Monday, September 10, 2012

Giving the Farm Away?

"Treat employees like partners and they act like partners." --- Fred Allen

Running a business is a lot like playing babysitter and handyman at the same time. When we run a business, you are always responding to issues--- always reacting to things. However, when we lead a business we are directing where we are going. We are proactive in our moves and our decisions and we are particularly playing a leading role in guiding our employees toward success.

One of the surest ways to leading employees on board with the plan and mission of the business is to give them a role in decision-making. This doesn't mean giving away the farm, but it does mean trusting in the team members that we've hired.

Here are three steps that you can take to help build employee loyalty, trust, and dedication:

1.) Allow them to fail. Your employees will make mistakes. When employees are criticized for those mistakes, especially in front of others, their creativity and problem-solving skills are stifled. They no longer take chances to help the company succeed. Communicate to the team that everyone is encouraged to take some chances to reach new heights. When they do fail, use that as an opportunity to learn. Critique the incident, but not the team member.

2.) Give them the business. Consider offering your employees a piece of the action. This can be set up by your attorney and/or accountant, but it is worth looking into. You can be slowly by offering profit-sharing to your team leaders, supervisors and managers. The point is that when an employee has ownership, engagement in the job increases. It is now their company and they really want to see it succeed.

3.) Set an example. Your action as a business leader is watched more closely than you realize. Your employees are looking to see if what you say in the Monday morning meeting is what you actually believe. When they hear you speak poorly about a customer or another employee, they know that customer service and working together in harmony is not really a priority at the company. Your team members need to see your passion for the company in action. They need to know that you are leading them with action as well as words. When they see that their leadership really lives the mission statement of the business then they come alive with a desire to achieve!

You don't have to give away the farm to create a loyal workforce, but you might want to offer some land or pigs, and then let them do some farming.

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