Employee vs. Team Member

I’ve always had an issue with the word “employee.” To me the word has a negative/hard tone to it. It reminds me of the old days of factory workers on an assembly line. In my head I picture the mean boss, yelling at his workers with no care or concern for them as people. They are a number and they work for him. This is my vision of the word employee. Maybe yours is different. I just ask that you take a moment to listen while I get on my soapbox.

Work for you or with you?

As a manager of a center, do you want people who work FOR you or people who work WITH you? The very definition of a team is a group of people working toward a common goal. In our centers, our goals may include providing exceptional guest service and achieving certain revenue levels. No one person can achieve those goals for your centers. It takes a group of people – it takes a team.

You hear about teams in sports. Do they call a group of baseball players employees? No, they are called a team, because each of the members fills an important position doing what they do best. The same is true in your centers. Some folks are fantastic party hosts and maybe not the best at being a lane attendant. A cook excels at her role and might not succeed as a cashier.

As a manager, you have the role of coach. You train your team, you have them practice, and then you assign them to the position that is best for the team/company. As a Manager/Coach, you motivate your team toward a successful shift, you cheer them when they do well, and you coach/counsel them when they need some extra practice or if they’ve had a bad day.

When the team “wins” by hitting their goals, you give them the credit they deserve! When they miss the mark, you look at ways you could have supported your team better.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox and I hope I made you think about the people working with you in your centers. Now I ask you, how do you (or will you) refer to your team?

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