5 Ways to Build a Great Staff

Several years ago, I was very fortunate to spend some time withGeorge T. Muller, former president of Subaru of America, Inc.  During his 1993 – 2000 tenure as president of Subaru, Muller led a significant revamping of the organization and brand by focusing on its core strength which is “all-wheel drive vehicles.” Under his amazing leadership, Subaru had a dramatic revenue and profitability turnaround with sales more than tripling to the $4 billion level.  He was a great visionary and a very interesting man.

We talked about creativity, problem solving and ingenuity, but I was most impressed with the true love and respect he had for his team, people, staff, and co-workers.  We both agreed that a great staff or team plays an integral part in building and maintaining a great company.

As a manager or owner it’s important to remember the key factors in building a high-powered staff.  They are quite literally your life-blood and must be treated as such.   By observing Mr. Muller and his interactions with his employees; I noticed he had several key people skills which I believe made him so successful.  You can turn your staff into a team that does the best possible job for your organization by implementing these five ideas.

Be Approachable – You must be a friend to your employees, however do not treat them like close personal friends. The reality is that they want you to be the boss and they want to be the employees.  You need to be someone they can converse with on multiple non-work-related topics.  From sports to children’s issues, from family to vacation plans.  They must always feel safe and non-threatened while in your presence.  An open door policy is always appreciated.

Be Loyal – If staff members know you’re always loyal to them, they’ll give you the same in return.  This is known as the “law of indirect effort.”  If you want to be heard, you must first listen.  If you want to be appreciated you must first appreciate.  If you want to get recognition, you must first recognize.  If you can’t get what you need, help others get what they need.  If you want a truly loyal staff, be a loyal manager. Sometimes to be truly loyal to another person you must be willing to allow your own interests to take second place.  The manager of the future will make decisions that are best for the people rather than the bottom line.  In the future this type of mind set will help you climb the corporate ladder at an accelerated pace.

Be Reliable – Be a person who consistently does as promised and you will be known as reliable. Reliability is an admirable social character trait and it’s a common trait in great leaders.  When you hire people you expect them to be reliable; just be sure you demonstrate the same courtesy.  Be aware that when it comes to demonstrating reliability; never listen to what people say, instead watch what they do.  Actions always speak louder than words.

Be Fair – This is the fastest way toestablish your credibility among your employees.  When dealing with people and problem solving you must be free from bias and judgment.  You must be willing and open to see all points of view before making decisions.  Be willing to put yourself on the line and go to bat for your staff.  Be willing to walk the trenches and get your feet wet with them.  This is another common trait among great leaders.

Have Fun with Your Employees – Never be too busy to laugh or tell a joke.  A good laugh helps people to shine thru a crisis, and when your manager is laughing with you it can truly lift spirits.  I’m not asking you to be Robin Williams; just don’t be Mr. or Ms. Dullhead.

I wish you luck and success!

John Eric Jacobsen was born to teach and destined to be a motivator.  In 1985 John founded “Jacobsen Business Programs, Inc.” (JacobsenPrograms.com), a corporate seminar company helping people to succeed personally and professionally. John’s experience is what sets him apart. With a diverse background in business, sales, communications, theatrical arts, dance and acting; John has the unique ability to not only be a great entertainer, but also an amazing teacher.  He has trained and worked with over a half a million people and has performed or taught all over America on stage and on TV. 
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