Consider the scenario where staff are gathering at reception en- route to the staff end-of-year party.
One staff member drops a large jar of preserved fruit that smashes spectacularly on the tiled floor.
Option one is you step aside with 99% of the other staff and leave it to the unfortunate individual to clean up the mess.
Option two is you immediately step in, on hands and knees, and begin cleaning up with the individual – sending the other staff off to lunch.
A boss who is willing to get their hands dirty is always going to gain greater respect than one who is too superior to do menial jobs.
Such a quick response to the mess will invariably lead to other circumstances invoking the phrase “If it’s good enough for the boss, it’s good enough for me” with staff willing to do the less pleasant parts of their job without complaint.
Getting your hands dirty is designed to head off the staff member who says, “that’s not my job”.
Such an attitude, which compartmentalises their job within tight boundaries, is damaging to the collaborative mood you want to create within the organisation.
An alternative, more abundant approach which implies we are all in this together, committed to similar goals and working together to meet the needs of customers and clients, will always build a more rewarding set of behaviours.
Ensure these occasions are symbolic rather than regular occurrences.
The senior manager who washes the dishes in the staff kitchen every day will be accused of misusing their time and will be seen as an easy mark by some staff.
By all means take your turn, but ensure everyone else takes their turn as well.
One small step in the next 24 hours
Look for an opportunity to help someone out with a job which is well below your job grade.
It could be as simple as carrying a box, stuffing some envelopes or taking a call from a customer.
It will immediately send a message to all staff that they are expected to pitch in and help each other regardless of the task or circumstance.