Are You Letting the Minority in Your Small Business Run the Show?
For many Small Business owners, they often recruit staff and choose clients based on how well they get on in that first initial meeting. But what happens when those personalities turn positive working environments and teams into disharmony and resentment?
Making decisions based on personality and assumptions instead of facts can very quickly undo many harmonious teams and businesses – especially if the underhandedness comes by surprise.
Case in point: I coach 2 junior netball teams – one which is really clicking and winning nearly every game; the other hasn’t won a game because the girls are just learning the sport but they are improving every week.
I recently found out, via my President who yelled this information to me whilst I was coaching on the sidelines, that she has been advised by my Manager that there is major parent unrest and she is calling a parent meeting to sort it out.
This is new information to me as the majority of the girls and their parents have been very supportive of me and the improvement I have already made with their children’s netball skills. But unfortunately as we haven’t won a game, the Manager and two other parents (who believe their daughters are God’s gift to netball) are looking at the score each week rather than the improvement and the happy smiling faces I receive when I praise the team for their effort.
Rather than having a conversation with me about supposed parent unrest, they have chosen to shaft me and take their issues immediately to the President who unfortunately has also not handled this situation very professionally. Now as these 3 parents have been slowly undermining my authority and been quite negative in front of the girls since day one, after much thought, regret and sadness, I tendered my resignation for the good of the team.
Why? Because I know the behaviour of these parents won’t change and as a volunteer, I shouldn’t have to battle each and every week.
The actions of these minority parents and my unexpected decision caused parents to rally behind me because their children are very upset at losing their beloved coach. So, just like a game of chess, I believe the Club and Parent meeting this week will now be very interesting as there are varying versions of the truth being discussed.
Hopefully, a positive resolution can be reached so I can return to a harmonious team and do what I love – teaching young girls the skills of netball and of life – without being surrounded by negativity and feeling like I’m always looking over my shoulder.
So why do I share this very personal story with you?
Because too often, I see people making decisions in business, in sport, in politics, in relationships and thus in life based on whether they like someone or not. Liking someone should not be the only basis for making a decision.
Yes it helps if we get along with the people we work with but the fact is we won’t always like everyone we come across, just as not everyone will like you or me. But we need to respect one another and especially those in leadership positions; be it boss, coach or Prime Minister.
We may not always agree with our leaders but we should always respect the position and discuss rationally and professionally any differences we may have to come to a place of mutual respect and understanding.
You also often can’t overcome personality battles because every time you think the issue is resolved, they start stirring the pot again so it’s not worth engaging in the first place. Hence, my decision to resign because I know, at this point in time, nothing I say or do will change the behaviour or attitudes of these three minority parents; and I need to put my energy and effort where it will do the most good.
So think about your own problem solving process.
Are you immediately reacting to issues as they are brought to you by a client or a team member and making snap judgments on the run?
Or do you take your time to hear all sides and get the facts and perspectives from everyone involved before making a measured and rational decision, taking into account what’s best in the short and long term for you, your team and your business?
Now think about your Small Business systems to support this decision making process. Do you have clearly documented, easy to understand grievance procedures for both your internal (staff) and external (clients) stakeholders? If not, there’s your homework as part of building a simple profitable business you love. Because if a situation escalates, you don’t want to be making it up as you go along.
Instead, you want a very transparent process that can be quickly followed either by you as the Small Business owner or someone else in your absence.
Remember the words of Robert Anthony “when you blame others, you give up your power to change” which can help us all make more positive decisions based on facts and what’s best for ourselves, our business, our team and our clients; rather than letting the minority tear down our focus and our efforts.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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