How To Reap Results Using The Wisdom Of Your Employees

Managing a business can be like being a new parent. There is a mountain of well-meaning and often contradictory advice on how to do it well. However, at the end of the day reality rarely conforms to the best laid plans and some degree of flexibility and humility goes a long way in getting through the day and achieving your long-term goals.

Seamus O’Brien, a consultant at Small Fish Business Coaching, has worked with just about every type of business there is in helping them identify inherent problems and get them to the next level in their journey.

“Getting the best out of the people I have worked with has been a matter of continual fascination,” Seamus said.

“The current ‘recommended’ ever-changing approaches have all delivered unpredictable results. Much like every parent experiences, you have to do your best and not assume you or your approach is going to be perfect.”

Seamus concedes that it can be easy to espouse the standard management theory answers when confronted with a problem. However, after a moment’s reflection he asked himself whether this was really his experience, and whether the human resource theory matched his lifetime in employment?

“The answer was, not really,” he said. “Nothing works all the time as situations and people differ. Choosing the right way to work with individuals at any particular time and to achieve a particular outcome is part of the fun of being alive.”

So how to best create a better business culture in your organisation? Should it come from the top down or is it built from the bottom up?

“I have found that asking longterm employees for advice and solutions pays dividends,” Seamus advised.

“Given many of the workforce have built-up serious intellectual capital, it is self-defeating not to use it and apply it to your business or organisation. Ask them what they would do to create a better business culture in your company. Then spend time to work through these matters with them in an environment where they feel free to contribute equally.”

“Unfortunately, there are plenty of weak managers out there that lack sufficient confidence to trust an employee’s judgement. Smart managers know that their long-term success depends on others, on their retention and motivation,” Seamus said.

“Smart bosses also know that the world is too complex for them to have all of the answers. Unlock the historical knowledge of the workplace and honour the work and wisdom of those who have done the hard yards before you.”

Establishing realistic performance expectations and providing a forum for meaningful communication between all levels of the workforce also goes a long way to promote harmony and increased productivity in the workplace.

“Try and find ways to increase and promote trust between every employee in your company, especially between those who are in authority and those who are not. If there isn’t any trust then there won’t be any honest communication, just lots of sound and fury,” he added.

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