Is every day “Tax Day” for your employees?

April 15th.  Are you ready? For many folks, this week begins the last minute dash to ensure Uncle Sam is happy by midnight, April 15th.

Tax Day is a necessary evil right? It’s a reminder that nothing really is free. And in order to stay legal in the eyes of the government, we each have to pay our share each year, regardless of our station in life.

Did you also realize there is a tax in your organization?  In fact, it is one that is paid every day in every interaction with your employees. 

However, the real question is this:  how high is the tax? Let me explain.

Every conversation, interaction and decision we engage with our team has a hidden tax placed on it. For the employee, unspoken questions pass through their minds as we speak to them that ask, “Can I trust him/her” or “how much do I trust him/her”?  Those questions, or better yet, the answers to those questions either delay buy-in to a decision or create speculation that ultimately slows down performance. 

The more trust the lower the tax and greater the productivity.  The lower the trust, the higher the tax and greater delay in the effectiveness of the team.

Trust in the workplace.  Obtaining it AND maintaining it is much easier said than done.  In fact, it’s one of the hardest disciplines leaders are faced with.

So in honor of the approaching IRS deadline, consider these three reminders in our interactions with those around us.

#1 Do what I do versus do what I say.
Many employees believe two sets of rules exist in their workplace:  The stated rules (the ones everyone is supposed to abide by) and managers’ rules (that other playbook of rules that managers follow).  And guess what…the two are not the same.  While there are often different demands on leaders, remembering to ask employees to do things we also do ourselves is one of the best principles to live by as a leader.  For example, if tardiness is a no-no for employees, then managers should arrive on time too.  It’s those little differences in behavior that erode trust.

#2 Over-deliver and under-promise.
“I’ll take care of that,” is one of the most commonly heard phrases in the workplace.  And in most cases, that intent really is to take care of whatever is asked of us.  The problem is that many times we are asked to help with an item while we are walking down a hallway or in a passing conversation.  The result?  We say we’ll do something then accidentally forget about it because our focus has moved on to putting out the next fire.  The solution? As you tell a team member you will do something for them, also ask them to put in writing (an email or note) so it won’t fall of your list.  This allows you to really deliver on those promises you make.

 #3 Eleventh hour delivery is a rarity.
Time slips up on all of us occasionally.  The question is does it slip up on you most of the time? If so, you become the leader who communicates important information to the team at the last minute or you complete tasks so near a promised deadline that it puts the team in a time crunch to do their job.  Your team will most likely not understand all the items on your plate (after all, they don’t’ do your job), but it’s crucial to focus on your time management skills so that you are known as the leader your team can count on when time really counts for them.

Signed tax forms, meetings with accountants and possible tax payments will occur in a flurry this week. And while your employees won’t experience these tasks with you this week, they will pay a trust tax this week.  Give them a “refund” this week.  They will thank you for it!

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