Never let them see you sweat
Contractor tip of the month
By Damian Lang
Sherlock Holmes, Bond – James Bond, and Winnie the Pooh. Have you ever heard anybody say anything negative about these three? They all have something in common. All three possess an unshakable composure. Have you ever seen Pooh stressed? How about Sherlock? Certainly not James!
People are drawn to and find comfort in the calm, cool and collected. This is why in management, regardless of the surge of adversity capable of occurring at any point, you must “Never let them see you sweat.”
Wednesday morning, hump day, half-way through the work week. Having just looked over the monthly profit-and-loss statement, you know you lost $130,000 the first six months of the year. Phone rings. It’s your biggest customer calling to say he gave that major project you thought you had nailed to a competitor.
Knuckles tap your office door. Your mechanic enters. “When it rains, it pours, Boss. Another truck broke down, and we have a crew stranded on the highway. By the way, this is the second truck that broke down this week,” he says.
Phone rings. The project manager on the biggest job you have going says it is under staffed. The owner and general contractor want to meet Monday morning to discuss how we are going to catch the schedule back up. The project manager then points out that several projects that were backed up have all started at once, and he doesn’t know how we are going to man them. “I can’t find that many good people. What are we going to tell them at the meeting Monday?” he asks. Is this stressing you out yet? Should I go on?
I can’t make this stuff up. This may not all happen the same day, but I have had weeks like this, and I am sure you have, too. How do you respond to these types of events that are sure to happen if you are in business very long?
One thing is for sure: If you get nervous, tense and stressed out over the issues, and your staff senses it, you are setting yourself up for a loss. The people working under you are most likely there because they believe you have what it takes to lead them. If you can’t deal with the issues, what would make them think the business can survive? From their points of view, it could even appear the business is sinking. If not, why would you be so stressed out? Like rats leaving a sinking ship, if they see you sweat, good team members may start leaving your company.
It is well known that stress is the cause of many health problems. Weight gain, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma are just a few. Before stress kills you, it could kill your company.
Holmes, Bond and Pooh, we know, are all fictional characters. Calm cool and collected is written in their stories! You and I, on the other hand, do not get to live a story book life. There will be times you are stressed after finding you lost money the last few months, missed a big job, having broken down equipment, etc. The secret is to remain composed, and not let your people see you can’t handle it by letting them see you sweat.
As the owner or the boss, it pretty much starts with you. If you can’t fix you, you can’t fix your company, and if you can’t fix your company, you can’t fix your profit situation. If you can’t fix your profit situation, you will struggle to help your loved ones. So, you can’t fix any of it, if you can’t fix you. What can you do? Reach.
Reach for a book or CD. There are many self-improvement programs available. To name a few: “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale, “Lessons in Mastery” by Anthony Robbins, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, and “How to Make Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Many of the authors are not only extremely successful themselves, they have spent much of their lives studying how the mind controls the body and our emotions.
Reach for a treadmill or a walkway. Okay this is going to make you sweat, but in a good way. There is nothing like exercise to take away stress and rejuvenate the mind. It is meant to fuel your body and brain. Take a walk, do 20 minutes on a treadmill, or hit the gym.
Reach out to someone. My father and my mother are my mentors. I still go to them, my eight siblings, my fiancé, my friends and industry experts, who all offer advice on issues my companies face while providing positive solutions. Reach toward one who will talk and listen.
Stuff happens. Prepare and learn to be composed, and it will begin to live naturally within you. With the right mind skill set, your people will never see you sweat!
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.