The art of managing people in business

One of the biggest battles we face in business is that of the interaction of human beings, being our team, in a confined space, being our office. On a daily basis I help over 300 Accounting businesses world wide battle this problem of managing people within business. It’s seems that no sooner do you break out of the ‘one man band’ mould to take on a “staff” member do you need a shoulder to cry on after having to deal with what we now label as human resources. Some of us do not even get past the starting point in the fear of having to deal with people. So the pending question is.. How do we master the art of managing people? Here are 7 areas for you to think about and start implementing in your business.

We are now in lifestyle mode
Gone are the days where you went to school, finished and went to university or got a trade and then found the perfect job that you would spend the rest of your life in. This is just not the case anymore. People don’t just want a job anymore, they want a lifestyle. We live it and breathe it through the modern marketing and advertising of the world. Your dream lifestyle is just around the corner…. Live the life you’ve always wanted to live…. Live the life you deserve. You rarely see the billboards anymore harnessing Dedication, loyalty, hard work, one job for your whole life! so why expect that from your staff. At the Proactive Accountants Network, the Founder and my boss/mentor, Rob Nixon gives every new team member an exit speech on their first day! It is silly to expect your team members are going to be around forever, they have a lifestyle they are looking for and will bounce from job to job throughout their life until they find it. How do you master this situation? Sit every single one of your existing and new team members down and ask them one question.. What does your ultimate lifestyle look like, paint me a picture of the life your would like to live? (realistically – part of all of us wants to fly on private jets and sip Krystal). Just having this conversation will make the world of difference in how they think of you. It also gives you the opportunity to pick up on all the little things that you can provide as their leader and employer to achieve their lifestyle. It’s the little things that you then provide that induce the loyalty, dedication and hard work.

Personality Profiling isn’t a physic hippie gimmick
Do you remember that game your mum used to make you play where you had different shapes and you had to put them in the same shaped holes? Little did you know she was teaching a life long lesson! A star just can not fit through a square hole, just like a creative person will never last/survive in an administration role. Do you have the right people in the right jobs? Is this something you can predict from the beginning? Yes it is. There is an age old thing called Personality Profiling. Not many of us have used it or are inclined to use it as it sounds as though it border lines on some kind of hippie, physic, witchcraft ceremony! Wrong. Personality profiling such as DISC or color profiling can be one of the simplest and most effective ways of finding out how someone acts, what there common traits are, what their strengths are and the like. It isn’t always going to be 100% and it’s not going to predict the persons future but it gives you the opportunity to find the right kind of personality for the role you are trying to fill. Become the master of profiling and have everyone of your team profiled (I would recommend using Roger Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics Test). Do yourself at the same time, I guarantee you will be enlightened with your findings.

To attract you need to be attractive
Now this doesn’t mean you need to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Before reading on. Stop, go to outside the front door of your office, switch personalities to someone you really want working in your business and then work into your office with their eyes on. What do you see? Fresh, awake, energetic, bubbly, well dressed team members who greeted you with a smile?…. A clean, welcoming, modern, fresh office space.. Or the complete opposite? Even somewhere in between these days is just not good enough. Your team wants somewhere fresh and positive to come to every day. The energy, freshness and work ethic of your team will be a direct reflection of the the mood and environment that your office exudes. To attract good people you need to become attractive. How do you master the art of attractiveness? Sit your team down and ask them what their ultimate office looks like, what does it include, what colors is it? Get a big list together, google the google and apple offices for some inspiration (for a great accounting office visit Bell Partners Sydney Office). Bit by bit work with your team to give your business a makeover and become attractive.

Don’t stunt growth with just technical training
Your team wants to develop new skills, learn new things and personally develop. This does not mean sending them to the regulatory, mandatory, mundane, boring (no offense to all the institutes- I know it’s important) technical skills training once a month or once a quarter. This will increase technical skills of course, but personal growth is stunted. This means getting involved in training and workshops that will enhance personal development. This means speaking skills, presentation skills, goal setting, fear over coming events, career planning, wealth planning. Skills that can enhance your team members on a personal level. For example, two of our team members at Proactive Accountants Network have jumped on a plane today to go and spend 4 days with Tony Robins. What is the result of this? You will have more energetic, confident and happy team members who are loyal and appreciative to you investing in their development. Master the art of personal development starts with asking your team what skills they want to develop, learn, enhance and start providing some options around it. There are 1000’s of books, webinars, seminars to choose from. Start with one.

Don’t butt heads with GenY’s
There is this new age phenomenon of the rebel GenY in the workplace, terrorizing your business one day at a time. Watching some GenY’s and GenX/babyboomers work together is like watching a clip of two African buffaloes smashing head to head. There are many differences between the 2 generations but the easiest way to understand each other is to talk about them. I say, embrace the enthusiasm of GenY’s, harness it. You don’t have to spark the motivation, ambition, drive and determination of a GenY because they already have it. You need to set clear expectations and line up the guardrails so when they are going a million miles an hour, you can throw the automatic brakes on or they can crash into the guard rails, suffer a few personal bruises and then get back on track again being better for it. If you try to fit a GenY into the mould of another generation you are kidding yourself. Help each other out, both sides of the fence can learn a thing or 2 from each other. Mastering the GenY in your business starts with sitting them down, letting them ramble (at a mile a minute) about what they want to achieve and then set the clear map of expectations of what goals and how they can achieve them for your business. I can let loose on this area as I am one of these infamous GenY’s!

Clarity is key
A lot of people are not going to work anymore to sit at their desk from 9 to 5 and then go home. They are coming to be a part of what you and your business are trying to achieve. Understand this early on by having the conversation and laying out what it is that you and your business is trying to achieve. Clarity of your vision is key. If every single member of your team clearly understands how they fit into your business and what their role and impact has on the vision you are striving to achieve, you will get buy in from 99% of your team. The 1% that you don’t get then allows you to have the conversation with them on where they see their career heading outside of your business. Clarity is key. Once your team has clarity, you will have buy in. Mastering the art of clarity starts with telling your team the story of how your business started, why you are in business and what the future visions and goals are for your business. The rest will flow, trust me.

If you are not having fun, what’s the point?
It wouldn’t be fair not to include this all important topic. Although glaringly obvious, we sometimes get so caught in the doings of business that the fun gets squeezed out of it. This isn’t psychology, this is biology… Fun in your business will biologically produce better performing team members. It is a proven fact that the feeling of fun, the act of laughing and general happiness releases endorphins throughout the body overwhelming it with energy and creating clarity in the brain… This leads to higher concentration levels, higher sense of alertness, more creativity and generally longer lasting energy. On the flip side, as stress levels increase, your body releases chemicals throughout the body to counteract it and the brain actually alerts its “watch dog” to slow down all incoming signals. What does this mean? Lower concentration, lack of information getting through to the brain, lower energy due to the internal damage control mode your body goes into and a higher level of toxins floating around in your body. Cutting through all the biology talk, the simple fact is, a fun environment will produce better quality work, more energetic team members and higher longevity of team member job satisfaction. Mastering the art of fun.. Begins with you. Be creative and generate some of it within your office. A lunch, a joke, a few drinks.. It’s surprisingly simple.

You know what’s crazy, everything you just read you knew already. You just aren’t doing it. You have a business to run and at the end of the day your team is working for you, you are paying them. But just for a minute, an hour, a day, think about how you can master the art of better managing your team and the effects it will have in your business. Once you’ve done that, you might even master the art of leading them.