A friend of mine was promoted to a manager’s position in a pharmaceutical company. One of the people working in her team was a hard-working young employee. He was very clever, smart and performed exceptionally well and achieved very high targets which reflected greatly on the overall performance of her team. The only issue with this employee was that he was a bit of a wild card. He didn’t really stick to the strict working hours that the company set out for him, he left work early, sometimes without permission, and his time off was more than the accepted average.
On one occasion, he asked for time off to go away with his friends on a sudden planned trip and my friend refused to authorise it. Consequently, on that day he phoned in sick in anyway. My friend was furious as she knew he was faking but there was nothing she could do about it. So, to prove her point, she drove to his house very early that day, parked and waited for him to come out with his packed suite case, which he did. She then confronted him, and he was naturally very embarrassed. She wanted to show him that she wasn’t that naive and that she knew he was lying. She thought that would teach him a lesson.
A few days later, he handed in his resignation and left the company.
From her side, she lost a clever and a very high achieving employee. The overall performance of the team wasn’t as good following his departure and she struggled to find someone as good as he was, it turned out that there weren’t so many of them out there…
After a while she discovered that what she gained from her desire to follow the rules over a cheeky employee, didn’t compare to what she had lost from the subsequent departure of a very talented member of staff. She might have felt she’d won by catching out a lie, but by not having the foresight to see the value in supporting her staff with flexibility and trust, she had actually lost.
The moral of this tale is that sometimes, particularly when we are under the strain of running a successful business, we run the risk of forgetting the importance of nurturing human relationships. The pressure that many businesses can put on staff, without realising it, can have a detrimental impact on employee output and productivity. But by making small allowances and adjustments that recognise the flaws, characters, stresses and strains of life, that are different, but very real, for every colleague, then we can ensure a better, and more efficient, working environment for all. Remember – staff and management are not enemies, we are all one team, one family and one successful unit working towards the same goal – so why wouldn’t we make people’s working environments as sustainable as possible for them to do their best work in?
Sometimes letting certain indiscretions go is important in keeping relationships positive, avoiding unnecessary friction and ultimately discouraging appreciated and valued staff from leaving. Of course, I am not suggesting that everyone throws the rule-book out of the window and disregards the rules put in place by their bosses – these are installed for a reason and are there to make sure that work is completed efficiently, on time and is fairly distributed across the team – all very important components when running a successful and profitable business. We should respect our employers and toe the line, where appropriate, if we are to expect that same respect for our time and input in return.
But communication is key. There is nothing more annoying to a boss than going behind their back, like the employee in the story. If you need that time off, then ask – your boss is a human being as well and a good boss will always endeavour to accommodate their staff in the best way that they can. So be open, communicate your issues and work hard – then everyone’s a winner!
And remember, this doesn’t just work on business relations but it is also advice that can be applied to many other aspects of life and widens to include almost all human relationships – friends, siblings, couples even your children. It is important to recognise that everyone has their own lives to manage and that this inevitably means that we will all make mistakes, but as long as we learn from our mistakes, work hard and deliver on the tasks that are set out for us, then employees should always be given the chance to redeem themselves and correct matters without being crucified, shamed or restricted – and vice versa.
In life, I’ve learned that some wins are actually losses and so my advice is that we shouldn’t burn all bridges that we might need again in the future. One should always look at the bigger picture and value what really matters.
At Pistachio we’re a busy and vibrant agency who rely upon a tight-knit, happy and productive team to get our wonderfully creative work out into the big wide world – and most importantly to keep our lovely clients happy. That’s why at both of our Marlow and Nottingham offices we support each other to make sure everyone is happy, able and confident in their ability to get their work done and get life done! To see what we get up to everyday, check out some of our latest work here.