We all have a responsibility to manage our businesses, not just the boss

LinkedIn is littered with memes about treating people fairly – almost daily we are served with something bleeding obvious like “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. No shit.

I don’t however, see many quotes saying “This is a two-way street. If you want a decent boss and a good team, treat them with decency”.

We have something called the Unwritten Contract which ironically is written down. Within it we talk about what you can expect from the agency, but also what the agency expects from you, which includes things like ‘Create a positive office environment’, ‘treat Realia team members, and their time, with respect’ and ‘be on top of your game and go and learn for yourself’.

There has been an observation that our staff turnover is quite high. And there are several reasons for that. The reality is that as a small business, opportunities for promotion are inevitably limited – not everyone can be the MD. Opportunities for progression are however boundless and that is an important distinction. I’d like to think that we give our people skills beyond the delivery of marketing campaigns and that kind of progression can be priceless. That said, four of our team have been promoted from junior roles recently.

There is another, perhaps less PC reality. Some people simply haven’t been good enough to work here and they have been found out. Generally speaking, they haven’t been found out because they can’t do the job, it’s because they refuse to embrace the culture, be part of the team, accept responsibility for their actions and work as hard as everyone else does. There was a distinct lack of respect for their team.

The best teams have leaders all over the field – just think about England’s World Cup winning team in 2003 – Vickery, Back, Dallaglio, Wilkinson, Greenwood, Tindall et al were all capable of leading the team. Their egos could have got in the way, but they all saw the bigger picture and they all lined up squarely alongside Martin Johnson because they respected him as a player and a skipper. He led by example, as did they, and as a result, they won the biggest prize. We too lead by example – it isn’t just for the boss to lead and others to follow – everyone needs to actively contribute – frankly there is no room for moaning spectators here.

The bottom line is of course that the boss carries the can for every outcome whether they instigated the action or not. And that makes being the boss a lonely business. I don’t know a boss who is bulletproof – they will all have ongoing anxieties about profitability, morale, client retention, BREXIT, whatever and they need their team to help them, and yes, manage them to make sure the decisions they make are well thought through.

Our Creative Director recently celebrated his seventh year with us. He has experienced many many highs but some lows too and through it all his loyalty to the agency has been outstanding. He treats people with respect and as a result, he commands respect. He cares deeply about the team, the quality of the work and the satisfaction of the clients. He supports everyone. He isn’t the MD, but he is a leader. And I for one, am incredibly grateful for his support.

Employees quite rightly expect to be treated fairly, but that does mean they need to play fairly too. Quite simply they can’t expect the world and offer nothing in return. There are many attributes to being a Realian, but for me, one stands out above all else – take responsibility for yourself, your job and the company’.



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