Your team is your greatest asset — are you helping them help you?
In the initial stages of any business, there is a chance that you will see very rapid growth in the number of employees that you have. While this can be an exciting time, it can also be very stressful and frightening. Team members might come directly to you for advice and guidance because you have the overall vision about what needs to be done.
Your first instinct might be to keep them at arm’s length, but it is your job to inspire and manage the team. Here are some ways that you can help empower your employees and give them the tools necessary to become the successful individuals that you want them to be. Don’t tell them to get off your back — urge them to join you!
- Respect the individual. Each person on your team has their own set of skills and experiences. And if you are a young or first-time entrepreneur, chances are pretty good that you’re going to be guiding people who are older than you. Don’t see this as a challenge, but an opportunity to use their experience and knowledge to your advantage. Hear what they have to say and think about what you can implement in order to move the business forward. Of course, this goes for everyone on your team — not just the veterans. Remember that each person has traits that you wanted, even if they don’t excel in other areas.
- Be open to new ideas. Keep an open door policy within the company. Some of the best ideas come from unseen sources, and it’s important that you don’t miss them. Let your team know that you are always open to new ideas and that they shouldn’t be afraid to suggest things. These folks are on the front line. They know more about the inner workings of the system than you realize.
- Set the example. It is up to you to motivate your employees and show them what you expect of them. Show them how you want to maintain standards and what needs to be accomplished. If you simply bark orders, you’re not contributing to anyone’s success. If your team sees that you aren’t above the protocol, they are more likely to follow it with you. If you adopt the best practice early on, your team will be able to maintain a higher standard for customers and each other.
- Empower your team. Lastly, never forget how important it is to empower your employees. They need to be able to handle some situations without asking you for help. Customers may be waiting for a response, and if they wait for your response each time something comes up, it only slows down the process. Give them the training and knowledge that they need to succeed at what they set out to accomplish. You can do this a number of different ways, but remember that meetings and training sessions can eat up a lot of time and resources. Systems, like a digital guidance system, can be an excellent asset during growth spurts.
By following these four steps, you’ll enable your team to solve issues as they encounter them — so you can focus on more growth in the future.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Image credit: CC by carterse