Employee Relations as a Business Leader
In Q4 Leaders, we had a speaker come in and he asked a question about employee relations. “What is it that you see in your employees? How do they hold up a mirror to you as a leader?” And the discussion was very interesting. Your employees will reflect back to you what it is you’re tolerating in the workplace. They’ll reflect back to you what behavior you’re modeling. They reflect back to you the values in the organization. And sometimes it can be something that is difficult to look at.
I have a long-term member. He has been in the group for more than four years now. He said when he first came into Q4 Leaders, the question was, “how do I fix everybody else?” And over time the question became, “how do I look at my leadership? How do I look at my role? How do I take responsibility for what we have created here?” Since then, his organization has grown at 30% to 40% a year. They’ve doubled the number of employees that are working for them. And I will say that things have turned around in a dramatic way.
That’s one of the great things that comes out of being a part of a peer advisory board. Everybody in the room has your best interest at heart. But they’re also not afraid to challenge you because they are also leaders. They are also CEOs. They are not intimidated or afraid to reflect back to you those things that you may not want to see.
Your Employees Take Cues From You
Your employees are always scrutinizing you as a leader. That means that when you walk in in the morning, they’re looking for verbal and nonverbal cues. They are looking for your body language. They’re looking for your mood. They are wondering, they’re interpreting, they are filling in the blanks. So as a leader, you want to be very clear about what it is that you’re projecting about who you’re being. And about what the message is.
Don’t allow there to be a vacuum in employee relations. If there’s a vacuum, then there’s a vacuum in vision. There’s a vacuum in leadership. There’s a lack of conversation happening in your company. And fierce conversation is critical to taking your company to the next level. It is critical in creating an environment where you challenge the norms. Then, you’re able to grow into something that you may have never known was even possible.
One of the challenges for a leader is to continue to be very clear about expectations. They must continue to share culture and to communicate the vision as the company grows. How do you keep that alive as an organization goes from 5, 10, 15, 30, 100 employees? There are some very practical ways to do that. The greatest way to do it is to show up and to have the conversations that need to be had at every level on a regular basis.
Deputize Your Leadership
Your leadership team can become deputized to spread the gospel. This is possible when you’ve created an employee relations culture that’s positive, that’s exciting. When you have engagement, it begins to flourish. It takes on a life of its own. Your culture should get to the point where it will carry on without you. You have been successful when you make yourself obsolete.
When I bring a new member into Q4 Leaders, I make sure they know one thing. My job is to make you obsolete in your company. When you’re obsolete, you’ve created a brand, a culture, value. That means when you sell that organization, you’re going to sell it for top dollar. When people come into that organization, they’re going to immediately feel and understand what it means to be a part of your company.