For RedBit this year will be about gratitude for the amazing team of thinkers, creators, builders who inspire me every single day to be a better leader, who pour themselves into the work they do for our clients. Without them or our clients who are we? Quite simply nothing. So, our focus, my focus is making sure we continue to make them our priority. Our people deserve it, they earned it. They are tired and they need the space to breathe, they need us, their leaders, to be there, holding them up, powering them forward when they need it and slowing them down when they need it.
Long gone are the days of separating work from personal. It did not work back in the 60’s and it sure as hell has no place in today’s society. If you want to build your team up and have them, be the very best version of themselves, then you care about how they are, what’s going on in their lives and give them a safe place to share. This does not mean that you need to take the burden of someone else’s life on, you did not overnight become a therapist and that is not what your people expect of you. Just listen (never has it been so important to just listen) and provide those safe places for sharing. We teach our kids that sharing is caring, now let’s actually put that into practice in the workplace.
Ah, time, to breath, to grow, to just be. Don’t get me wrong, vacation is amazing and there is never enough of it, but one thing trumps it…time off when everyone is off. If everyone is off then there is no pressure to just check in to see what is happening, to not notice that message or email that was sent or the dreaded falling behind cause everything else keeps moving saga. So as leaders we need to get creative of how to make this possible. Looking to what makes sense for the organization as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, this is never easy because we need to be there for our customers, we need to keep growing as a company and just doing a 2-week shutdown at Christmas is not what everyone wants in your organization. Get creative with your team, discuss what works and what does not, experiment to see what works and what does not.
Now that remote working is becoming the norm, the opportunities open to our people are huge. Companies that never before would have had the opportunity to reach out to your valuable amazing people now have an open door to snatching them from under your nose, and let me tell you, in most cases they will have way more money to offer than you do…so how do you handle this?
I’ll be honest, this is a difficult one, especially for smaller organizations. That being said there is nothing wrong with some healthy competition. If someone is driven by money, then you might just have to accept that if you can’t compete then well you can’t compete. However, what is in our control is making sure we create an environment where our people can continue to grow, to excel and move forwards in their career goals. It’s not a 5-minute job to make this happen, it does take time and dedication to keep on driving new ways in which our people can grow but the benefits far outweigh any time spent getting there.
Life is way too serious these days, our stress levels at what is going on in the world have hit new highs (reportedly 50% of Canadians are stressed right now) so making work a fun place to be is pretty much a must for me and my team. We are not perfect, we don’t all jump out of bed every single day and shout yippee at the thought of working, but we sure can make the effort to sprinkle work with fun, with laughter and some silliness.
This has long been my mantra but if you want to go above and beyond in how to deal with your customers, it will ONLY ever work if you first go above and beyond with your teams. What this looks like is doing all the above and then just that little bit more. The more, well that is going to differ per individual, per team, per organization. Doing more can look like giving someone an unexpected break when they are dealing with a particularly demanding situation, whether work or personal. Acting on improving things that will help make their job easier, recognizing the hard work that they do, buying lunch on a day that is tough. There are so many things that don’t have to take much to put a smile on someone’s face.
Gratitude is a gift that we all have in us. Let us show our people just how grateful we are in 2022.
Hazel van der Werken