As the business owner, it’s up to you to define your company’s culture. It is important to create an atmosphere that encourages excellence while still promoting a sense of belonging to a team. Your employees will only move in the direction that you lead them in. Remember, the culture of your workplace starts at the top and trickles down the ladder from there.
Setting the right tone for your business can seem like a daunting task for those unfamiliar with how to go about it properly. Fortunately, there are a few simple yet powerful steps that you can take to seed your business with the right behaviours and mind-set, to ensure that it will blossom into something greater.
1) Never play favourites
You will always get along with some people better than others. It’s human nature to align better with certain personality types. That does not excuse or justify showing preferential treatment to staff. If you allow subjective factors like that to influence who you hire and promote, you undermine the integrity of your workplace by showing that competence and merit are not valued or rewarded. Violating this rule fill your business with ‘brown-nosers’ and ‘backstabbers’. Make sure that a person’s work ethic and performance is the sole dictating factor in their promotion. This ensures that focus on excellence will works it way right down to the most junior employees in your company.
2) Hold yourself to the highest standard
Your employees follow your lead. The standard you set for yourself will be the standard that your employees ultimately hold themselves to. If you ask your employees to perform a particularly dirty task, be the first to do so yourself. If you ask your employees to stay late, be prepared to do so yourself when required. Similarly if you insist that your employees keep their smartphones off of the floor, don’t repeatedly check your own phone in front of staff. Holding your team to a different standard than what you hold yourself to is a sure fire way to lose your respect and credibility as a leader.
3) Set goals, follow up & acknowledge success
Disengaged employees never start off as apathetic and unmotivated. In most cases, it is a failure of leadership that has led a person to become disengaged with their job. Preventing that process from beginning is accomplished by setting clear goals while still empowering the employee to achieve them. People will take pride in what they do if they know that their efforts are recognized by management. Set a target for your team and hold them accountable to it, but make sure that you give them ample feedback along the way.
If your employees know that you are paying attention to what they do and that you trust them to perform at their best, they will exceed your expectations. A worker without focus is an unproductive and unhappy one, but one that is micromanaged will begin to doubt their own abilities and self-worth. Find the right balance between the two, and you’ll be amazed at what your employees will accomplish.
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When we ask business owners what their most precious resource is, they usually answer with money, employees or family. What is less stated is the one resource that can never be replenished or gained back – time. Business owners that struggle with time usually share the same behaviours. They don’t delegate or prioritise tasks well. They tend not to be well-organized in their day-to-day lives. These issues are easy to fix as long as you make the small but significant changes to how you approach tasks.
If you aren’t sure how to go about using your time more effectively, consider applying some of the following tips and see how they work for you:
1 Plan Your Day
If you find that your day tends to be rather chaotic, consider investing in a planner and writing out how your day will progress. Don’t try to rigidly adhere to it (since unexpected events can cause your plans to change), but make an effort to stick to it as best as you can. For added effect, sort out your tasks by priority and urgency. This will help you directly visualise the relative importance and impact of each task.
2 Break Down Large Tasks Into Smaller Ones
Having a colossal task in front of you can be very overwhelming. For example if you have to clean your entire house in one day, it can be hard to know where to start. Instead of thinking about cleaning the entire house it helps to break it down by room. This way, you still get the work done while making it seem much more reasonable
3 Organise Your Life
This goes somewhat in hand with item #1, but this tip speaks in a more general sense. If you aren’t using a filing cabinet, get one. If your inventory is a mess, start tracking it. Make use of technology – computers can be your best friend! Organising your home and business life won’t just make things run more smoothly – it’ll positively affect your psyche. It is much easier to focus when working in a neat, clutter free environment whether that be your desk, office or home
This point can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t know how to tell somebody to do something, it’s time to learn. You cannot be in four places at once, so find three other employees and tell them to do three of those tasks. Micro-managing is both a morale and a productivity killer, and many bosses fall afoul of this in some way. If your employees can’t be trusted to perform a certain task, that is YOUR fault. Train them well so that they can, and your life will be made so much easier
5 Don’t Strive For Perfection
Instead, strive for excellence. Pushing your team to do better is a fantastic goal, and one that will enable your business to reach new heights. But straight perfectionism is impossible – we’re only human, after all. Demanding perfection from your team will only contribute to stress and a lack of trust in faith in you as a leader. Business owners who demand perfection are also frequently micromanagers; that is a toxic combination that will do a lot of damage to your team’s psyche over the long term
6 Just Say No
No, the most powerful word ever spoken. You can say this at any time and without having to give a reason for it. If you don’t want to do something or don’t want something done, just say no. You are never obliged to say yes to somebody or something. Remember your business works for you not the other way around.
If you want to achieve a better return from time spent contact us to hear more on ways in which we can help:
Are you confident that you know how your team is performing? For many people this may seem like a question that has a blindingly obvious answer. After all, many business owners pride themselves on knowing all of their team’s strengths and weaknesses. For some it may be based on relevant KPI’s. For many small business owners it can be more of a got feel based on observations around work ethic and attitude.
Define your company values.
It is essential to define how performance is being measured in your business. Whilst most people are aware of the importance of setting KPI’s , there is less awareness of the importance of alignment to your company’s values. Let’s take a look at how combining performance with alignment to company values gives you undisputable actionable insights in relation to managing team performance.
Defining your company values is a crucial first step. It sounds obvious but is often overlooked. It is especially relevant to clearly define what a high or low performance actually looks like in relation to the various roles within your business.
There are four key categories into which an employee’s performance can be placed.
- Low Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
- Low Performing & Aligned To Company Values
- High Performing Not Aligned To Company Values
- High Performing & Aligned To Company Values
If asking teams to self evaluate it is important to bear in mind that people tend to under score their own performance . This is due to a common fear of being asked to justify it.
Once you have evaluated how well your team is performing and their alignment with your company values, it is time to take action.
Low performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.
Turning performances like this around usually requires a lot of time and resources. Individuals in this category can be a negative influence within a team and can hold back progress. Hence, it is important to address this sooner rather than later.
Low performers who ARE aligned to your company’s values.
It is not all bad news in relation to low performers. Those that are well aligned to company values are a different proposition. A number of factors may cause this. The good news is that they can be easily addressed. Sometimes people in this category may have been over promoted or promoted without adequate training. Low performing well aligned staff are usually popular with both colleagues and customers. Some additional direction, feedback or training can be enough to improve their performance.
High performers who are NOT aligned to your company’s values.
People in this category often cause a dilemma. What do you do with a star performer that has maverick tendencies? Perhaps they don’t gel with the wider team? In this scenario one option is to coach somebody into alignment with your company’s values. Another option is to allow these people to work in a way that they are happy with. They might prefer to work alone separate to colleagues. It is important that as business owner you are happy with the outcome.
High performer who ARE aligned to your company’s values.
Finally, these are the people you must keep highly engaged and developing. They are the future leaders of your business. They will respond well to being reminded of their importance. Also, they will benefit from exposure to strategic planning discussions with senior management and director’s. In an increasingly competitive recruitment market these are the people who will attract interest from eager recruiters. You don’t want to lose great people like this from your team.
At ActionCOACH Ireland, we offer a range of employee engagement, business growth and leadership programmes. Leave your details in the below form if you would like to discuss how these programmes can ensure your team realises their full potential.