There are very few people I am encountering currently, who are not feeling challenged at some level. The most common in the Vacation Rental Industry, is the feeling of being overwhelmed. For many companies, the silver lining is that business is still booming. The challenging part is that people are feeling exhausted. Even being closed for time periods during the pandemic, it was not a time of rest for everyone. A pandemic is trauma experienced by all at different levels. It can be really challenging for owners and managers to have their best leadership hats on when they themselves are experiencing their own trauma.
Recently I read about the idea, “If you want more from your team members, you must give more.” After I spent time thinking about my experiences, I came up with six tips on how to lead with compassion and create the ownership culture you want to make for a business to thrive.
Praise your people!
The rule of thumb is five praises for every discussion on areas of improvement. Paying people is not enough. Specific praise on how they communicated during a zoom call to another employee or their ways of thinking outside the box and being innovative down to how they took the lead with a customer complaint and smoothed everything over. Praise them when they act in line with the company values. Then most importantly, having empathy about how they are working from home with their spouse who is working from home and having their mother watch their toddler, while managing the online schooling for their first grader. Some people do not have enough tables in a house to make three remote workstations, more or less separate rooms for concentrating.
Check in with your team members and ASK them how you can support them.
Do they need to adjust their work times or take specific timed breaks? Are they having a challenging guest or coworker situation? Remembering not to take on the challenging situation for them, instead coach them on how to resolve the issue at hand first. If you as a leader keep taking on the challenges for your team members you potentially create situations where team members will always come to you and not feel confident doing it themselves. Is the internet connection at their house not enough, making their days harder, because it is going out or being overloaded with all the family members on at the same time?
A little goes a long way.
Send handwritten thank you notes, offer door dash credits or imperfect food deliveries to their homes. Make sure they have the mental support they need, one on one coaching to handle their stress or a list of in-network therapists. Resources for free in-home exercise options. I felt like I was losing my mind when I was bound to the house for 10 days last month. A simple free Pilates YouTube made all the difference mentally for me.
Create a culture of ownership.
When you offer a monetary incentive to employees, they feel ownership in many areas of the company. I remember working for a company where I was bonused as a leadership member and it was based on the overall company budget as well as my specific area. As a restaurant manager in the organization, my area was dishware. If I could keep under or in line with the budget, I got my potion of my bonus. I inventoried the dishware to ensure there was not theft or too much breakage. This company was crazy successful. I also know an awesome local taco shop that offers stock in the company and makes sure all employees have health care. Their tacos are fabulous, yet this company thrives because you feel it in every interaction you have and every bite you eat.
“Clear is kind”- Brene Brown.
Share what is happening with the company. This is a time of fear. If team members think the business might fold because you are starting to focus more on overtime and run a lean business, they will be fearful of their employment with the company. Instead bring them into the mix and maybe they will offer suggestions on how to run lean that you had not even thought of.
Know your values and walk your talk.
It is okay when you do not live up to a value, the key is to be transparent about it and share with your team how you are working on it. Take all actions back to values when shifting to new business practices during these changing times.
The concept, “People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss,” is true. There was only one time that I did not quit my boss and it was when I decided to exit the restaurant industry completely because of burnout. Yes, there was a nice boost in the unemployment payout until the end of August, yet if employees truly enjoyed their place of employment, felt valued and respected who they worked for, I do not believe money would compromise their desire to work for you and your company.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek