Most of us want to know how we can get our staffs to be more engaged – to care a little more, work a little harder, complain a little bit less. I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I’ve been the one ripping my hair out asking for the thousandth time, “why can’t you restock your station at the end of your shift?”, or “I’ve told you not to take a cigarette break during the rush”, or any other number of scenarios most of us have faced as bosses – whether we’re owners, managers or chefs.
I’ve also been on the employee side – I think we all have. I don’t know about you, but I never went out and got a job knowing or hoping that I wouldn’t really care about it, work that hard and would be constantly complaining. In fact, we are wired to want to contribute, want to do good work and want to be positive about our experiences. We all (almost all) have the best of intentions of joining an organization in hopes of not just wasting time and collecting a pay check, but rather using it as an opportunity to contribute to something beyond ourselves, while also doing the exact same thing for ourselves – growing in our careers.
So what happens between day one for an employee, where they are brimming with excitement, to say, day thirty, sixty or ninety?
We all like to blame it on the other side – the other person. We’d rather say they are incompetent or they are lazy, which they might be at this point in their career, versus doing the more difficult thing, which is to look into the mirror and ourselves some hard questions. Incompetent (which they might be) is it because that is who they are naturally, or did we not give them the right tools to succeed? Are they lazy, or have I just not given them something to get inspired about? Is it really the employee that’s the problem all of the time, or is it maybe me – at least some of the time?
Unfortunately, this doesn’t just apply to how we view an employee’s relationship with the organization, but it spans across any number of variables affecting the business.
Sales are down, it’s got to be the weather… the construction across the street… the new competition… purveyors raised their prices, so now we have to raise the prices on the menu and we’ve scared away our customer base…