Create a culture of value. Your company is as great as your team, and each member of your team is essential to the success of your company. Your employees need to understand that everyone’s job in the company carries prime responsibility and everyone’s performance affects the whole. A client can be lost due to a ‘perceived’ bad attitude or poor handling of the situation by the person they spoke with—whether it was the receptionist or the CEO is irrelevant if that client ended all communication with your company. Demand accountability, not perfection, from your employees. Charles Schwab said it best “the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticism from superiors.” Your staff should understand that they are expected to do their best and that most mistakes can be forgiven as long as lessons are learned and employees take responsibility for their actions. Correct without criticizing; show where there’s room for improvement without belittling, and help people rise to the occasion by incentivizing them with your genuine appreciation for a job well done. Remove obstacles. Don’t tell your staff what they are doing wrong. Ask your staff two questions. 1. What’s impeding their progress or success? 2. What do they need to succeed? Then guide them in creating solutions that will unblock their success. Don’t micromanage your employees. If you feel you need to micromanage your employees, then perhaps you should question your hiring competence. Provide your staff with the training and the necessary authority to do their jobs properly. This method doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on top of what’s going on within the company. Have a proper reporting system in place, whether it be in the form of weekly/monthly meetings or written reports or both. Don’t disregard the value of face to face meetings, as these can result in brainstorming and new ideas. Ask for input. You can’t be everywhere, and a decision that might work out great for one department can negatively affect another. Ask if anyone in the room has a better idea or solution, or if they foresee any complications from putting this one idea in effect. Ask for their input and ask them to explain the pros and cons of following their advice. It’s also a good idea to send quarterly surveys to all staff members welcoming their feedback. Don’t judge. Whenever you hear a story about two people from one person, you only hear half the story. Whether there’s an issue between employees or a client and employee, don’t take anyone at their word. Have HR, a Customer Service manager or yourself (if you head a smaller business) speak to both parties to get both sides of the story. Always be kind. Being kind means being the grown-up in the room. It means being assertive without being cruel or rude. It means having the composure and emotional intelligence not to raise your voice, put someone down, lose your temper, or deliver your message with anything other than a kind tone. Even when making tough decisions such as firing someone, you can still be kind. In being kind, you should always include being kind to yourself and don’t let takers take advantage of you.
Monica Puig, Cofounder of www.socialpurposes.com