Season 1: Finding and keeping great people

Charlie Gladstone Author and Creative Entrepreneur

Ten ways to realise your staff’s full potential

In my view, no worthwhile business is just about profit. It’s about people, joy, respect, kindness, fun, tolerance and the oxygen of praise and friendship. There’s no reason business shouldn’t be like life outside the office when it’s lived well.

At the root of all this are kindness and respect. Treat everyone that you encounter as you’d like to be treated. Kindness is strength and it’s contagious. Be kind, do it for yourself, because it’s who you are. Let your kindness spread. This is not a hippy manifesto. It’s a serious way of looking at the world and how it works. And it is foundational to your business and your team building.

Developed with more than 30 years’ insight into employing and working with incredible people, here are my top ten tips for getting the best out of everyone:

1. Team

Unless you’re a hermit, you need to be part of a team. Teams make work more productive, more efficient and certainly much more fun. But remember, as a leader, teams require adjustment and your constant focus.

2. Purpose

To do our best work, we need to feel that we belong. So, define your human purpose; what your department or business stands for and how you treat others. These factors are why people join, and why they stay on board.

3. Courtesy

One of life’s simple rules: treat others how you’d like to be treated. Sounds obvious, but basic courtesy goes a long way. And remember, kindness counts double when deadlines are looming.

4. Hiring

My advice is that if you need to hire someone, hire someone you like. They don’t need to be your best friend, and they do need to be qualified. But the bottom line is that you need to get along.

5. Communication

People are not telepathic. They don’t know what you want or need unless you tell them. Clearly. From the start. Make sure everyone knows what’s expected and invest in onboarding new team members. It’ll be worth it.

6. Correcting

People often struggle with telling others when they’ve done something wrong. In reality, it doesn’t need to be awkward. A gentle, clear steer in the right direction, delivered positively, will help them on their journey.

7. Invest

It’s important to get to know the people you work with. Every minute is a minute closer to understanding them. Listen to them. Properly. As an investment in your business, it’s priceless.

8. Diversity

We’re not all the same, thank goodness. Some people are shy and introverted. So, empathise, put yourself in their shoes, and value diversity. Everybody can contribute; encourage how they do so.

9. Huddle

I love a huddle, whether that’s a physical team huddle or simply getting together as a team and saying: “We’re the best and we’ve got to smash the opposition.” It’s a declaration of togetherness and common purpose. It’s also a sign of inner belief and fierce competitiveness. It shows your competitors you mean business, and the bond and energy it builds are powerful.

10. Preservation

No one likes a stressed-out manager who hasn’t slept for a week. And, if you’re a manager, you need to recognise stress and fatigue in others. So, always look after your team, and always look after you.

In conclusion . . .

Remember, whatever happens, day to day, with kindness as your guiding principle, you can build positive, responsive and productive teams. Teams geared towards success. For more than three decades now, it’s certainly been that way for me.