Ok, its time for a controversial post that some of you may not agree with. But as a man led by conviction more than pragmatism, I am duty bound to share from time to time things many of my peers in the industry may fundamentally disagree with. And despite the modern inability to disagree with grace and respect, I am convinced that we can learn from one another even when we disagree. And while many of you will not agree with my underlying beliefs here, I am certain the practical outworkings can help you build an amazing culture at your cleaning company.
As a Christian, I am convinced of a couple of truths about reality. Human beings are made in the image of God and all work is equally valuable insofar as it serves others and the God who made them. This underlying belief creates a worldview lens through which I view my team. If I’m being honest, my personal tendency is to view myself as more important because I’m the owner. But when I’m prideful (or any of my management team) and begin to think less of my team members, a cancer is created in our organization.
In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul was dealing with this situation at the church of Corinth. Some people, because of their gifts, were thinking too highly of themselves and looking down on others. This was creating some major disfunction. In this letter, he goes on to instruct the church that they are in reality one body with many parts. Just as the human body has many parts (head, neck, hands, feet, and toes), so too does the church. To lose what may seem an unimportant part of the body could in fact cause major disfunction in the body. The same is true in a church and in your company.
We must view our team, from the owner all the way down to the end cleaner, as equally important. Sure, some positions require greater responsibility and thus come with greater consequences and rewards, but intrinsically, each job is equally important. If you only think of importance in terms of the impact on net margin, you will unintentionally create a mentality that “looks down” upon the cleaner. Trust me, I know from experience that this mentality can creep in even when I’m not intentionally doing so.
But if you want a thriving culture that attracts and keeps good team members, cultivates a team willing to follow leadership, and produces a workforce that works for the good of the whole, then every person must be genuinely respected and valued. Paying lip service is not enough. It must come from the heart, which will result in actions.
So maybe you don’t agree with my worldview. Fair enough. But think deeply about how you view your end cleaners and the culture you have created. Are you a servant leader or a leader of servants? Do you respect everyone or do you expect respect because of your position? A leader worth following cares so much for his team that he lays down his own desires to respect and serve his team. In a nation accused of corporate greed, selfishness, and narcissism, we desperately need a generation of servant leaders. Why not start with the cleaning industry?