Rapid Growth: Dealing with People for Success

I’m not exactly Dale Carnegie (author of How to Win Friends and Influence People), but I’m not too bad at dealing with people. Dealing with co-workers during times of rapid growth can be tough and very frustrating. The main reason that dealing with employees at company that are undergoing rapid growth is difficult is because are busy (especially executives). They barely have time to do their jobs, much less help you do your job.

Management Dealing with Frontline Employees:
For some reason, executives and management (especially at larger companies) often don’t know how to talk to or deal with frontline employees. Here are some tips for management to deal with frontline employees:

  • Be nice.This is so obvious, but people just don’t seem to get it. You need to be nice to people you want to deal with. Be friendly, try and help them, do things at their convenience, and all of those things. Also be sure to let employees know that you appreciate them.
  • Give them time. Executives often like to call an employee to their office and continue checking their email, answering phone calls, and talking to other people at the same time. This is rude and a waste of everyone’s time. Give whoever you are meeting with your full attention and don’t do anything else that isn’t related (i. e. looking something up) to the conversation at hand.
  • Don’t interrupt them. Another thing executives like to do is ambush employees during their break (lunch or mid-shift, etc.). Don’t do that – the employees need their break time. Pull them off the floor (when they aren’t terribly busy) and ask if it is a good time to talk.
  • Follow through. If you say you are going to do something, follow through on it. Similarly, if your company practices succession management then let your employees know about the potential for advancement and give them the opportunity to accomplish it.

Employees Dealing with Management:
Employees are sometimes (actually, usually) afraid of management. I can see their reasons, but they need to get tougher and be able to talk to the leaders at their company.

  • Stop fearing. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. I wouldn’t worry about talking to management unless you are going to say something that could easily insult someone or something and word it as such. Word everything as constructive criticism or a way to enable you to do your job better.
  • Be considerate. Ask about the best way to get in touch with the particular person (email, phone, etc.) and times they are generally available. If they say they are busy, say “OK, I’ll catch up with you another time” and walk away. You will probably need to be persistent, but you shouldn’t be annoying.
  • Have your information. Along the lines of being considerate, ensure you have all of the information you need before talking or meeting with an executive or management team member. You should have all the facts, figures, prices, contact information, and whatever else might be relevant.

Supervisors and middle managers need to follow both sets of advice. They are a liaison between the employees and the management and need to make both groups happy. Everyone being able to work with each other is extremely important. Though these guidelines should be followed all the time, they are especially important to follow when people are unusually busy or overloaded, such as a time of rapid growth.