I dedicate most of my articles to helping candidates land the best roles by teaching them basic interview tactics. And today I realized that as a business owner, why don’t I spend more time helping bosses’ boss better!
Owning a business is not a walk in the park. You must wear every hat and 24 hours in a day is just not enough! I am the sales leader, the coach, the therapist, the parental advisor, and marriage counselor. I absorb all their drama. I have to interview, hire, train and fire! I have to constantly take continuing education courses and deal with compliance rules, regulations and complaints. I must order supplies and I have to mop my own office floors. I have to learn all of my team members’ personalities so that I know how to reprimand them and train and motivate them more effectively. I try so hard to be a leader, not a boss. I host barbecues for them, I take them out for dinner and
drinks. I often buy them for lunch. I teach them everything I know about the business, from how to sell to how to communicate better, how to stay organized and how to prioritize. I want them to be the best that they can be. I want them to feel like family. And after all that, one day I call them out on one mistake, and in an instant it all goes out the window. – they hate me.
It is exhausting!
In my last two years as a boss, I have learned so much about running a business. And About people. But most of all I have learned more about myself. I learned that I see the best in everyone and that I possess the gift of uncovering people’s potential. But I also learned that as a boss I can’t want more for them than they want for themselves. I learned that our employees are not family. Because you can love them and treat them as such but in one instant, they have the ability to turn against you and become your worst enemies. During a marriage ceremony they say take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work like this in the workplace. As a boss, your employees
will only love you as long as you allow them to get away with anything. And the worst thing you can do is call them out on a mistake and even worse yet, hold them.
accountable. So here are a couple of pointers based on what I’ve learned so far:
- Time management is key.
- Try to organize your days so you can organize them. A disorganized boss has a disorganized team!
- 4-5-call backs and organizing for the day ahead.
- Today’s numbers go on our whiteboard.
- I am old school and like to keep several folders-
- Pending-This is the stuff I have already worked on, and I am waiting for a response from corporate or the customer.
- Operating-Everything regarding hiring, technology, Vendors
- Prospects-This is my prospect list.
- Notepad-I also keep a notepad where I list my pending stuff in priority order.
- Do not micromanage!
- Create systems and give them the necessary training but allow them to
- No one is indispensable, except for you. You are the only one indispensable in your business. And more importantly do not ever allow any of them to feel like they are irreplaceable. Treat your team with respect, cheer them on and give them positive reinforcement. But find a way to subtly let them know that disrespect and slacking off will not be tolerated and that your business will flourish with or without them.
- Do not allow any of your employees to withhold information or knowledge about the business from you or the team. I once worked with a nightmare of a woman who would learn new things and withhold it from the group because she felt so threatened by me. It was ridiculous. But management was at fault for allowing this. In my business, no one is allowed to withhold information from the team, and I must know how to do everything.
- Giving everyone written targets, have them sign and document everything.
- Hold them accountable. Once you establish rules, create processes, and give them targets, you must hold them accountable.
- Choose your employees not only based on credentials but based on character just how you would choose a life partner. Some individuals might be good at selling themselves during an interview but that doesn’t mean they will be a good fit. I ask character questions, especially one in particular “if you won a billion dollars, with a B, and you never had to work a day in your life, what would you do for the rest of your life?” The way they answer speaks volumes about their character. I’ve had interviewees get teary eyed when they tell me they would feed the homeless or open after school programs. At that point I can tell they will be good at serving the public.
- Pay attention to how your team members resolve conflict. I am a communicator and I notice that when I try to resolve situations in my business and certain individuals shut down, I take it as an insult. When I insist on holding them accountable, and they still shut down I take it as an attack. And this to me is unacceptable. Figure out your non-negotiables and your triggers and communicate it to your team.
- Lead don’t boss!
- People respect leaders not bosses.
- People respect you if they admire you.
- Become their mentor.
- Find out what they love to do and what they’re great at and have them do more of that and less of what they don’t like.
- Find out what motivates them. It’s not always money. People are motivated by different things. If your employee is family oriented, he might appreciate extra days off. If they celebrate their birthday, give birthdays off. If money is what motivates them, compensate them accordingly.
- Focus on your office culture. Make sure you do things outside of the office as a team.
- Know when the relationship is over and instead of firing them, have an exit interview.
- I tell them why it’s not working out and I tell them what they are good at and to pursue that instead. I offer to look at their resume and I offer them a referral if they need one.
Finally, and most importantly, LEAD BY EXAMPLE! Leading by example is a leadership style where you model the behavior you want to see in your team members. When younlead by example, you don’t just push team members towards excellence—rather, you actively demonstrate that excellence.
That’s all for today. Remember your success is my success!
“From Wall Street To Mount Vernon”