Do You Help Your People Understand You?

Business Discussion

Do your people understand you? Do they ‘get’ you? If you answered no, then perhaps you are experiencing some frustration when dealing with your team. Or maybe you encounter challenges with your people not doing what you ask. These types of situations can produce awkward moments like the one I’m about to elaborate on. These awkward moments can impact the asset of your brand.

The awkward coffee experience…
I’d like to share with you an experience I had recently. It was quite un-believable really. I mean all the money franchisors (and franchisees) spend on branding for a good self-image and brand image and then this happens.

Astonishing really
If you were beside me this day, you would have been in the midst of a very busy shopping mall, during a vacation period. Small groups of mostly women briskly walking by with their multitude of shopping bags. It’s afternoon, the shops have spruikers out front, promoting sales. The sound systems are competing with each-other. There is a lot of shopping center noise. So to escape the peak crowds, I like others not it is the moment for shoppers to choose where to have a coffee break or afternoon tea. If the other shoppers are like me, they have chosen this particular coffee shop brand, because it promotes itself as an environment to escape to and seek peace away from the hustle and bustle of life.

The break that broke teamwork…

I decide on this particular coffee (franchise) spot because their coffee is ok, their advertisement campaigns are good, their branding is lovely and they are well known. They have a great central location so I can easily re-launch my shopping adventure after my refreshments. I’ve been through the ordering cycle and my coffee is delivered to my satisfaction, by a well presented staff member.

I pause and sniff the aroma of my coffee, I am just about to take a sip… when I’m startled. I look up. The noise of the rough movement of a chair and commotion at the table right next to me is disturbing.

A man in his branded uniform, from the franchise I’m sitting at stands near me. He looks over his glasses and has a sincere scowl on his face. How un-happy he is, is no secret. I detect he is the boss of the franchise and he summons one of his female staff over to the table beside me.

To my surprise and amazement, he does this in full view of all the patrons. She obediently sits down with a tissue wiping her face as tears roll down her cheeks. He is about to give her a piece of his mind. He is clearly furious. She has done something he believes is wrong. He raises his voice, he is telling her off. I’m astonished by this open and public display of full on brand damage.

Decision damage…
I think to myself ‘Is he not aware that the dozens of customers are watching this most awkward moment? Does he not realize that he is giving the brand a bad reputation? Does he not realize that anything that this staff member had done, could not match the irreversible damage he was doing in this moment? That telling off his staff member in uniform, in public was a poor choice?’

She leaves the table, shoving her chair, and heads to the ladies bathroom. The emotion around the commotion is palpable. All the patrons who came to this business for a break and for a spell, are now guzzling their awkward tasting coffee’s and busting to get away. The damage is done.

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Do you ‘get’ me?…
As managers of people and leaders of teams, there will always be times where people frustrate us. There will always be times where there are misunderstandings. Too many times, I hear and see managers and leaders blame their people instead of looking in the mirror. It must be the priority of the leader to ensure that they ‘know’ themselves. Know their weaknesses, know their strengths, know how they want to deal with people, know how they want to be dealt with. When the leader knows themselves, they can help their people be their best. This is where I use the expression ‘do you get me?’ I use the expression ‘get’ meaning, understand. Do you ‘get’me?

Do your people ‘get’ you?…
This is a serious question. Do your people really get you? Do they understand the pressures that are on you? Do they understand your expectations and standards? Do they know how to work with you best? Do you know what you really want from your people and from your business? What is your vision for your business? Have you shared this with your people? Do they know how to get the best out of their relationship with you? Have you explained to them how you want them to interact with you?

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The ‘you’ playbook…
Your franchise may have manuals galore. And, you may have step-by-step guides to follow. You may even have online materials that back-up and teach your methods and technical precision in how to deliver the product or experience. However, the most important playbook of all, is the one where your people know how to interact and work with you. If you don’t have that in place, you will have gaps in your people performance as well as quality levels. Develop the ‘you’ playbook that helps your people ‘get’ you.

Clear Expectations…
How do you like to be communicated with? Phone, sms, email? How do you like to have things explained to you? In writing? Verbally? How do you want to be reported to? In the system as well as with a phone call? Know yourself and share this with your people.

Know yourself…
The most significant investment you can make in yourself as a franchise owner is to really know yourself and then help yourself know you. Help your team get you and your team will get results.

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How to help your people ‘get’ you…
Share with the team examples of what good looks like. Share with your team examples of what bad looks like. Share with your team what frustrates you, share with your team what gets you inspired. Share with your team, what you expect from the business and their part in that. Share with your team how accessible you want to be, when they can and can’t interact with you and the best way to do it. Share with your team on how to ask for feedback and how they will receive feedback. Share with your team if you will give them feedback on the job as it happens or if there are formal moments for this to happen. Ask your team members how they want to work, check against your own criteria and confirm if this is within the system or not. Be clear. Be consistent. Be authentic.

Big topic…
This is a big topic, and deep topic. The place to start is to really work on knowing your own communication style, leadership style and getting truly authentic with yourself. As the business owner or manager of the franchise know what you are expecting from the business and why you got into it.

The more you really get to know and understand yourself, the easier it will be to express this and your expectations to those who work for you. Contrary to popular belief, the more vulnerable you are prepared to be in a human to human interaction with your team, the more dedication, authenticity and commitment you will get out of them.
Let me know how you go, developing your ‘You’ playbook and helping your people ‘get’ you.

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