Your people are likely your greatest business asset. This is certainly true in our industry: software and services. Sure, we have our intellectual property – the software itself – but it’s the people using their intellects to develop it and apply it to our clients’ business needs that creates the real value proposition.
People are fragile human beings. It doesn’t take much to crush us. I consider it one of my most important roles to take care of the human beings on my team. If I neglect to do this, I’m risking the motivation, satisfaction and productivity of my greatest business asset.
Here is my list of the top six actions I need to take to keep my team happy, energised, and effective:
1. Listen. Do it actively. Make sure you’re really understanding what is being said. Let the person talk without interrupting, or you might be risking that he or she will stop sharing whatever is on their mind. When I listen, the person tells me exactly what they need.
2. Care. Sincerely. Show them compassion when they’re suffering. Ask them the next day how that situation is going. People suffer with issues around their kids, their spouse or significant other, from depression, anxiety, loss, rejection, lack of motivation, self-doubt and much more. Be in tune to this, but don’t go so far as to pry. Many are uncomfortable sharing personal information with their supervisor. Ask them sincerely, “is there anything I can do to help you?”
3. Encourage. Tell them when they’re doing a great job. Tell them they’re a valuable member of the team and why. Tell them when you’ve seen them grow. I have had the experience of encouraging someone and having that person tell me that those words kept them from looking for a new job.
4. Challenge. Sometimes people need a little push to try something new, but that push needs to be from someone who believes in them. Don’t be afraid to tell people how they can improve. Most people will welcome the honesty and respond positively.
5. Nurture. Don’t forget to make sure your people get enough “water and sunlight” in their day-to-day work. Celebrate victories and improvements. Give them kudos when they’ve succeeded. Brag about them in front of others. And thank them for their efforts.
6. Trust. Some might qualify this with “trust but verify”. But I’ve seen what perceived mistrust from one’s boss can do to kill motivation and productivity. Turning that situation around by communicating trust can completely change a person’s attitude toward their work.
These are my six – not an exhaustive list, by any means, but six key tasks for me to do consistently or put at risk my most important asset.
AdvantageCS is the developer of Advantage – subscription, marketing and membership management software for publishers, who use it to manage their digital subscriptions, entitlements, magazines, bundles, e-products, conferences and events, membership and donations, payments and customer service. A privately-held company, AdvantageCS has been serving the publishing industry since 1979.
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This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2023, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here.