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Can we learn to play nice?

The other day, I was asked how I would explain my business to a five-year-old. After a few minutes of thought, I came up with this: “I teach companies how to play nice with their employees.”

When all is said and done, that really is the gist of it. Now, of course, there has to be reciprocity, in that the employees have to also be willing to “play nice.” Wouldn’t that be a great example for our children and a much more harmonious way to conduct business if we would treat each other nicely?

As I’ve noted before, communication and/or culture are often at the root of issues we face in business. If we would talk with each other about our concerns with compassionate honesty and then really listen to the response, a lot could be resolved. Often, we’re afraid of saying what needs to be said so we remain silent. And then we get frustrated when the other individual doesn’t read our mind!

When new employees show up on their first day of employment, do you welcome them into your organization, or do you send them to “the HR people” to fill out a bunch of forms, and hope they come back after a few days for training? Do you introduce them around and help them feel like they belong, or do you treat them like the new kid who sits alone at the lunch table?

Do you provide honest performance feedback and teach your managers to provide honest and timely feedback, or do you just send out or receive performance evaluation forms and go through the motions because it’s that time of year? Unless issues arise that are extremely disruptive, are they ignored until it’s time for the annual review? Or do you provide “grades” as you go along, so everyone is clear where they stand?

How much time during the year do you think about your individual employees? Do you ever check in to see if they’re making progress on their goals or do you hide at your desk and just hope they leave you alone? Do you have favorites who get all your attention and get all the perks and the important projects or do you do what you can to provide opportunities for everyone on your staff? Do you have periodic “conferences” where you discuss status and goals?

What do we want our children to see in how we model ourselves at work? Can we learn to play nice?

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