Businessmen shaking handsA bizarre thing happened in my personal life this past weekend that can easily translate into a lesson for the professional world.

I regularly attend church. So, I went out of town over the weekend and returned home to a new pastor…with no explanation as to why. Let me give you some background:

The church I attend is a satellite and there are many, many satellite churches around the world in this ministry. The founding church is in Michigan.

During Wednesday night bible study, our regular pastor was there. Yet, on Friday evening service, the congregation was informed that he would no longer be pastoring the church…and that was it.

No explanations. No opportunity for questions. No nothing.

Now, take into account that this man and his family (my pastor) have been leading this church for the past six years. Many people (including myself) developed a close, personal relationship with these people. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, they have been ripped from being our spiritual leaders.

No contact information was provided so we don’t even know if we’ll ever see them again. And the most disturbing part is the way this situation is being handled.

The founder shortly “addressed” the congregation:

“I have an announcement to make, XYZ will no longer be the pastor here. I am the new pastor. Alright, open up your bibles.”

I kid you not; it was that simple.

Something huge has happened that affects the church members (and their lives) and not only is the founder not offering details, he also isn’t giving them a say-so in who is next to pastor them. He’s treating members, the base off his ministry and its success, as if they’re insignificant.

This unfortunate event made me think about business operations and how those in positions of authority treat their workers. Employers, please remember, your employees are people too and deserve to be treated as such. And the following are just three of the many ways to do just that:

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Show respect at all times, no matter who the person is. Just because your job title or status may be higher than another worker’s doesn’t mean your “humanness” is any greater than theirs. Your employees are adults and all proved themselves enough to be hired for their positions. Treat them accordingly.

Do not talk down to employees or disregard their concerns. This harms employee engagement and morale, which inevitably decreases productivity and increases employee turnover.

2. Keep employees up-to-date. Members at my church were shocked to come to church and hear 1) their pastor was gone and 2) no explanation for this occurrence. It was sudden and unexpectedseeing as how many just saw him two days before at the Wednesday bible study—and the fact that they weren’t permitted to receive any more information made it worse.

Employees need to be up-to-date all the time on what’s taking place within the company. If a manager or supervisor is on his/her way out, inform the person’s workers. And if a sudden change in leadership does occur, give employees as much information as possible and answer their questions to resolve possible conflicts. Don’t not give them the opportunity to ask questions or inquire about the new change. Your workers are the backbone of the company and play an integral role in its success. Don’t keep them in the dark as if they aren’t a part of them team.

3. Practice your presentation. The church founder was short, seemingly nonchalant and his approach came off as rude. It was as if he didn’t care enough about his own members to approach them compassionately. At the end of his 30-second announcement, he even said “you’ll get over it.” His approach totally disregarded the feelings and concerns of members upon hearing that their pastor(s) were suddenly gone.

Presentation  is everything. Workers can tell by your approach whether or not you’re engaged or concerned about them.

4. Follow the “Golden Rule.” It’s pretty simple: treat others how you want to be treated. As stated in point no.1, your employees are people just like you. The CEO, CFO and any other kind of officer is no more human than the mail clerk or entry-level worker.



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