How to treat your staff. My story

A few years ago I worked for a family owned company, who employed casually close to 100 people for a particular project and on this particular occasion the daughter of the owners held a meeting one morning after smoko and began to tell her staff basically to work harder for her inheritance, she used those words so you can work out what the meeting was about. When she said this my jaw dropped, I looked around to see the faces on her team and boy oh boy. I was working in management at the time for the family company and I was astonished, ashamed and couldn't believe that what i had just witnessed. I've been in management since I was young and I am yet to meet a team that didn't perform anything apart from their best and this 10 minute talk absolutely demoralised her team.

These are people she probably didn't know, more than sure she didn't know them personally or their families or backgrounds to me I don't think she cared.I began to wonder if this was a dictatorship. I had only been at the company maybe a week. Again... I worked for them previously and went back and the daughter wasn't working for them at that time.

The leadership shown to me was a form of in (my opinion) dictatorship. Remember the film 'Ben Hur?' The early version with Charlton Heston? There's a scene where he is serving time as a galley slave and he and countless other slaves are rowing the boat with chains mounted to their feet and Jack Hawkins role Quintus Arrius say's "We keep you alive to serve this ship, row and row well and you should live!." Well this is what this person sounded to me.

I remember as she delivered the speech what others were calling her under their breath and it wasn't pleasant. Unbeknown to her.


I have managed people of all walks, a lot of cultures, ages, on the football field, in other peoples businesses, at an executive level, kindergarten students, primary, high school my own businesses and whilst there are 1 or 2 people who buck the system I can honestly say that everyone puts in and gives their best on the day. I didn't know everyone's background but I tried to get to know them all on an individual level, one things for sure just because I was in a senior role doesn't make me any better or any worse. The only thing that made me different from them was the opportunity I was given. All these people who worked for or with me had families, their own personal ambitions, some had held senior roles elsewhere, I am sure if they went for a role or opportunity I went for they would have got it over me. We don't really understand other peoples background.


When we create our teams, build our staff what are we to them? Are we their boss? their dictator? Julius Ceasor within our own world? or are we people that people want to work with? are we people that they would like to use their skills to assist us in our personal goals? Our team allow us to do what we want in life. Whilst we have the money to pay them each week are we people that our staff respect and admire? Do we want to be friends with our team? Are we going to get to know them? Do they come to work and want to be there?


My advice with this post is 'The only thing that makes us different is opportunity. We've provided ourselves the opportunity to create and build our small business and who knows maybe reach the heights of a large business or what our goals were. The fact is whatever our goals are generally we can't get there without the help and support of others, whether it be our staff or those around us.

Each business is different but my hope looking from the inside, looking out, is that we treat our staff and teams the way we would like to be treated. Reward our teams for great work, try to help provide development opportunities if people are failing. I have always tried to lead my teams fairly and as people. Sure there has been times I've become too invested in their lives but people are people at the end of the day. People come to work and they are doing it for their own means their own reasons. Your team are your greatest investment, don't be a dictator and don't be their best friend treat them like people and work the rest out as you go. Try to keep them happy, provide a safe and healthy working environment. If they have concerns listen, if they go out of their way to help you, go out of your way to help them. You won't keep everyone happy but it's best to always lead by example, reward when possible demonstrate that you appreciate their the and what they do for you

'No one is any better or any worse the only thing that makes us different is opportunity.'