Are Your Employees Working as Soldiers or Gladiators?

The events of 2020 might have changed the looks of your business today. What have you done to prepare your people for next year? Are your employees working as individuals, doing their own thing? Or are they working efficiently as a team?

During my previous travels to businesses, some of them have synergy and they know they couldn’t have continuity without it. Unfortunately, I have also seen other businesses that don’t have synergy and probably never will. They’re always struggling to make things better and feel one day it will be better but they’re not willing to make the needed changes. What do the proper tools provide a business? Sure footing!

Consider the ancient Roman soldiers. They were a fierce bunch, dedicated to a plan and following it until told to stop. The armor and clothing that Roman soldiers daily wore had a purpose. Always dressed for fighting at a moment’s notice, every soldier fought as a unit and was very tough in battle. They had synergy because they cooperated with others and did not challenge the plan. Why were they so effective? Let’s review one part of a soldier’s uniform.

A Roman soldier wore special shoes called Caliga. Those straps on the shoes kept the soldier’s shoes attached and their feet protected from any slick terrain. Embedded in the sole of their feet was an ugly, sharp spike. As the soldier moved, this spike would dig into the ground and keep the soldier from falling during battle. A good stance was needed when fighting with heavy swords! Literally everything worn added to his safety.

On the other hand gladiators didn’t have the safety net of working side-by-side in linear formation, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a group. A gladiator’s survival depended on what he could accomplish on his own inside a colosseum.

If asked, most business owners would prefer a group of Roman soldiers working as a team, shoulder-to-shoulder, for one purpose than a bunch of gladiators working independently in the business. Having a bunch of employees who work separately and praying for a good outcome for the business isn’t a good battle plan.

Employees that do a good job really love what they do. You can see it! They’re confident in the ground work they’ve been given to do their job. They’re sure-footed, dedicated and show up early and will stay late if it benefits the business and their teammates. You can see dedication in the way they talk to customers and peers. They encourage co-workers because they know success benefits the entire group. It’s a peaceful place to work even when chaos starts to emerge. They’re synergistic and good communicators because they work together. As a group, the team uses positive conversation to work through problems and doesn’t hide in a corner or talk amongst themselves to see which side other employees take. A team doesn’t subdivide or become gladiators when things get tough. A team remains together, as a unit, like the Roman soldiers did.

Get a mental picture of your business and be honest with yourself. Do you feel you’ve given your people the right armor, i.e., tools, equipment, training, new or updated software, encouragement and backing so they can do their very best for your business in 2021?

To do their job effectively, every employee should feel they have the backing of the owner or management so that whenever help, tools or training are needed or requested, it’s given. If your employees work efficiently and cooperatively as a group and not for personal benefit, you have done well establishing your business. Keep up the good work.

If there’s even one person that can benefit from your help, instead of isolating that employee, team them up with another employee that can show them, NOT TELL them, how to cooperate and work effectively with the team. If they’re really open to it, cooperation can rub off on those that need improvement because they see firsthand just how much better work can be when everyone works together as a team. If they really can’t improve or won’t change how they work or relate to customers and your employees, then it’s probably time for a personnel change. They just might be a gladiator and cannot become part of a unit.

See you next time!

Correspondence regarding this article should go to:

D.J. Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

D. J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252. E-mail: 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone.