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Impression Management – Engaging your people top to bottom

By Dennis Keay

It’s no secret, as far as I’m concerned, that getting your business humming can only be done by getting your people on board, and that’s done by listening to them, understanding them, caring about them, and supporting them. For me, there’s no better way than getting your hands dirty occasionally and working with them side-by-side. Doing this gives you a better understanding of the issues they face on a day-to-day basis, and does so much more. It:

  • breaks down silos and communication barriers so you get to know the true story, rather than what people want you to hear;
  • gives you a better understanding of your business and where the opportunities are for improvement;
  • demonstrates what you value;
  • sets a standard for others to follow…a form of leadership…leading by example.

It’s a very visual form of communication that says so much more than words alone! It gives you an opportunity to rub shoulders with your workers and express an honest word of thanks and recognition…something that as humans we all seem to value and appreciate…and it’s something that money can’t buy. It’s been my natural approach for as long as I can remember, and I’ve noticed that it definitely influences people’s behaviour and engagement, for the better.

It’s all about Impression Management!

As a young engineer it served me well when working with the tradespeople I managed, and I’ve carried the practice through all levels of my career, including presently during my business coaching, consulting and mentoring work. I must admit, it does raise a few eyebrows occasionally from both the shop-floor and the Boardroom, but it definitely gets results.

As an example, in one business I worked with we were able to rapidly engage the workforce and improved the output of the extrusion department by 75% and reduced costs by 50% with no capital investment and no additional labour. (If you’d like to hear more about that, then watch the 3rd client case-study video here.)

The Point

The point is, engaging the hearts and minds of your people can lead to a dramatic improvement in performance of your business. You don’t need to be the CEO to have impression management work in your favour, but if you are the CEO then the effect will be compounded. That’s because the next level down will, by your actions, see what you value, and they will follow suit, and so on down the line. Look after your people and they’ll look after you.

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