Motivating Employees. Here’s an Idea: Stop Being a Jerk
Here’s an Idea: Stop Being a Jerk
Jay Steinfield, founder and CEO of Houston-based Blinds.com use to be – well, a jerk. He would criticize employees regularly and rarely dole out praise. But following the death of his wife in 2002, Steinfield went through a period of introspection that led him to alter his management style. The change appears to have paid off. Sales at Blinds.com grew 44 percent in 2010 to $63 million and turnover among the company’s 120 employees is 2 percent.
1. Don’t ban the water cooler.
It used to drive me crazy to see people talking about other things at work. Now, I’m glad they’re doing it. People need an opportunity blow off steam and feel like they are not being watched. You can’t be paranoid and creative at the same time; it’s impossible. And you’re not going to get the most out of people if you tell them to sit down, stop talking and work. Maybe it works in prison.
2. Don’t discount community service.
Keep charity and community service at the forefront. It’s not something you do just for publicity and obligation. It trains people’s minds to think about improving other people’s lives. They’re going to improve customer’s lives, co-workers lives and their own lives.
3. Don’t ignore the good tries.
Years ago, I would ream out people when they failed. Now I tell them, “Hey, it didn’t work, but I’m pleased you gave it a shop.” And I say in in front of others. I want people to experiment without fear of failure.
4. Don’t leave it up to HR.
Company culture is up to the CEO. It has to come from you. Nothing happens if the top doesn’t agree or even personally care about it. But don’t make it about yourself; make it about the company.