Are you sitting comfortably? Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you to navigate some of the difficulties you might come up against when you’re a business owner. Today, I want to talk about how involving your team is your key to business growth.
Do you have a vision for your business, but often feel like your team aren’t getting behind it? And are there signs that your team don’t feel valued and supported by you, either?
Have you ever shared your vision with them, included them in decision-making, and encouraged them to contribute ideas?
If not, then you may need to shift your focus from scrambling for profits to how you manage your people. As a leader, your ability to help your employees develop and grow will ultimately determine how successful your business is.
You can’t wave a magic wand and have a capable, energised, and motivated team appear before your eyes, but you can follow some tried and tested steps to transform your team into one that will work with you every step of the way to achieve success.
Start with setting expectations. Your team won’t work hard forever if there is no defined goal or expected outcome. They’ll just end up burned out and unmotivated. So tell them your vision, what your priorities and objectives are, and how and when you expect them to be achieved.
Next, you’ll have a much better chance of being able to harness the skills and capabilities of your team to help grow your business if you know what they are. Look at people individually, and then overall as a team, so you can get a good picture of what people do well and where there’s room for improvement. You will then be able to direct people to where they can make the most impact.
When people do well, they want to keep on growing, and whether they are a very capable employee or there’s room for improvement, there’s a definite need for you to step into a coaching role, and offer support and guidance to help employees get to where they need to be to do their best in their role. This is a vital step for any business owner who wants business growth and success.
Equally, if not more important, is the need to create a healthy workplace culture. Have you ever worked for a boss who would come down on you like a ton of bricks if you made a mistake? Have you ever been afraid to contribute something in a meeting for fear of being ridiculed? This is not a healthy culture, and it’s certainly not one that encourages innovation, creativity or using your own initiative. Where there is no room for creativity, collaboration, or mistakes, there’s usually a very limited scope for growth.
Within a healthy culture, there are also healthy relationships, and if there’s constant conflict in your business, either between you and your employees or between different members of your team, this needs to be tackled. Conflict and lack of trust can really harm productivity and profits, and ultimately, growth. Be a leader who respects and values their team, and who makes it known that their door is always open. Get to the bottom of interpersonal conflicts in a diplomatic way, and get everyone pulling in the same direction to achieve business goals.
Of course, your team will be more likely to unite behind common goals if you inspire them. Work hard to create a sense of being a team and a feeling of being part of something that’s bigger than themselves. What could you do in your business to make people feel excited about going to work every day?
And finally, communicate. Make sure that your team isn’t kept in the dark about anything, take the time to speak with them, even if it’s only in passing, and hold regular team meetings where there is space for employees to talk about their concerns or make suggestions. The more involved employees feel, the more willing they’ll be to work hard for the good of the business.
Usually, there is a direct link between how involved employees are in making decisions and contributing to the business and their motivation, morale, and job satisfaction. If you run your business like an autocracy, and you don’t allow any employee involvement at all, you’re missing out on some big benefits, namely;
Involving employees in decision making makes them feel valued, and when people feel valued, they generally make more effort and show more commitment.
Next, employees will be able to start making decisions for themselves. Do you often complain that your team can’t make decisions without you, so you’re forever working and effectively tied to the business? Well, how are they supposed to make decisions if they aren’t involved and you haven’t shared any information with them?
When employees are involved, they’ll take ownership of whatever they’re doing and are more likely to work harder to achieve success.
Taking ownership is a positive step for your team. Do you ever make decisions that are met with eye-rolling or negativity? Have you heard people say ‘well that will never work!’ or ‘well there goes another brilliant idea!’ in a sarcastic tone, of course.
This suggests that your team don’t agree with your decision, and they can say it’s terrible and cast blame if things go wrong because you made the decision, not them.
When employees are more involved in the business, there’s likely to be less negativity and higher morale and motivation. It’s all about knowing that you’re making a difference. Even the hardest worker will get fed up after a while if they think that nothing they’re doing is making a difference. When people can see they’re making a difference, they’ll be far more motivated to do well.
And probably the biggest bonus of involving employees for you is that it will free you up to work on the things that are going to actively grow your business.
I understand that you might have jitters at the thought of involving employees more because initially delegating tasks, and supporting them to take on extra responsibilities will take up some of your precious time. It also takes a lot of trust and the ability to forgive mistakes on your part. But it’s worth it.
Making your team feel valued and involved will make them more engaged, motivated, and committed, and this is what’s going to get you the results you want. This is what’s going to enable you to have a successful business and the lifestyle you want. This is what’s going to give you a more secure future and a better work-life balance. But only if you harness the power of your team for growth.
Read how to bring fun into your workplace and develop engagement further.
Do you want to learn how to harness the power of your team so your business can grow?
I can help.
When you invest in my “Success with Employees membership”, I help you assess your business vision and strategy and identify your growth potential, and help you understand what makes employees feel valued, and identify real opportunities for harnessing their skill set, ideas, experience, and creativity to help grow the business.