Town-hall with the team

I do like going to my office, most of the time… There’s always going to be that day where you just don’t feel like going in, no matter how much you love your job. It may not be often, but it’ll come. And if it does happen a lot, maybe you’re in the wrong job. That may sound a bit flippant, but I strongly believe that we should always try to look for a job that we’d love, though at times, we do what we have to. Everyone’s got bills to pay… Now there were definitely times when I didn’t like coming in to work, usually when things weren’t going the best. Business has ups and downs, just like everything else we experience in life. But I love what I’m doing enough to put up with the downs.

One of the biggest issues that I seem to constantly have to deal with is office politics. It’s something that keeps cropping up over the years and no matter what I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get rid of it completely. In fact, I can’t think of any organisation which has been able to. I believe that this is largely due to the fact that any organisation involves people, and when you have more than one person in an organisation, you will have conflict.

Over the years, whenever someone brings up this issue to me, I’ve dealt with it in many different ways. I’ve provided counselling, I’ve had dialogues with relevant parties, I’ve had disciplinary sessions, people have quit, I’ve asked people to leave, and so many other things too. Recently, I’ve decided to try a “town-hall” approach. It’s a simple concept that a lot of organisations have adopted, and so far, it’s been welcomed by my staff.

Townhall meeting 2-min
Discussion on tax filing issues with our HR consultant.

It’s a simple concept; once a month, I set a time for all staff to come together, and allow them to ask or say whatever they want. I went into the first session without to many expectations, so I had prepared some talking points in case no one brought anything up; Asian culture is generally one where you’re not expected to complain, especially to the boss. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to use any of them, my team was more than willing to bring up some of their grouses. (But it wasn’t all bad, there was some sharing of good news too!)

I’ll admit, I have a pretty small team, I’m only at about 23 staff right now, but even then, having something like this can help. Sometimes, we all feel that we don’t have an opportunity to speak, even though I do have an “open-door” policy and anyone can walk in and talk to me. These town-hall sessions gives them that platform to speak and be heard by all.

At the end of the day, a session like this is all about communication. Good communication is critical for a workplace, without it, a good business can go bad. Trust me, I’ve been there too.

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