The simplest behaviors can make a manager. Sometimes those behaviors don’t even need to be regular; they are allowed to be inconsistently regular in fact.
Take the experience of buns. Once in a while, even the most senior – or junior – of managers, can do something that to them seems so ordinary, yet to their people it signifies in a small, yet profound way, an extraordinary respect that it is hugely important in how they lead their team.
The unexpectedness of something can show how much a manager cares for their people.
In was a quiet afternoon in the business when he brought the buns. They weren’t expensive, but they were unexpected. Not that he’d never done it before, he had. Yet it was almost as if today was a great ‘nothing much happening’ sort of day that he recognized the opportunity to do a little more.
Now whilst some managers might have had their people screaming down the phones for more business; or wanted to chivvy their people along on a flat day catching up with the boring stuff that so often got left, this guy was different.
Reflecting on the successes of a good couple of weeks (bun reward has to have a context; be for a reason), he took a time-out to share a few minutes to thank the team with the buns. Buns that cost a couple of pounds.
He also took time to accept the offered cup of tea and to chew the fat about well, anything. It was being what he was good at. Taking the time to listen to his people be passionate and share their lives a little bit, for a few minutes on a flat day.
A small thing? Sure. And it’s the sum of small actions that create a relationship that employees value.
Just a few buns and a few minutes.