People are often the lifeblood of your business and in many cases, they are your business. Hiring them, inspiring them and then keeping them is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a leader. Recognising this and placing a lot of focus on taking care of your people will be essential to your success.
Starting a business will test your dedication, finances and most importantly your emotions. Working tirelessly to build something which is often described as intimately as ‘my baby’ creates huge amounts of emotional attachment. Two things will happen as a result of this – 1. You will wake up every day with fire in your belly, ready to work the hardest you’ve ever worked to move just one step closer to your dream. 2. When something goes wrong it can spark fear, anger and doubt, which makes you behave irrationally. Here we find your biggest challenge as a leader of people. You can be the most positive, energetic, open minded and motivational boss your staff have ever worked with but if you loose your temper when something bad happens there can be no going back. People have a natural instinct to avoid negative situations rather than search for positive so even when the going gets tough, turn it into a positive and avoid any intrusion of a negative.
To help you get started we’ve compiled a list of personal leadership commandments to follow.
HIRE TO INSPIRE
Some employers think that if they hire exceptional people they wont have to manage them at all, this is far from the truth. Believe it or not highly motivated, passionate and creative employees are very delicate. They may show huge amounts of engagement in their work and be completely immersed in your company’s goals but if you don’t treat them right or give them the attention, praise and resources they need to be who you need them to be then they will quickly loose all motivation to work for you and move on to another opportunity, of which there will be plenty.
Find out what your people want to achieve within their role in your company and work with them to make it happen. Be careful however not to overwork your best staff. If they are doing great work, praise them for it, reward them and track their progress so you know when to give them a new challenge or when to give them time off to recharge.
ANALYSE MISTAKES TOGETHER
There’s no better way to deal with a mistake than to work with the person responsible for it. Regardless of how bad the situation, calmly analyse what happened together without criticising anyone. You’ll heavily gain from this if you proactively plan to avoid it in the future and that is a great way to build a safe, progressive and fun business. Be proud of your failures and as the old saying goes; if you learn from failure, you haven’t really failed.
WITH THEM, NOT FOR THEM
Hierarchical decision making can be detrimental to staff moral. Make decisions with your staff, not for your staff. More often than not your team will know your business better than you do. They’re on the front lines every single day talking to customers, handling sales, getting feedback first-hand, hearing their colleagues talk about their work – the list is endless. Use their opinions to help your business move in the right direction and credit them publicly – they’ll love you for it.
DID THEY GET THE MESSAGE?
A successful brand has a very clear message, which is communicated in everything they do. Companies must make sure every single member of the team is very clear of what this message is and why it exists. From the moment you hire someone you should explain in great detail why your company does what it does and get them on the same page. This will mean that everything your team does will be in tune with your goals.
If you haven’t decided what your brand message is yet, read 3 Ways To Build Confidence In Your New Business Idea
By far the most fun thing to do as a leader is to throw a big staff party to show your team how valuable they are. If you can, spare no expense on this. The bigger the celebration the better and try to make it original. More frequent than this you should celebrate any great work as soon as it happens. Be ready to offer awards, raises, promotions, bonuses and perks to staff who consistently exceed what’s expected of them.
Sometimes, however, you need to be more subtle. Faded into the background of this idea is having re-motivation tactics for when staff moral is low. As mentioned earlier, your best staff will work extremely hard because they love a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to work tirelessly all of the time. Everyone gets tired and needs time to recharge the batteries so ask each of your staff how they like to spend their down time, what they would be doing if they weren’t at work and keep it on record for when you feel their momentum is dropping. Many employers or managers make the mistake of pushing more challenging work towards an unmotivated staff member in the hope that they will see it as a chance to get back to their usual, super-charged self. Unfortunately this can increase demotivation and leave them feeling trapped in a mountain for work. Know how to re-light someone’s fire by getting to know them personally, like a good leader should.