Before you dismiss what I’m about to say, let me preface this with the fact that I am a huge dog lover and advocate, so this may not be what you think…
Many financial advisors that I work with through Getting Results Coaching or that I meet out on the speaking circuit often have some sort of complaint about their staff. Here are a few of the major ones:
“They do not listen!”
“They won’t do what they are told.”
Important Facts: I am a proud owner of 3 dogs and I employ 11 people directly and have 2 additional 1099 people in the mix. The key to having good staff is the same as having good dogs. Now I am not saying that people are dogs but there are many behavior modification techniques that are effective for both.
I own a 135lb South African Mastiff named Dakota, a 70lb Akita/lab/wolf mix named Titan and Harley, our old lady who is a Sheltie. We have small, large and a XXL. Before you ask, yes they do eat a ton of food and I seem to be on constant poo pick up patrol.
Back to my inflammatory conversation!
Why do dogs not listen? First off they do not understand English! And the reason they don’t listen is that the owner allows them to not listen. For a dog to flourish they need boundaries and consistent enforcement of those boundaries. If you do not want your dog on your bed that means your dog is never allowed on your bed, even if you think it would be cute just this one time to have them cuddle up with you. Dogs need to know the rules. If your dog does not know the rules it’s the owners fault. We would never assume a dog would know the rules of the house! But when we hire people to work for us we automatically assume they should know how things are done in our shop. We assume that they should innately understand when the work day begins or how clients should be followed up with and even how the phone should be answered. When they do it a different way we get frustrated with them when the owness should be on us because we never told them how to do it! Weird isn’t it? It is just like assuming your dog should know not to jump up on the warm wonderful sofa where you always hang out and go to sleep.
So you want your staff to listen? Here are the Keys:
As the owner you need to be patient. Your dogs are not you but they do want to comply and they do want to please you, so be patient. There should be no other alternative than compliance to your rules. The hard part is that you cannot give up. You have to be consistent. The only reason your dog does not listen to you is that you gave up on them! The same principles apply to your staff. First step: get clear on what the rules are. Next step: be the assertive leader to make sure what you set forth is enforced. Finally, acknowledge good behavior with a strong “that a boy/that a girl!” Never underestimate the power of acknowledgement. It is one of the most effective behavior mod tools you can use. People love to live up to high expectations. Unfortunately, too many ‘bosses’ only spend time correcting bad behavior, leaving employees feeling worthless or dumb.
Take on this exercise: Find 2 things everyday to acknowledge in the people who are most important to you. Notice how their demeanor begins to shift.
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