Canadian Rental Service

At Your Service: Don’t lose the room

By Russ Dantu   

Features Business Intelligence labour

Connecting with employees is an important part of leadership.

Russ Dantu

I am a huge hockey fan. A Calgary Flames fan…I know some of you will laugh at that! I listen to sports radio quite a bit and follow the news as well. Being in three hockey pools, I need to be up to date with all the trades, projections and whatever else is happening in the hockey world.

Our coach last year, Darryl Sutter, was let go in the summer due to extremely disgruntled players. We could see it as the season progressed last year that they seemed to lose interest and then checked out. On a team where expectations were pretty high, they tuned out and didn’t even make the playoffs. When Sutter was let go, we heard all sorts of stories about the players not playing for their coach, not wanting to sacrifice because of poor leadership, not wanting to be a part of the team anymore. We’re at a junction right now where several key cogs on our team are in a contract year and won’t renew their contracts until they see what happens with the new coach and how good our team will be this year.

A similar thing has happened in Columbus with the Blue Jackets. Mike Babcock was hired in the off-season to get their team back on track. He’s got a solid, winning record as a coach. It looked like a great move…until words started to come out of the woodwork from players who had played for him before that wanted no part of playing on that team if he was coaching. Then he did a thing where he asked players to show the photos on their phones, which for the younger generation is like asking to go through their bank records. So he resigned.

Two thoughts come to mind here. First, while we cannot let employees take over our companies and demand anything or they’ll walk, we absolutely have to change how we lead to reach all ages of employees to keep them happy. You may deal with a Generation X employee one way and get great results but if you used the same technique for a Millennial, it could backfire and cause serious damage. Secondly, if you have poor leadership within your organization from supervisors to middle management, work with them so they understand how to deal with every type of personality and age group. Once a culture is damaged, it takes a lot to repair it and build that trust up again with all of your staff.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What if half my staff quit because they were unhappy with their immediate supervisor? What would that do to my business? Could we continue to produce at our current pace and everything be OK?

2. What does it cost me every time I lose a decent employee and have to train someone new?

3. Could we get a reputation as a company that doesn’t treat their employees fairly?

As managers, supervisors and owners, we spend a lot of time in our business. We’re busy. We don’t always see everything that is happening behind the scenes. Simple check-ins with all your employees to get a better “beat on the street” is always wise. It will cost you some time, for sure, but that’s a lot better than costing you good employees.

Take care of your employees…and yourselves! 

Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit

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