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Your team at the office is just like a rock band. There are different personalities, backgrounds, and individual goals to contend with, and if you’d like to improve teamwork in the workplace, you need to foster an environment of mutual respect. Not just between you are your employees, but between employees and their coworkers.

Without respect for your bandmates, a rock star will never make it big. In order to really rock, you need to treat others with dignity and be tolerant of their differences.

Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that one of the biggest threats to a team working cohesively is a lack of mutual respect. In order to create this type of culture, you need to first understand what it looks like, and then learn how to implement it within your department.

What Does “Respect” Look Like in the Workplace?

If you don’t understand what respect is, it’s difficult to know whether you’ve got it at work. Here are a few signs that your employees respect you (and vice versa) and each other:

  • Allowing people their turn to speak – There is nothing more infuriating than being asked a question and then not being given the opportunity to answer. When you interrupt your employees or allow staff to interrupt one another, you send the message that their thoughts, their opinions, and their voices don’t matter.
  • Pay attention to your non-verbal communication – Not everyone has a “poker face” but when you make unpleasant facial expressions, roll your eyes, or cross your arms over your chest defiantly, people notice. Being subjected to these nonverbal cues can be demeaning to any employee.
  • Treat Everyone the Same – It’s fairly obvious (though still bears mentioning) that you should treat everyone equally no matter what their race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. But what about their job title? Do you treat some members of your team better than others based on their duties in the office? Does the person who cleans the toilets deserve any less respect than management? People are people and if you’d like your staff to work together, they have to understand that they are all important to the team.
  • Praise Others for their Accomplishments – Celebrating a job well-done shows employees that they are appreciated and respected. When you create a culture of celebration, your employees will take the cue and praise one another when a goal has been reached.

How Do you Encourage Respect?

Now that you have a clear understanding of how “respectful behaviors” look, how do you encourage your employees to engage in them?

1) Lead by example. You can talk about respect all you want, but if you aren’t modeling it for your employees, no one else will either.

2) Highlight everyone’s value. Make sure your employees understand that each and every one of them has different experience, different skills, and different goals. However, that doesn’t make one person any more valuable than another’s. A band wouldn’t sound very good if everyone played the bass. You need different types of talent to make beautiful music.

3) Discourage gossip. The quickest way to lose respect is to talk badly about someone. People will lose respect for the gossiper, the “victim” of the gossip, you as a manager for not shutting it down, and themselves for listening and not defending their coworker.

4) Discuss expectations. Be clear when you onboard a new employee, and host a meeting for existing employees to help them understand why respect for their coworkers is important, what it looks like in action, and how they can be a part of creating a culture of respect.

When you want your team members to work together, ensuring that they respect one another and the job they are there to do will help improve relationships, teamwork, and your bottom line. Create rock star results with respect.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Find out what it means to me  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Aretha Franklin (written by Otis Redding)

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Do you remember those dreaded cliques in High School? Whispers and glances as you walked through the halls? It would be nice if schoolyard gossip ended when we stopped going to school. But unfortunately, it often follows us into the office. If you’d like to improve teamwork in the workplace, you’ll need to nip gossip in the bud and improve the culture of communication in your department.

When band members talk behind one another’s back, trust is broken, feelings get hurt, and eventually, the tight-knit unit will erode. The same thing will happen within your company if you don’t get a handle on gossip. Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that if you want your employees to achieve rock star results, gossip has no place in the workplace.

The Dangers of “Water Cooler Gossip”

It’s so easy to share what you know about other people. And 90% of the time, you’re not trying to hurt them. Unfortunately, when you talk about a coworker without them present, problems arise including:

  • Lost productivity. This seems like it goes without saying, but if your employees spend all their time talking about each other, they won’t spend any time working toward their goals.
  • Destruction of trust. Your employees are less likely to lean on one another for support, come to each other with issues, and trust each other if gossip is being spread.
  • Destruction of friendships and respect. When you hear something negative about someone, you tend to view them through that filter.
  • Destruction of reputations. Nothing can ruin a career faster than a rumor running rampant through the office.
  • Anxiety among employees. When gossip is spreading throughout the office, you can feel it hanging in the air. This increases anxiety, not just for the topic of conversation, but for everyone involved.

When gossip becomes a common theme in your office, your employees will be less satisfied at work, take more sick days, and eventually quit to escape the environment. Creating a “no-gossip zone” is not just good for improving teamwork, it’s necessary for the health of your business.

How to Prevent Gossip in the Workplace

As a manager, it’s your job to set a good example for your employees, to educate them about the dangers of gossip, and to construct guidelines to prevent it from happening within your team. You can do this by:

  • Communicate expectations. Host a department-wide meeting to let your employees know what constitutes “gossip” and that there will be repercussions for engaging in this behavior. Be very clear that you have a zero-tolerance policy and that it is there to protect every employee.
  • Encourage employees to come to you if they hear gossip among the team. Promise that any reports will be strictly confidential (and uphold that promise) so they are comfortable approaching you.
  • Address the gossiper face to face. Let them know that their behavior is not acceptable, that they are damaging the team, and then dole out whatever consequence you outlined during the meeting.
  • Encourage positive talk throughout the office. If employees are busy building each other up, they won’t have time to tear each other down.
  • Advise employees to be cautious about who they share aspects of their personal life with. While it’s good team building to encourage socialization among employees, they should also be aware that personal information should only be shared with those they really trust.

When you make a conscious effort to improve the working environment of your team by removing gossip from the office, your employees will rise to the rank of rock stars.

“I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn’t weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.”-  Paul McCartney

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Claiming you have an “open door” policy is all well and good. However, if your behaviors don’t support a culture of open communication, your policy won’t inspire rock star results or improve teamwork in the workplace.

Open communication refers to an environment where employees are kept in the loop regarding the company and the department’s progress, where they encouraged to approach management with any concerns or ideas that may arise, and where their input is valued and rewarded.

Rockstars take input from their bandmates because the collaboration makes them stronger and helps them produce better music. Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that when you foster an environment of open communication in the office, you motivate your team to work together and produce the best results possible.

The Benefits of Open Communication

Fostering this type of environment has many benefits for the employees as well as for the company as a whole.

  1. Show your employees that you value and trust them – creating a true “open door” policy where employees are free to discuss their ideas and their challenges, allows them to feel as if they are truly part of something bigger than themselves. The company’s mission will become their mission and they will work harder towards that goal.
  2. Recognize problems before they become unbearable – your employees are on the frontline of the business and they will recognize issues that arise well before you do. Giving them the freedom to bring these issues to your attention assures that you can address them before they become a larger problem.
  3. Inspire creative solutions to problems – your brain is wonderful, however, having all of your team members brains available to create solutions is even better. Your employees have likely already thought of some solutions before they brought the issue to your attention. Give them the space to share those.
  4. Resolve conflict between employees quickly – no matter how wonderful your team is, human beings will always experience conflict with one another. You can ignore this and pretend that everything is alright while your team disintegrates, or you can invite them to bring their challenges to you, address them immediately, and then resolve them immediately to keep your team strong and solidified.

How to Foster Open Communication

Now that you’re convinced that you need to create an environment of open communication for the good of your team and your business, how do you do it? Here are 4 steps to ensure that you make the most out of this environment:

  1. Be Transparent – Employees that feel you are hiding the state of the company from them, have no reason to be open and honest with you. If you want your employees to communicate with you, you need to do the same for them.
  2. Be Clear About Roles and Responsibilities – When each employee knows what the others do, they will be more likely to work together and support one another, and less likely to step on each other’s toes.
  3. Hold Regular Meetings – Encourage employees to share their concerns and their ideas in a public forum and then praise them for doing so.
  4. Send out Surveys – If a topic is controversial and employees may feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas or beliefs, create anonymous surveys so they can be open and honest without fear of fall out.
  5. Thank Employees for their Feedback – Even when you don’t like it. It takes a lot of strength to approach management with a complaint or idea. If an employee is met with negativity, mocking, or punishment, they will never make another suggestion.

When you create a culture of open communication in the workplace, your employees will relate better to you, to each other, and they will achieve rock star results.

“We’re five people, five individuals who came together to create something, to make music and to complete each other musically, to form a perfect circle.” Maynard James Keenan

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

How valuable are your customers? Who is your Robert Plant? Which is more important? A new customer or a long-term customer? Do you treat each differently?  Remember the days of business when people were more focused on driving sales than customer service?  Business’ had strict return policies, short return windows, a receipt was required. If you had an unhappy customer, No big deal you had plenty of others waiting in line. My, my how things have changed.  You are not only fighting over new customers but you are also doing whatever it takes to keep your current customers. That means you offer an excellent product or service and rock star customer service.  Or you end up saying farewell to your customer. So just how valuable are your customers? Priceless.

My amazing wife, Jana and I, recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We were shopping and decided to buy an anniversary plant. I named it Robert Plant after the band Led Zeppelin. We jokingly said, “As long as Robert is alive, so will our marriage.”  We put him in the trunk and did some more shopping. Keep in mind we live in Las Vegas and it was the end of summer. To our surprise when we arrived home Robert looked almost dead.  We freaked!  I immediately took him inside, gave him water and began talking to him. As each day went by, he continued to look more lifeless and dried up. I cut off the dead leaves, added plant food, more water and told him our marriage was at stake. He looked totally dead and Jana wanted to throw him out, but I said no! I believe we can save him and our marriage. Robert was brown and dried up. I had no more leaves to cut off. His stem was loose in the dirty pot. I kept watering and talking to him daily, Jana too. Approximately three weeks later, I was ready to accept reality and toss him into the trash. I picked him up, looked at him and said… “OMG Robert you’re back!” Way far down in the center of his dead brown stem was a tiny little piece of green leaf trying to push out. Robert was alive and our marriage was saved. I knew we were not out of the woods, but we had hope, new momentum and drive. 

I wonder how many of you dismiss customers as soon as something goes wrong with your product or service. Sure, you will make at least one or two attempts to make things right. But if the customer doesn’t respond do you say, ”oh well” or “next”, or do you “fight for the right to parrrrty” with that customer? Do you make the commitment to keep trying no matter what? Do you have a rock star attitude to never surrender, never give up? Do you continue to nurture the relationship, and keep communication open. Do you sincerely care what happens? Rock stars cannot afford to lose fans, just like you cannot afford to lose customers. Fans and customers are our lively hood. Treat them like gold. When you screw up, be honest, own it, and be 100% transparent. If they don’t respond positivity at first, “Don’t Stop Believing” that you can’t save the relationship. Do what ever it takes.

Companies now will take back just about anything no questions asked. You don’t have to tell little white lies about the product and why it doesn’t work or you didn’t like it. Just send it back. Some companies even take back items they don’t even sell just to keep the customer from going some place else. WOW! That is showing how important customers are. If you’re a service company, make it right, save the day, go the extra mile. Always over deliver. When you consistently make it your mission statement or part of your culture to over deliver, you won’t have to worry about customer service.

Now which customer is more important, the old or new? They are equally important. Never take advantage of a long-term relationship. One of the lessons I learned many years ago, I would discount and go way out of the way to acquire new customers. My loyal customers and long term fans that I knew would book me no matter what. I would raise my price and ask more of them instead of giving them more. Shame on me! These were my loyal fans and followers. They should be getting constant VIP treatment. Volume discounts, first priorities because they are your best source of advertising. Your power referrals, your base. The people you can count on in a slow economy. I am so grateful that I turned that attitude around. Unfortunately, it cost me a couple great accounts. But I know now, always over deliver for everyone equally. The cool thing about this story is that it’s exactly what I teach from my Opportunity Rocks Keynote and book. Music is a business just like yours. Turns out it’s not rocket science, It’s ROCK-IT science. And what’s even cooler, these rock star principles of success work for personal relationships as well. A successful marriage or relationship takes a lot of TLC, nurturing, communication, transparency, a never surrender never give up attitude.  The bible says,” Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Just change the word neighbor to customer. “Love thy customer as thyself”, what a great mission statement! I wish you much customer and fan building success!

Rock on,

The Business Rockstar is an Author, International Keynote Speaker, and Customer & Engagement Guru

Click Here to learn more about Marvelless Mark

 

PS. Robert Plant is still alive, thriving and we see each other everyday. Opportunity Rocks!