Recently reading a document from a Business Consultant – Brett Williams, he mentioned how he had done quite a bit of work with businesses who are trying to get the staff to stop “back biting”. I found this interesting, as this has never been a problem that I have had to face.
I thought about why I had not faced this, and I believe I have the answer. The old adage of everything starts from the top – I agree with. So starting with me as the managing director – I have a personal philosophy “No reasons, Excuses or Stories”. This philosophy has lead me to be honest, open and clear on my expectations with staff. If a staff member tries to justify or blame someone else for them not achieving a result – I immediately stop the conversation and ask if they are applying to this philosophy. If they are not, then I ask them to reconsider.
Even if we need to review a problem, by having this philosophy, and never being personal with a problem, then from management, I am not allowing people to feel ashamed of being honest and up front. This means that we can solve problems – not create extra ones, or have issues trying to work out what really occurred.
I also ask staff to treat me and each other as I treat them. If they feel I am out of line, I encourage them to respectfully speak up, and visa versa. I find this also leads to far greater respect amongst us all. Only in the last 3 days, I had to chat to a staff member who was about to come on the heavy to someone he was managing, and asked if he would like to be treated this way. He reconsidered his position and the action never took place.
Finally – responsibility. Most of the time, I have found the justification of mistreatment comes from a person not taking responsibility. As I don’t believe in “Working the Man”, I wont allow my staff to work me. I am happy to hear and assist on any problem, as long as the problem brought to me, is attached to a prospective solution – even if they believe the solution to be foolish. If they bring a problem to me without any possible solution, I inform them that this is unfair, and not how I should be treated. By staffing taking on responsibility, then they are responsible for not only achieving a job, but also the care and well being of those working with them to achieve this job.
So with these four simple methods, I have avoided all staff back biting.
- No reasons, Excuses or Stories
- Treat others as you wish to be treated
- Be responsible and encourage others to be responsible
- Don’t manage with a “work the man” philosophy.
I hope that these ideas help you get rid of back biting and make you business life far more enjoyable and productive.
Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.