When you read the title to this post you probably thought, “What?” But if you consider people pounding your doors down wanting to work for you a problem then maybe it makes sense.
That is exactly what happened to Henry Ford in 1914 when he announced a minimum $5.00 a day pay (which was more than double the day wage for most of his workers) for all eligible employees. Additionally he dropped the work day from nine hours a day to eight. Talk about improving the quality of your employee’s lives!
Many, including “The Wall Street Journal” and stockholders saw it as a reckless and irresponsible move. But Ford stuck with his “reckless ideas.”
Employees considered him a friend. As a result he increased employee retention, was able to hire the best mechanics and dramatically raised productivity across the company. Profits sky rocketed, doubling from $30 million to $60 million between 1914 and 1916. In this case treating employees well really paid off!
Ford’s revolutionary “Five Dollar Day” did create some problems though including massive crowds flocking to the plant daily in search of jobs, police having to use force to disperse them and angry mobs who released their frustrations of not landing a job by throwing rocks through factory windows. However, those problems seemed minimal considering the good his ideas produced.
Unless you own a business, you most likely lack the power to increase wages and cut hours so dramatically. However, treating employees good doesn’t have to be expensive or that drastic. Great leaders know that!
A few ways leaders can treat employees better include:
- Caring enough to ask someone you lead how their family is doing and taking a personal interest.
- Using good manners in your interactions by using words such as, “please, thank you, and excuse me.”
- Genuinely and specifically pointing out things they are doing to provide value to the team and organization.
- Taking the time to give constructive feedback and then caring enough to nurture and develop them.
- Respectfully and actively listening to concerns they bring to you.
- Promoting work-life balance by understanding and identifying their needs.
I could outline many more ways of how leaders can treat those they lead better, and I am sure you have a few as well. The reality is we will get much further and get what we want out of our teams and organizations by being respectful, service orientated, caring and genuine in our approach with those we lead than being dictatorial, puffed up with pride, egotistical and all about results.
Leadership is about relationships. The greater trust you create; the greater loyalty you will produce. Loyalty almost always leads to better results. Put people first, and the results will follow.
Question: What other suggestions do you have on treating employees well?
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