Once you become an entrepreneur, it changes everything. Your perspective on everything is different. Owning your own business can be one of the most rewarding AND stressful things in your life. Helping your employees some insight into what it takes to start, run and grow a successful business can change the way they approach their job, you and your customers.
So how do you do that? I’ll share a few ideas and hopefully you’ll gain some additional perspective!
Empower Your Employees To Make Decisions
In a small business, every role is critical. You don’t have the redundancies that larger companies have. The successes and failures of the business need to be felt on a personal level by everyone. In order for this to happen, the employees need to feel like they had a say in the outcome. Everyone should be a decision maker about something. Giving everyone some responsibility will give them a sense of ownership.
Tell Your Story
I wrote an entire article on telling your story. The story of why you opened your business and what made you take the leap is powerful. This is the kind of story that people will act like they are sick of, but secretly they want to hear it over and over. The more each employee knows about how painful each step the business took to get where it is, the more they will appreciate the history. Ingraining that history while reminding them of their importance for the future successes will help shape their perspective. Don’t let up though…employees need to be reminded again and again of how critical they are to the success of the enterprise.
Ask For Their Advice
When leaders sit down with their employees and be as honest as they can about their struggles and then asking for advice, a couple of things happen. First, it helps employees realize that there are legitimate challenges operating a business and its not all roses. Second, it makes them feel as though they are trusted enough to help find solutions and be part of the process. This forms a bond of loyalty that is extremely strong and will help the employee realize that their full efforts are required.
Hold Them Accountable
I once had a trainer teach me a principle that I have never forgotten: “You can expect what you inspect.” If you don’t hold people accountable (including yourself) then they generally only do what they have to do, rather than what they need to do. Many employers are very generous with what they let employees get away with. Allowing your employees to decide what they will and won’t do fosters a sense of entitlement and that can create a very poisonous work environment. Employees need to be held accountable for their actions and decisions. Be consistent and thorough, but do it. Period.
When employees begin to think like owners, they begin to handle themselves much differently. They think more about how their actions and decisions will impact the day to day of the business. They are much less likely to become entitled and ungrateful. The will truly appreciate where the business has come from and how they can help it reach its full potential…and theirs.