first” position. Kindness and acknowledgment to Team Members is now talked about and celebrated. For many leaders and organizations this is not new. To others it just does not seem to make sense. For some, maybe more skeptical, it is only good if it “works.” The truth is that it has always worked.
I am humbled to have been asked to write on this topic as it has always been my desire to celebrate Team Members at Paul Davis. It’s been clear to me that they want to be known and valued, and they want to know that they are a vital component of a winning team. They are also eager to connect with a bigger purpose at work. The recent introduction of our #DifferenceMakers identity campaign reflects their desire to feel that they are working towards a greater good and that they are making a difference in someone’s life daily.
To be known and to be valued means that relationships at work matter. A whole person comes to work every day. Team members walk in the door from home and walk out the door to go home breathing the same air and dealing with their own life circumstances. This “atmosphere of life” includes our whole life, not just our time at work and not just our time at home. To be valued, we need to know each other, share our stories, and see each other as significant people in our lives. Time and connections outside of work are discussed. What we do when we are not working. Knowing more about each other is helpful in building commonality and trust. This ultimately produces better results because we know we need each other, and we are less likely to miss a commitment to someone we know, like, and respect.
Most people want to know if they are winning in life and while they work. Few are ever satisfied with wandering aimlessly about during their time at work. What does a “great day” look like? In their role, what defines that winning day? I propose that all of our Team Members need to have a common sense of purpose that aligns with the objectives of the organization. Each needs to feel they played a role in a successful outcome to that given day’s objective or project. How do they know each know the ultimate result was achieved? Team Members should collaborate with each other and their Team Leader for the individual projects. Were all the objectives met? Is the overall outcome what works for all? Any obstacles and hurdles that can be shared and then tackled among them as a team?
In order to accomplish this, goals need to be set. The goals should urge Team Members to stretch and provide opportunities for them to work together towards a common goal of continuous improvement and achieving great organizational results. Tools for training and support are also vital. Tools that help Team Members grow professionally will also help them on a personal level, thus improving their life outside of work as well.
For those who have been operating this way for a long time, the sudden popularity of this type of work might be annoying. I would hope for those friends, that instead, they may be able to rejoice because finally people are treated the way we have been designed to be treated. Not like machines to just mitigate water, clean a trauma scene, or rebuild a home or building. It should bring joy among all Team Members and hopefully clients too, when our teams wrap up their workday knowing what they did all day mattered and made a significant difference to someone.
For those who prefer the methodology of just going to work, doing work, and going home, I would ask you to give it a try. Try getting to know your teammates. Do this with genuine care and a real interest to learn more. It is not some kind of manipulative tool. We spend more than 50% of our waking hours at our workplace. Should it not be with people we know and care about? Consider ourselves, how we want to be treated. Then consider Team Members and learn about them and discover how they like to be treated.
“I am just the…” (lower compensated role) may be one of the saddest greetings I hear. Not only is this person feeling their work is not making a difference, but they personally may not be making a difference in the world. We need each other. Without our Team Members performing their roles, there would be something important lacking. If they are all doing their jobs, people are safer, the environment is a cleaner place, and quite frankly the world is a better place! If our Team Members are not connecting their work to how they improve the lives of others and making the world a better place, we owe it to them to help them see this truth.
Results matter. In all of this focus on one another, we should not lose sight of the fact that we are all part of the organizations with which we work to get results. Winners like to win. All of the kindness and care offered to one another is quite hollow if we don’t get satisfactory results. Knowing each other, we ought to be more focused on delivering on our promises to each other, celebrating the wins and tackling any misses with dignity and respect. We should provide opportunities for great people, people we know and care about, to deliver best in class results. I am grateful for the many who have written about this, and the leaders who have modeled this winsome framework. We can be gentle on people and tough on results. “People First” leadership wins the day.
Hear more from Mike Hopkins in this episode of the Restoration Today Podcast as he and Michele talk about the landscape of today’s restoration industry, what it takes to stay competitive as the industry continues to consolidate, the importance of pricing feedback to influence Xactimate pricing, and what Mike foresees ahead for our industry.