By Frank Felsburg
Jeff Havens here! If you’re tired of hearing my rants, today’s your lucky day because I’m giving the blog over to Frank Felsburg, the Sales Director at the Jeff Havens Company. Enjoy!
Have you ever been in a job where the dreaded alarm clock blaring is the best part of your day? Because you know the worst is yet to come, that your day isn’t going to get any better, and that it might not be a terrible idea to walk into traffic just to have an ironclad excuse not to go to work. After all, broken bones heal, and it isn’t really socially acceptable to drink the pain away before you’d hit breakfast.
Many years before I stumbled upon the gloriousness that is The Jeff Havens Company (Jeff made me write that), I used to work for a company that I would describe as “humorless.” The best part of my day was the commute. When I couldn’t find a longer and windier road to take, I would eventually park after deciding yet again not to drive my car straight through the front door of my building. My colleagues felt the same, often protesting that they’d rather stick pins in their eyes than have to work another mind-numbing week. Personally, I would have preferred to stick pins into someone else’s eyes – namely, my boss. His eyes were begging to be pinned.
Today’s workplace isn’t nearly as physically challenging as the farming world we industrialized our way out of. However, it’s more mentally challenging than ever. There’s always one more email to send or another website to visit. It wears us down.
Your employees may be feeling like this – worn out, sucked dry, and seriously contemplating sticking pins into your eyeballs. So here are three suggestions for how to make your employees actually enjoy what they do.
Try to get on their wavelength. I’ve heard it said that the antidote to fatigue is not rest, it is wholeheartedness. [Tweet This!] Try to help them find meaning in their work, even if it’s just that it’s a stepping stone to something better. Help them see that they’re learning new skills, and that the more creativity they bring to their work, the more enjoyable it will become. Odds are your company’s mission is to help someone do something, and oh by the way that will make you some money. If you spend some time talking about the ‘helping people’ side instead of the ‘making money’ side, you’ll motivate your people a lot more quickly than you might expect.
Lead by example. Don’t be a “Do as I say, not as I do” kind of manager. Do things your employees wish they had done. Then show them how easy it is for them to do the same.
Realize their world is different than yours. We each have our own upbringing. Even people who were brought up in the same household have completely different personalities and are therefore motivated in different ways. (That explains, for example, why I am a calm and even-tempered person while my sister has fought off bears in Barrow, Alaska – above the Arctic Circle – for her meals). It’s not that your employees don’t want to see things the way you do; it’s that most of them can’t, at least not without your helping them do it.
Bottom line, if employees aren’t productive, they’re going to expend their energy in ways other than what’s good for the company. Many unproductive employees want to pull others down with them, partially because misery loves company but also because viral videos can’t go viral if you don’t share them with your equally bored friends. Don’t let this happen in your organization. Motivate them. Make your workplace somewhere that employees want to work.
Because if you don’t, someday they’ll probably stick pins in your eyes.