“I will smile at friend and foe alike and make every effort to find, in him or her, a quality to praise, now that I realize the deepest yearning of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”—Og Mandino
There is a dynamic between business owners and employees that is disempowering to both: resentment. Employees often feel that they are unfairly exploited, that they aren’t paid enough, that they don’t enjoy enough privileges, perks, benefits, freedom, etc. They feel trapped by the bargain they have made to exchange dollars for time, then resent the time and feel the dollars aren’t enough. They criticize the way the business operates, the rules and regulations formulated to govern them, and turn a resentful eye on those bosses above them that they see making more money, driving nicer cars, living in bigger houses in swankier neighborhoods. They feel exploited, downtrodden, used, and abused. They resent the annual reviews, the raises that are never high enough, the bonuses that don’t stretch far enough. They imagine that if they owned the business, they would pay better salaries, spread the wealth to everyone, and be universally loved by all their employees. They become Tuna.
Business owners always seem to be taken by surprise by this attitude from their employees. They know the enormous financial risks they have taken to start their business, the long hours and sleepless nights they have dedicated to strategizing its success, and the fear of failure that lurks in the dark corners of their minds. They think everyone knows that the perks they enjoy they worked long and hard to get. They are blind to the fact that most employees don’t know what it took to create and build the business, they just see the perks and want them. The business owners become resentful of what they see as ingratitude for having provided an employee with a job and an income. Some employers become so embittered by this that they treat their employees with little respect and pay the lowest wages they can get away with.
They become Sharks.
The company that is divided by an “us vs. them” mentality between bosses and employees is losing a great deal of its power and focus. It will never be as effective as a company of dolphins in which everyone knows they’re on the same team and when the team wins they all win; where all involved are aware of the importance of every other person in the company; where all are respected for their talents and their individual contribution to the success of the group.
I believe that if employees knew the risks, talents, and skills that are required to open and successfully run a business, they would appreciate their employers more. I believe every employee ought to start, not in the mailroom, but in the sales room. Let them learn what it takes to create money by selling a product or service to customers. Then they can move on to a different job, but they will never lose their appreciation for the people who, with talent, drive, and persistence, create everyone’s income. If there are no customers, no one has a job. Employers need to spend one day each quarter doing someone else’s job—answering the phone, preparing reports or doing accounting—in order to appreciate their employees. Everyone needs everyone else, and mutual appreciation eliminates resentment. They become Dolphins.
Can you find a corporation of Dolphins? Or is it time for you to create one?
“I appreciate everyone who works with me, for they help create my wonderful income!”
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