Learning to better understand your staff and how they communicate

We hired a new person for admin in the office. She just joined us, and I’m used to my old way of functioning with my existing staff where I just let them know what I feel like. I don’t really have to mince my words. One of the staff members is my spouse, so it becomes a little easier. She understands when I’m upset with something.

This new lady who came in was sensitive, and I didn’t realize it. One day, she made a mistake, and the way I responded to her had her almost in tears. It took a bit of time to talk to her, to convince her and for her to understand. My spouse had to speak with her. So that was a hard lesson learned — understanding that everyone doesn’t take the criticism or the feedback in the same way, and you really need to understand your staff or your team to be able to handle them and bring the best out of them.

I would say that you need to not be in the constant-entrepreneurial-growth client mindset. When you’re working with employees, you also need to be in the business-owner/organizational mindset. I think that’s what we’ve adopted in the last several months. If I had recognized that everyone does not think the same about the way they make errors or about the way they deal with something, then I think I would have done a better job. Maybe also at the time of hiring, a bit more of an assessment of a person’s personality would have helped.

Which we did for the second person we hired after that lady left — which was not due to this incident; she was getting a higher salary somewhere else. But we assessed the second person, and therefore I know how to deal with her. So I think that’s the lesson learned, and that’s what I think I would like to do better and did better in the second case.

Paresh B. Shah, CFP, is a 13-year MDRT member from Hicksville, New York. Hear more in the May episode of the MDRT Podcast:

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