A simple, yet highly effective way to get your staff to do what you want

Wednesday 21 September, 2016 | By: Andrea Tunjic | Tags: management, leadership


Every time when I walk into our business the first thing I notice are the fingerprints on the glass entrance door. And every time I ask the staff to make sure that the door is regularly cleaned. It started to feel like a bad comedy skit; boss walks in, looks at door with a grimace, looks at staff with a bigger grimace, tells staff to clean glass door, walks out and the scene repeats every couple of days.


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It shouldn’t be that hard should it? To get staff to do what we want them to do. Yet it is a huge challenge facing small business owners, people managers, leaders and entrepreneurs alike.

So I decided to walk my talk. Instead of bringing the glass door the attention of the staff, I walked out the back picked up the glass cleaner and paper towel and quietly cleaned it myself. It took me as much time as lecturing the staff and now, every time I go to the store and if the door needs cleaning I just do it.

Two things happened as a result of this approach.

1. The staff felt that I was helping them out not adding more to their already full task list

I recently did and employee engagement project in a big business that involved a lot of open chats with staff. In this business the boss was known for helping out when things got busy. Almost everyone had a story of the time the boss helped upload some goods or stayed back to pack shelves or got behind a register to serve a customer.

There was one time where a sales rep fell ill and rather than cancel the appointments the boss did the sales meetings without hesitation. The staff love and respect him because they see that he is one of them – no better than them just willing to do exactly what he asks of them.

2. The glass door got cleaned more frequently

It wasn’t one of those, have to get everything right because the boss is coming in type of situations. It was that by walking my talk I had sent a signal to staff about what the priorities were in the business and they followed my lead.

The standard you work past goes a lot further than a two-second cleaning job. It can be walking past poor behaviour or an inefficient work practice or terrible customer service. Our role as leaders is to set, demonstrate and to enforce the standards if we want to ensure our staff to do the same.

The David Morrison quote, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept," inspires me to want to question the things I walk past and to notice the signals I send to the people around me. It encourages me to set a higher standard for myself and in doing so leaving a trail for others to follow if they choose to do so.

Talk the talk, walk the walk which means to lead by example - is a powerful way to get your staff doing what you want them to do.


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About the contributor:

Andrea Tunjic is a people management entrepreneur, business mentor, author of “People Power” and speaker who knows that successful businesses are built on powerful people practices.For over 20 years she has helped businesses to transform their culture and outcomes by activating and inspiring the energy of their people. Andrea is highly regarded for her engaging, authentic and practical approach to the challenge of making people feel good about work. Website: http://www.peoplestrong.com.au



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