5 Ways to Make Your Team Love You
Your job as a boss is not to try to win a popularity contest. In fact the responsibilities of being a boss are often at odds with being able to be popular. It's not even about love, it's not even about like, it's about leadership. your job as a boss is to be a leader. If you focus on the wrong priority, if you focus on trying to get people to like you it's gonna lead to the wrong behaviors. So think about that for a little bit. And so when you look at this title it's fun to say, I want everyone to love me, but it's not about love. It's just about showing up for your team in the right way. So let's go through it. The first one is be honest. Honesty is the best policy. Don't waste time triangulating your feedback. Don't try and use corporate words that you've heard other people say and just be like, okay, I think I should say this and I should say this and I should say this. Don't do that. People know if they've messed up. People know if something's not going well. So dancing around it f...
or 30 minutes doesn't do anyone any good. If something went wrong, talk about it, say it, address it, and then move on. Now one of the ways you build credibility is you as a boss, you're gonna make mistakes. We just talked about that, we just spent a whole intro talking about all the mistakes you're gonna make every day. One of the ways you build credibility is own your mistakes. When you make a mistake, tell people. Hey, I'm sorry we had to change that. I didn't get approval from my boss, I should've done that, I knew I should have, and I just forgot, and you know what, that's why we had to redo it, I'm sorry. People respect that. Because all of a sudden you're not saying, I'm better than you, I never make mistakes, you're actually showing, it's okay to admit that you made a mistake. You're leading by example. Because isn't it a healthier relationship if people on your team come to you and say, hey boss, I need your help, I think I've made a mistake? Isn't that a better situation? I mean, that was like all head nods. I got a full audience of head nods on that. Isn't it better if they come to you and say, hey, I made a mistake and you can fix it together? Rather than trying to hide the mistake or just kind of like just hedge on the mistake. So lead by example, own your mistakes, and then when you sit down with your employees, no one's trying to screw up on purpose, so be honest, say what you need to say, and the truth is people respect honesty even if it hurts a little bit in the moment. Better a little pinch there than a big surprise later. So be honest. A lot of people get this wrong. The second thing is jump on the grenade. The easiest way to make your team love you, jump on a grenade. Now what this means is you're sitting in a meeting as a boss, things aren't really going well, you have two options. One option is sit back and let your team fall on their face and just sit there, so that you kind of don't get dirty. You're just like, not me, I'm not talking, this is my team. That's one way to go through life. The other way to go through life is see someone struggling, see things aren't going well, and run out there and jump on the grenade and be like, I'm gonna save this. You know what, things aren't going well, here's what we need to do to regroup. You know what, we'll get back to you in a minute. Here's what we need to do. I'm sorry, I can turn to my boss and say, I'm sorry, I didn't set this up correctly, that was my fault, can we move onto the next topic, we'll come back to that? That's jumping on the grenade. And by the way, it's not just the individual that appreciates that, it's the whole team. 'Cause they see that you care about everybody. And it's not you above the team, you're protecting the team. And one of the key insights to understand is don't worry about your own reputation when you jump on the grenade. Don't worry about saying to a big group of people, hey, I screwed up, I didn't set the team up for success, let me regroup, can we come back to you tomorrow? There's no problem with that, because what you do is you leave the meeting, you shoot an email to the key people in the meeting, you say, hey, listen, you know what, I realize I didn't set the team up for success, I felt like we were going in the wrong direction, and I didn't want it to go any further. So what do you want from me in order to pull this back? All of a sudden look at what your boss is looking at, your boss is going, oh whoa, Justin, standing up for his team, he cares about the people, he's trying to get organized, he's taking responsibility. All of a sudden I've turned what was a bad meeting into a bonus points for Justin Kerr, that's awesome. So even by showing that I'm failing I'm actually succeeding if I communicate effectively about it. So don't sit back, don't hide from the moment, run to the moment. That's what jumping on the grenade means. The grenade lands, the pin is pulled. Are you gonna run away, let someone else take it? Or are you gonna run and jump on it, so that everyone else is safe? It's your choice. These are the types of choices you make every day, every hour as a boss. All right, next thing is buy lunch, buy coffee, buy candy, buy beer, I don't care what it is, buy it. This is boss rules, the boss always pays. No exceptions, that's just the way it is. And what I want you to think about is every single coffee is an investment in your future. If it's a $4.50 coffee, buy it. If you're out to lunch with one of your employees, buy their lunch. If you bought their lunch yesterday, buy their lunch again today. Every single time, any time you're with anyone you work with, especially if they're on your team, buy it for them. Every single one of those, even in the moment where you're like oh, there's six people on my team, if I buy all those cocktails it's gonna be $72. You're like, I don't know, maybe I'll hide back here. It's like, run to that and buy the first drink. Don't buy the fourth drink, 'cause they might not remember. Buy the first one. (audience laughs) That $72 is gonna come back to you tenfold, actually hundredfold, in your next promotion. Because every single time you make a small gesture to another person on your team a $4.50 coffee, it's saying, hey, I see you, you're working hard for me and the least I can do is pick up your coffee. And if I told you it would cost you $ for you to get promoted six months faster than you would have otherwise, what's your answer to that? You're like, yes, I'm gonna pay that. I'll pay more. I'll pay double, I'll pay triple. Get a promotion six months faster. And that's the truth. Those $4 coffees add up, because now your team wants to work hard for you. It's the smallest gesture, it doesn't really cost you anything in the long run, but if you've got a team who loves you, sees you sponsoring them, sees you looking out, doing little things for them, how much more likely are they to give positive feedback when HR asks about you? How much more likely are they to work hard for you when you say, hey, I've got an emergency, I need something in an hour, I'm meeting with my boss, please help me. If I've never done anything for any of you you're all just like sitting there just going oh, sucks to be you. (audience laughs) Now if I just bought you all drinks on Friday and we worked hard and we bought coffees this morning and I asked how your day was and talked about what's going on, and I go, I need your help. Aren't you more likely to be like, I'm there for you, let's go, let's go do this? So think about, it's so easy, it doesn't cost you anything. All right, moving on. Ask small questions. I totally screwed this up, I totally, totally screwed this up. I thought I was being really efficient by not asking anyone how their weekend was. I was like, I'm an efficiency monster, I don't waste time on small talk. Why do I wanna talk about the weather? And so I just went through every day just be like, let's do the report, let's do this thing, let's keep going. And what I realized, it took someone crying and looking at me and I said, what's going on? And the person said, why don't you ever ask me how my weekend was? And I just was like, what? And it was like, why don't you ever ask me how my weekend was? And I said, oh, I thought if you had anything interesting to say you would tell me. That's how I thought it worked, that's how I thought human interactions work. I don't know what that says about me, but that's how I thought it worked. And the truth was by not asking someone how their weekend was what I was saying is I refuse to acknowledge your existence as a human being. I refuse to acknowledge that you have any life outside of this office and in fact, you are here only to do work and transact at the level of title and report and project and knowing who I am I'm probably gonna make you feel little all the time, because you misspelled a word or you didn't fill something out or I can do it faster than you. So if that's the base of our relationship that's horrible. And I went through a lot of my career doing that. And I very much regret it. So I wanna say very simply, ask small questions. That's all I wanna say about that. Okay, the next thing I wanna talk about is go outside. Sometimes work is boring. You go to the same meeting in the same room with the same people to talk about the same thing day after day after day after week after month. Sometimes it's years of going in the same room to talk about the same meeting. That can get really boring. And as a boss you need to be aware of that and you need to break out of that. You've gotta find little ways to bring new energy. So if you're a boss and you do your weekly touch base with your whole team in the same conference room every week once a month, grab the team, they all go in there, just say, hey, let's all go sit outside. And everyone's like, what? There's like electricity in the room. Everyone's like what, where are we going? What are we doing? I don't know, I have a meeting in 30 minutes. I don't know what's going on. And it's like, chill out, we're going outside for a second. Where are we going? I don't know what to, how do we go? It's like, we're all gonna go. Now the point was it doesn't matter where you go, so don't let perfection be the enemy of good enough, just go walk to the elevator, go walk downstairs, go walk outside. There probably isn't a bench big enough to fit 10 people, I get that, sit on the curb, or stand in a circle, or stand in the lobby. It doesn't matter where you are. The point is you're not in that tiny little conference room like food you can already taste. You've changed the environment, you've changed people's perspective and it's like, oh my gosh, today was crazy, we went out in the lobby and we had our team meeting. I remember that, oh my gosh, Justin is crazy. But the point is you've gotta keep people on their toes, break the routine. You know, it's that corporate speak of like you're walking down the hall and someone's like, how is it going? And by the time you stop to answer they've just kept walking. It's just like white noise. It's the same thing with your team. If you're doing things in the same way people are gonna get bored. So an easy way to solve that, go outside. A little bit of sunshine makes everybody happy. And by the way, don't schedule it, don't announce it, or else it confuses everyone and it becomes a thing. Don't make it a thing. Let everyone show up to the room and be like, all right everyone, leave your papers on the desk, we're going outside. You're gonna be a hero for a day, I promise. All right, next is leave the party early. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but people don't wanna party with you anymore. It's super depressing, it's super depressing, but when you're the boss nobody wants to party with you anymore. And trust me, it really hurts, 'cause I'm a really fun person. I love partying with the team and we're spending time together, we're laughing, we're building connections. And I grew up in big corporations of big teams and we're having all this fun and people are laughing, but then at some point I remember just looking around and being like, everyone seems really calm and it's not as fun as I used to remember it being. And then you look around and you go, oh right, 'cause the boss is here no one else can have fun. So you're actually impeding the fun of the rest of the team. So no one talks about this, but your job as a boss is set up the party, buy the first round, and then get out of the way and let people have the fun without you. It's not fun, it hurts. The next day you hear about something fun and crazy that happened and you're like, I used to be the person dancing on the tabletop, but the truth is as long as you're at the party no one's gonna dance on the tabletop. So buy the drinks, get out of the way, go home, do whatever you wanna do, meet up with your other friends. But the truth is let your team party without you, get out of the way. All right, so that's it in terms of some easy ways to make your team love you and those are pretty low stakes, those are easy things, those are five things you could do today, you're gonna change your team's life, and you're gonna show up in the right was as a boss.