Have you ever wondered why, as the business owner, you have to do all of the work in your own company?  Have you wondered why you can’t find good help?  Why are you paying people that do nothing but watch you work?  Why is it that every employee you hire means more work for you?

If you have identified with any of these thoughts, you most assuredly believe that you have LAZY employees.  You may think that no matter what you do, your employees will not be motivated to work for you or think for themselves or whatever else you believe is happening to you.  Every time you hire someone who appears to be ambitious and motivated, once they start work, they turn on the LAZY switch… and their interview ambition evaporates.

Let’s look at some situations that can be causing the disconnect between Business Owners and their employees:

The “Bad Hire”

After finding themselves with slacking employees, many business owners will feel they are simply bad at hiring the right employees.  Business owners feel like they were duped somehow in the hiring process.  They had envisioned one type of employee at the interview, but when the new hire starts working for them, they discover all of these flaws they did not catch in the interview.  So, after a year with a “bad hire” they feel like they have waited long enough to fire this person and start the process over again… this time they will ask better questions and catch the flaws before it’s too late.

I almost dislike the word “Bad Hire” as much as I dislike the word “LAZY”.  Both terms label a person as perpetually bad; or flawed in some way.  There is no question that some people are naturally more motivated than others.  And some will be a better fit with your team than others.  And, yes, a lot of this can be determined in an interview.  However, I can almost guarantee you that if you think you have a “Bad Hire”, you’re wrong.  Especially if most of the people you hire are “Bad Hires”.

To avoid genuine “Bad Hires” look out for victim speech in the hiring process.  Does the candidate blame external intentions on any negative events that happened to them in the previous job?  Or Do they use “choice based” language that indicated they take control and responsibility for what happens to them?

The “Slacker”

We all know the person in the office that shows up an hour late to work and leaves a half-hour early; or constantly calls in sick; or has kid’s events to go to constantly.  No one will depend on them for anything because they are guaranteed to drop the ball because they’re never around.

You may be tempted to come down on them and tell the “slacker” they need to start carrying their weight and the next time they show up late for work they’ll be fired.  Or, you could simply ignore the problem hoping it will go away.  Or, you can educate them about how their “slacking” behavior is impacting their co-workers and the company… and let them make better choices.

To avoid “Slackers”, educate your staff on your expectations and then follow through with consequences that match the expectations you set from the beginning.

The “Victim”

This is the type of employee, you may have to look out for in hiring.  You can tell a person is a victim when everything that happens to them is a result of the “external world”.  Victims will use phrases like, “Why me?”, “I never get a break”, “I can’t …”, or many other phrases that paint themselves as the receiver of bad luck.  If you have a “victim” in your ranks, there is a possibility to coach them up to a level of acceptable work output, if they choose to think about their circumstances differently.  If not, this is one that you will want to get rid of.  Ironically, most victims do not appear to be LAZY… quite the contrary, they tend to look as if they are working hard, but nothing is going their way.  Or, they simply give up, because there is no point.

The Truth About LAZY Employees

The truth is that there are no LAZY employees.  If you believe an employee is LAZY, you first have to believe that this is a desired state of any human being.  You have to also believe that “doing nothing” is somehow a goal of these LAZY employees.  I’m here to tell you that is simply not the case.  There is no person who wakes up each day and says, “I wonder how much I can slack today before my boss fires me.”

If people are not LAZY, why are they not doing the work that you want them to do?

All employees are no different than every other human being on this planet.  All people want to be contributing to something meaningful, they want to earn a good living for themselves and their family, and they need to be treated with respect by other humans.

What Can a Leader Do?

I have created a lot of labels of employees who appear to be LAZY, but in fact are not being led properly.  As a leader, it is important to create a culture that encourages strong work-ethic; and an environment where people love their work.  There are many ways a leader can go about doing this, but most err on the side of being too passive; or being too aggressive.

Proper leadership starts with an ability to see people for who they really are; and not what you have labeled them to be.  If you believe that people want to do meaningful work, as their leader, you will give them engaging and meaningful work that will challenge them and offer the company and your customers genuine benefit.  If you believe that people want to earn a good living for themselves and their family, you will educate them on how their compensation is tied to results they produce for the company and its customers.  If you believe that your employees need to be treated with respect, you will treat them with respect and not label them as I’ve done in this blog post.

How does Coaching Help?

As a coach, I have conversations with my clients.  In these conversations, my clients will say things that reflect what they think and what they believe.  These beliefs and thoughts are the foundation of actions.  These actions will then dictate how successful they are in their role as a leader.  By persuading my clients to expand their thinking about their core beliefs and thoughts, my clients create authentic thoughts and beliefs; and make authentic leadership decisions.  This authenticity is what all employees are craving in their boss. If you’d like to inject authenticity in your own leadership style, please fill out the contact form below.

Note from the Author
My name is Jeff Schuster.  I am a certified Life and Business Coach serving small business owners, corporate executives and others who want to transition from “expert” to “entrepreneur”.  I have been a small business owner for most of my 30-years in the workplace.  I grew an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering and construction company from nothing to over $10-million/year and sold it in 2013.  I now help other business owners make amazing progress toward their own dreams of business ownership independence and success.

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