Years ago I supervised a guy named Adam. Adam frustrated the crap out of me. He just didn’t seem to pick things up as quickly as I had wished – or should I say as quickly as I seemed to pick up things. I would see Adam and my stomach got into knots. Simple tasks took him two and three times as long as I had expected. I slowly started to distance myself from Adam. When I looked at Adam I saw ineptness, incompetence and a big “L” on his forehead. I found myself doing Adam’s work in order to complete our one project every month – to issue the financial report/book for our division.
Yep, I was a horrible person. I was also young, needed to grow up and figure some things out. Notice I say “was.” I was 28 years old when I figured a lot of stuff out. How old are you? Have you invested in yourself, your crap and who you are? You’re worth it. Do it.
One morning I sat down with Adam in the cafeteria. He was eating breakfast alone. I asked him what he did the night before. His eyes lit up. We had a great conversation about the one thing that excited him….softball.
Seems that Adam was in a couple of softball leagues. He lived for softball. It was clear that getting out of work at the end of the day, on time, was critical as he had a one hour drive home. And so the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. It wasn’t that Adam wasn’t grasping things; Adam was getting frustrated as the end of the day drew closer. Handing him work at 3:00 PM just sent him into a downward spiral. As he rushed to get out of the office by 4:30 his work suffered (and my stomach knots got tighter). Mistakes and errors were abundant. Was his not being able to grasp simple things because of being distracted by the clock?
So where possible I gave him a To-Do list every morning. I did my best to keep him from spiraling out of control with end of day requests and deadlines. I asked about softball on a regular basis. When things got a little crazy I let him know early in the day if I thought getting out on time was going to be a reality for the day. Did it work all of the time? Of course not. But for the most part it did. His work quality improved. His attitude improved. He was actually taking initiative and looking for improvements and efficiency opportunities in getting our work done. And believe it or not my attitude improved.
A better employee experience starts with each and every person taking some responsibility for moving the organization forward; reaching out and bringing people together and not further dividing groups, divisions, teams and individuals.
Are you taking an interest in your employees, co-workers, perhaps even your boss? Want a more engaged workforce? Improved morale? Increased productivity? Take an interest in the people you work with – TODAY!