I thought both are one and the same. If you are efficient, then you would be happy. It made sense to me. Unfortunately, real experience tells me otherwise. The first impression people have when they walk into my office is awe. No, not the great design. It is the fact that everyone is completely involved in whatever task they are doing, 100% concentration. You don’t hear office chit-chat.. you don’t hear anything but keyboards tapped and mouse-buttons clicking.
I run my company like a factory. General Ford would be proud. Coming from a technology background, I utilize technology to its maximum potential. Every second is accounted for. Whenever we see a problem, it is analyzed and measured to the second. Oh no, I don’t exaggerate. This is the only way I can compete. My competitors have more human resources and money than I can compete with. I have no choice but to be extremely efficient.
Efficiency comes at a price. General employee happiness is low. It would be unfair to blame efficiency alone. My management style is very aggressive and tough. I’m the type of manager would will blow up in your face. I hate doing it, but I do it nevertheless. I tried to tone myself down several times, but I can’t seem to find the right balance to keep me cool. Anything that upsets my perfectly oiled time machine upsets me visibly. As long as things are going as I had planned, everything is okay.
I don’t necessarily go out of my way to complement staff on doing a good job. In my view, they should always do a good job. That’s what I’m paying them for. It is an obviously flawed view. I disagree with it, but I know that in the back of my mind, that’s how I act. Partly, it has been my upbringing where praise and complements were not common. I don’t expect it from people and neither do I give it out easily. I don’t think much about it really.
The fact that my receptionist quit because of my style has been a serious wake up call for me. Granted, receptionists are a dime a dozen. Big deal. But the fact that I have caused a person to simply quit their job has affected me far more deeply than I thought.
So, I decided to start introducing small changes to the office environment. For starters, Thursdays are going to be designated for donuts/coffee/tea/mankeesh/whatever. Let everyone take a break and eat a bit, socialize a bit..
I can’t make a 180 degree turn, so it will have to be in baby steps. I don’t want to lose my staff. I know I have made them the most efficient (and from what I’ve seen from other companies, I am sure they would rank substantially high).. now it’s time to make them happy as well.