Somewhere on the path to success, we forget to be human. We justify a lot of bad behavior in the pursuit of business goals. We need more customers and followers and sales and production and money. So, we raise our voices, get tough with vendors, dress down team members and yell at our kids. That behavior takes us off the path. Success has everything to do with being kind, and happy, and human. Here are some tips for regaining humanity…and embracing success on every level.
1. Use good manners. There is enough time to say, “Please” and “Thank you.” You may start a conversation with, “Good morning” without getting behind on your master plan. Perhaps success is in part defined by the relationships you develop and enhance along the way. I read a terrific book, Station Eleven by Emily St. John. It’s a look into a dystopian future, after a pandemic, as the few remaining people pick up the pieces of life on earth. One character considers the fact that his last text, on his now useless iPhone, was, “thx.” He’s shamed that he couldn’t find the time to actually spell out the words. Slow down long enough to craft polite sentences and communications. Manners matter.
2. Watch for instant kharma. Every time I’ve come uncorked at someone for a “dumb” mistake, within one day I have committed an equal to or greater than mistake. Don’t overreact. Take a few breathes. Walk around the building. Whatever it takes for you to relieve some steam without lashing out at someone. Note! Be especially conscious of your behavior when you are out in public wearing your uniform, or sporting the colors. Not cool to road rage in the company truck! Yikes.
3. It is OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to let go of someone who doesn’t show up clean, sober, on-time or dressed right. You can let go of them for not following procedure. And, they get a “rubber bullet” before you fire the real thing. Most importantly, let team members know that if they make a decision and make a mistake, the whole company will back them up. Mistakes are all part of the delicious mix. Responding to a mistake reveals and develops character. Mistakes are OK and part of progress. Also, that’s where you find good stories and lessons.
4. Get a life. You know the guy who resents his employees for actually wanting a day off. He grumbles that someone thinks the graduation, the wedding, the golf tournament, the vacation, whatever, is more important than work. Is that guy you? It helps to get a life. Explore some hobbies, and check the family calendar. Block off time. If there is someone on your team working 70+ hours a week, perhaps you two can discuss how they could get a life, too. Start with some time off of work. Your business should enhance your life…not suck it out of you and everyone else.
5. Bring a dog to the office. OK, this suggestion isn’t for everyone. However, if you want to, and if you have a friendly dog, I’ve found that dogs make people more human. You will say, “Howdy,” to a dog before you will greet a human being. Notice, when someone is walking a dog, who gets the most attention and love. “Hey there, fella. What’s his name?” Petting a dog makes you feel better, instantly. Sure, there will be dog hair, so no dogs in a kitchen or manufacturing plant. But if this idea strikes you as a good one, give it a go.