We can’t be bystanders

I recently had an annual doctor’s visit. Upon leaving my appointment and getting in my car, I noticed at the emergency entrance a couple hundred feet away, a somewhat large, older man that had fallen to the ground at the curb. Two nurses were with him at his side, but appeared a bit helpless. I waited a few seconds to see if someone from inside would help him. Nope. So I drove over to the emergency area and asked if they needed help. They did. I could see at least 15 people looking at us from inside the building.

I comforted the guy and the nurses went inside for a wheelchair, emerging with 3 more female nurses. The man was bleeding from a head wound, and a nurse and I managed to lift him while the chair was positioned. He was responsive and embarrassed yet thankful. I told him “no worries, we all fall down and need a lift from time to time.” He said, “amen” and was very appreciative, even cracking a smile.

This post is not about me. It is about all the bystanders that sat there and did absolutely nothing. People are afraid to get involved.

This happens in our working lives as well and is very telling of your corporate culture, directly impacting the level of member service you provide. If your culture is not inclusive and transparent, your employees become bystanders. Sure, they may wait for “the boss” to take action and then follow a lead, but that’s really not enough. When your employees are silent or being bystanders, they’re holding back, and as a manager, it is your job to understand why and change that thinking.
Here are a few tips to convert your bystanders:
  • Try to identify the source of your colleagues’ concerns about speaking up or taking action: what precisely are they afraid of? People are naturally conservative and afraid of risk, but our industry does require people taking ownership and accepting risk. Do you punish or reward risk takers?
  • Initiate one-on-one, informal conversations, which will help team members feel safer about broaching uncomfortable topics or situations. Without candor, you have nothing.
  • Create a credit union culture where colleagues feel they have a stake in the future and success of the credit union and assure that speaking up about issues, is everyone’s job.
If you want to support your team in being accountable for their actions and results, you’re going to need to identify and coach your bystanders. I believe this to be one of management’s greatest challenges, but clearly, a rewarding outcome can be achieved for all concerned.
Bryan Clagett

Bryan Clagett

Bryan Clagett is a principle driver of Geezeo’s global marketing, brand and outreach efforts. Clagett joins founders Shawn Ward and Peter Glyman in establishing Geezeo as the premier personal ... Web: www.geezeo.com Details

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