The Best Operators of Business Are Goofy
Contractor tip of the month
By Damian Lang
I network with business people from all over the country, and I’ve discovered something: The ones doing the best are goofy, but very likable. That leads one to wonder about the advantages of being goofy.
Of all the business people I know, the wealthiest also happens to be the goofiest of them. When I ask a question, he answers with “huh” or “umm.” Then, he rephrases the question and asks me the same thing, just in another way. Even if he knows the answer, he still asks to see if he is missing something. I guess he figures that if it’s important to me, then it could be important to him. By doing this in his goofy way, he really makes me feel important. All his friends love him but just can’t figure out how someone so goofy could do so well. Of course, we only jokingly question his ability as we all know he couldn’t have gotten lucky 40 years in a row.
When you don’t take yourself too seriously, people become comfortable around you and start to like you quicker. They may think, “Wow this guy is just like me.” Or, maybe you leave them with a smile when you hang up the phone, due to something you say that isn’t what they expect to hear. Whatever the case, people buy from people they like (and they don’t buy from people they don’t like). So, if you want to pick up work, assure your customers like you.
Employees like being around bosses that are a little goofy, too. When you, as the boss, are comfortable in your own skin, you can laugh at yourself when you make a mistake instead of hiding it. Your staff sees you as human, with a ability to laugh at yourself, and they feel they can make mistakes, too, without being ridiculed.
However, if a boss tries to act like he knows everything, an employee often will justify to himself that, if the boss knows so much, his assistance may not be needed. That, in turn, leads to the boss owning the whole project, instead of the employee helping out and owning his part of it, too. Luckily for me, being goofy comes naturally, so others enjoy helping me get things done. It also helps me build relationships quickly, and with those relationships, I can secure more work and have people behind me to help me do it.
Remember, when difficult situations rear their ugly heads, everyone watches the leader to see how he handles himself during the heat of the moment. If you are ready to hit the panic button, you had better not show it, or followers will wonder why you are a leader in the first place. A boss I once had would throw a fit every time something small went wrong, as though it were the end of the world. It wasn’t long before his employees were all laughing at him around the corner regarding how he could not handle even minor problems. I don’t think I need to tell you how successful he is today as one can easily guess.
Along with being goofy, good leaders also possess qualities such as high tolerance for risk taking, high tolerance for mental stress during tough times, and the ability to take action. Wow, I think I just discovered more contractor tips to write.
For now, teach yourself to be “goofy” and comfortable in your own skin. You can do it through daily practice and studying self-improvement books. That may not encompass everything it takes, but I can tell you this: Based on my experiences with great leaders, it is a damned good start.
About the Author
Damian Lang is a mason contractor in southeast Ohio and inventor of many labor saving masonry systems and products. Lang has served as the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America. He is also author of the book Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry. To network with Damian on contractor tips or tips you have and would like published, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-749-3512.