Staff versus team

By Jenny Lukas, AVN Practice Growth Expert

Why I don’t like the word ‘staff’

In a small business it’s crucial that everyone, from the business owner to the newest recruit, works together well. That’s something I’ve learned after 23 years of working with accountancy practices – and working in a small business myself.

If they don’t, it can become a very toxic environment.

I don’t mean that everyone has to be best friends. But there has to be a mutual respect and appreciation for each other and for the value that each person contributes to the business as a whole.

Staff versus team

I still cringe every time I hear a business owner (accountant or other industries) talking about their ‘staff’. To me, this implies an us and them attitude – the owner versus the ‘staff’ or employees.

Having ‘staff’ suggests that you have a group of people working for you, not with you. That they have to do what they are told, and just get on with the job.

I’d much rather use the word ‘team’.

Having a team means that there’s a group of people working together to achieve a shared goal or objective. Where everyone brings their own strengths and skills. Where they can freely highlight issues or make suggestions to improve the business and help to push it towards their goal.

Of course, there are other words you could use apart from ‘staff’, such as employees, personnel, or workforce. But in my view, each of these suggests someone who just turns up to do their job, rather than someone committed to helping the business grow and develop.

Why teamwork works

We all know the cliched acronym of TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More. But cliches become cliches for a reason. By removing the ‘us and them’ mentality, the business owner often finds that all of the team want to work together to ensure that the business goals are met. To work as a team, in fact.

A truly successful business shouldn’t depend on you being there to run it. And to achieve that, you need to have people around you who want to the same things and will work with you to make your goals a reality. Building a great team is the first step.

Do you need to make this change in your business? Why not give it a try for a few months and monitor the difference?

And if you want to start building up your team to take on more responsibilities, read Shane’s blog on How to get your team to step up.