It's an unfortunate fact that we spend more of our waking lives with our businesses than our families. Running a business is more than a full-time job; it's a full-time life, and in a way, your staff become your surrogate family. And along with that surrogacy come all of those dynamics - from alliances to communication issues, from the placing of blame, backstabbing, and "he said/she said" to the (figurative) kiss-and-make-up. It's inevitable – you put a group of people in an office for 40+ hours a week, and there’s bound to be some tension.
In larger offices, the issues may be a little different. The aforementioned family dynamics will exist among different departments, but as a whole, the staff may face different issues, often due to lack of communication. Your staff may be blind to procedures and changes taking place on their behalf.
Referring back to last month’s Tip about consistency, we can begin to not only put out but prevent fires before they begin. As the head of your office/family, your staff will look to you to be consistent in your actions and communication. A weekly update or briefing could go a long way when it comes to relaying information about any changes taking place.
I have two daughters, with a third on the way, and when I am lucky enough to be home with them, they each want (and are deserving of) my undivided attention. The same principle applies within the office. With two daughters, it’s easy, but with a full-fledged staff, you’ll need a calendar that you can’t ignore. A few designated minutes of your time each week can help to dispel rumors and uncertainties that left untreated could lead to a negative and slow change in the way your office "family" functions. The whispering by the water cooler will turn into a welcoming reprieve from a busy day. Stay in the loop; if you see something, say something, for better or worse. A pat on the back or a gentle conversation about how someone can improve can go a long way to maintaining the type of environment where everyone can strive for success. The simple act of affirmation for many is more important than monetary incentives. Your staff will go to their real home at the end of the day without having to burden their families with what happened in the office, and you will sleep better at night knowing that you’ve (consistently!) done what you can to keep your work family not just functioning, but thriving.
Evan Kestenbaum, MBA is the co-founder and COO of GPN Technologies, the landmark company that created EDGEPro. Evan’s entrepreneurial expertise and his focus on continuous improvement were vital in the development and success of EDGEPro, which has revolutionized analytics and business intelligence for ophthalmic professionals. Evan has also been deeply engaged in coaching and dispensary management for hundreds of practices during the past 10 years. He is the co-owner of Optix Family Eyecare in New York, one of Long Island’s largest Optometry practices. In his free time, Evan enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.