The idea of “us”
extends to outside of the office, too. There’s a Richard Branson quote: “Clients do not come first, employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Employees are the best ambassadors for a company. At the end of the day, people buy people, and as an agency, we are in a service industry. Of course, clients buy wonderful work, but they also want to partner with people they enjoy spending time with. Our values guide us, as a team, and as a brand, in decision-making, conflict resolution, and how we behave. This defines our interactions and who we are, and how we want to be perceived, both internally, and externally.
Divided attention divides us.
Leaders need to actively listen and truly be there for their teams. I cherish sitting with everyone in our open plan office. When approached, I stop what I’m doing and properly look at them and listen. Or, say, can I come back to you? Things like Friday drinks and holiday parties are only a top-up – you can’t hide from the fundamentals. Also, something as seemingly small as a desk change can have massive impact as well, as it widens people’s connections across the office. Create a space in which your teams feel safe and inspired to sometimes go beyond their comfort zones.
During a talk on happiness in the workplace,
I learnt that Hong Kong people’s mental wellbeing is largely affected by the community, and is less individually driven, like in some Western societies. While you can’t affect a collective psychology, what you can do is to care for and be kind to your immediate circle, and hope that they will take care and be kind to their circles. Because ultimately, we are all in it together, whether you’re a colleague, a family member…or even a Christmas Elf.
Want to see how else you can support your teams? Read about the power of learning with Baker McKenzie’s Steven Ng.