Striking the Balance: The Art of Being Fair Yet Firm in Upholding Company Standards

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In the dynamic landscape of our restoration businesses, maintaining a delicate equilibrium between being fair and firm in holding company standards is paramount. The essence of effective leadership lies in fostering a culture of accountability while ensuring that team members are treated with equity and respect. While it is imperative to drive self-accountability within the organization, there are times when direct and decisive action is warranted to address shortcomings in performance or behavior.

Holding firm to company standards is a non-negotiable aspect of organizational success. These standards serve as the bedrock upon which the company’s reputation, productivity, and ultimately, its success, are built. Therefore, it is not only acceptable but essential to hold team members accountable for their actions and decisions, particularly when they fall short of meeting these standards.

Driving a culture of self-accountability begins with clear communication of expectations. Team members must have a clear understanding of what is required of them, both in terms of tasks and performance standards. This clarity enables individuals to take ownership of their responsibilities and empowers them to strive for excellence.

Consider the analogy of a skilled artisan taking pride in their craftsmanship. Just as an artisan meticulously crafts a masterpiece, team members should take pride in adhering to company standards, knowing that their work contributes to the organization’s success and reputation.

However, there are instances where accountability must be enforced in a firm and unequivocal manner. When repeated attempts at coaching, teaching, or mentorship have proven ineffective, it becomes necessary to address deficiencies directly. In such cases, being direct and to the point is not only justified but essential in conveying the seriousness of the situation and the need for immediate improvement.

Moreover, it is crucial to exhaust all available avenues for support and guidance before resorting to disciplinary actions. This demonstrates a commitment to fairness and provides team members with every opportunity to rectify their behavior or performance issues. However, once these avenues have been exhausted, it is incumbent upon leaders to take appropriate corrective actions, up to and including disciplinary measures, to uphold company standards and protect the integrity of the organization.

In implementing these principles, leaders must strike a delicate balance between firmness and fairness. Consistency is key, ensuring that all team members are held to the same standards and that consequences are applied uniformly. Moreover, leaders must lead by example, embodying the values of accountability, integrity, and professionalism in their own actions and decisions.

To illustrate the application of these principles, consider utilizing the SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact) model. For instance:

“Todd, I noticed that we do not have a Job Hazard Analysis for the last three jobs you project managed. This has been a consistent theme over the last couple of weeks. We discussed it last week in why it is important and reviewed the process. As you are aware, this is a standard of Floodlight Restoration and it is non-negotiable in how we produce our work. It impacts the safety of our team, it’s an OSHA requirement for our company, and if we continue to neglect these procedures, it can have financial repercussions for the company. Most importantly, it will impact your status with us as an employee, potentially leading to disciplinary action, up to termination.”

Ultimately, being fair yet firm in holding company standards is not just a matter of policy but a reflection of the organization’s commitment to excellence. By fostering a culture of accountability, providing support and guidance, and taking decisive action, when necessary, leaders can cultivate a high-performing team that is equipped to overcome challenges and achieve success in today’s competitive restoration industry.

Now that we have discussed the core principles of being Firm yet Fair, let’s get into some specific strategies for applying this principle effectively:

  • Set Clear Expectations: Ensure that team members understand what is expected of them in terms of tasks, performance, and behavior. This clarity helps in holding them accountable for their actions.
  • Provide Feedback Regularly: Offer constructive feedback on a regular basis, both positive and corrective. Let your team members know when they’re meeting expectations and when they’re falling short.
  • Be Consistent: Treat all team members fairly and consistently. Avoid playing favorites or applying different standards to different individuals.
  • Listen Actively: When addressing issues or concerns, listen actively to your team members’ perspectives. This demonstrates fairness and helps in finding solutions that work for everyone.
  • Offer Support and Resources: Ensure that your team has the necessary resources, training, and support to meet expectations. If someone is struggling, offer assistance and guidance to help them improve.
  • Use a Progressive Approach: Start with coaching and mentorship to help team members improve their performance. If issues persist, escalate to more formal corrective actions gradually.
  • Document Performance: Keep thorough records of performance reviews, feedback sessions, and any disciplinary actions taken. This documentation helps in ensuring fairness and consistency in decision-making.
  • Be Transparent: Communicate openly about company standards, expectations, and consequences for not meeting them. Transparency fosters trust and ensures that everyone understands the rules.
  • Lead by Example: Model the behavior and work ethic you expect from your team members. Your actions speak louder than words when it comes to establishing a culture of accountability.
  • Celebrate Successes: Acknowledge and celebrate achievements and successes within the team. Positive reinforcement reinforces desired behaviors and motivates team members to continue performing at their best.
  • Follow Through: If you outline consequences for not meeting expectations, be prepared to follow through if necessary. Consistently enforcing consequences demonstrates that company standards are non-negotiable.

In the end, what you allow is what you create. As a leader, if you allow the standards to fall or the processes not to be followed, you have created that environment, and it is your responsibility and self-accountability that needs to be measured. Leadership is not just about setting expectations but also about upholding them consistently, leading by example, and holding oneself accountable to the same standards as the team.

By incorporating these principles into your leadership approach, you not only uphold company standards but also set the tone for a culture of excellence and accountability that permeates throughout the organization. This commitment to fairness, firmness, and self-accountability lays the foundation for sustained success and growth in the restoration business landscape.

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Scott Maysura

Scott is a senior consultant at Floodlight Consulting Group with over 20 years of experience in the restoration industry, including ownership in restoration startups. He collaborates closely with clients to drive business growth and success by developing and implementing strategic plans, systems and processes. Scott brings strong business acumen, extensive commercial large loss experience, operations management, and significant coaching experience to the Floodlight team. He has worked in every key role in the industry, from a technician to owning a restoration and consulting company. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a diploma in Small Business Management, and is a Triple Master restorer in the industry.

Scott resides in the beautiful state of New Mexico with his wife of 17 years, Christine and their 2 dogs – Harley and Astrid.

Email Scott at: scottm@floodlightgrp.com

Listen to the Floodlight Head Heart and Boots Podcast on Apple iTunes and Spotify.

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