By Chuck Violand

November 23, 2015

Got a minute boss? I’m all of your employees. The ones from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We know you have an open door policy, but while your door is open, your head isn’t. You’re stressed. We either need to talk or tap into your mind, but it’s tough to do. As Yogi says, “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.”

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” Yogi’s confidence on the baseball field was unmatched. Many business owners outwardly show the same brashness around people they work with. As your employees, overconfidence doesn’t impress us. We might even crack jokes at your expense behind your back. We would much rather you be real and admit when you don’t know an answer or when you need help. Don’t blame the bat. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t blame us. Focus on fixing the issue and moving us all forward.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in business. Crucial strategic decisions that go beyond which sales person to hire or who to promote. If you hold off on making the BIG decisions we will lose focus on what you are trying to accomplish because it will appear nonessential. Step up, make the call, and tell us what you need from us. Let’s do this together.

The future ain’t what it used to be.” We understand that our professional environment is in constant flux. We will embrace it, but only if you make it a point to consistently tell us our place in it. Be honest with us. We know you can’t promote us forever. We are not asking for that. But we do want to know how our role in the company will change over the next five years so we can prepare ourselves and feel secure. You do have a plan for us, right?

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.” We are fine when you leave for that industry conference or take a long weekend. Truth be told, we actually enjoy it. It allows us an opportunity to shine that, hopefully, you will notice when you get back. What we don’t want is to see you working 60 hours a week, forcing the company to be completely reliant on you. It makes us feel as if you don’t trust us. If you don’t trust us, we can’t trust you, and you won’t be in our long-term plans.

“I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win. Somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.” When you lose your cool you lose our focus on what matters most. Our attention goes to your anger and frustration, not on learning from what was lost. We fear for our jobs and learn to avoid you or avoid bringing anything to you that will cause you to possibly blame the messenger. So nothing gets better. Understand, we want to learn, and we want to impress you. Discipline comes in many forms, and we will react best to the one that focuses on growth. If you don’t understand positive discipline, you need to. Otherwise neither of us will get better.

“It ain’t over till it’s over.” You don’t need to be perfect, but we do expect you to push all of us to greatness. Tomorrow’s another opportunity. We’re ready. Are you?