One of the biggest challenges any business owner will face is the task of creating and maintaining a motivated, happy and productive team. Not every business owner is a great leader, and in fact, many would be the first to admit their shortcomings in that respect. Leadership is something that must be learned by most, but when faced with the demanding task of running a business, it’s not something every business owner can make the time for.
So, what can business owners do to become better people managers? We spoke to Vasco de Castro, co-founder of the rapidly expanding and now international workplace fruit provider Fruitful Office, to find out more about the lessons he has learned along the way.
- Always make time for your team
As a business owner, you might think that making time for your employees is secondary to the effective running of your business. But, in actual fact, making time for your team on a professional and personal level is what leadership is all about.
As a business owner, the tendency is to think that the business has a lot to do with you, but in reality, it has more to do with the people who work for you and how they feel about the business. Taking the time to really listen to employees and discuss any issues they might have is key. They will understand parts of the business you never work on, so the insights and innovations they can provide can be invaluable. However, you need to be careful. The worst thing you can do is to ask for employees’ input and ignore it.
- Step back and let them shine
Vasco de Castro believes it is the role of the leader to provide the vision for the business and to communicate it clearly to the employees. Once you’ve provided clear direction and expectations, you should then step back and let them shine.
To really do their best work, employees not only require plenty of support but they also need space; space to be creative, to make decisions and to take risks. Not every decision employees make will necessarily pay off, but allowing them the freedom to make mistakes is the key to developing and growing as a team.
Sadly, for many business owners, the temptation is to try and keep control of every aspect of the business, but as the business grows, that becomes impossible. Instead, stepping back, showing trust in the team’s ability and giving them the freedom to use their initiative will elicit a positive response. Here are a few other strategies you can use to help your employees shine.
- Be human and enjoy the journey
You never know what’s around the corner in life or in business, so it makes sense to enjoy the ride along the way. The only way you can get the best from your team is to make the workplace somewhere they are happy to be. Recognising the achievements of employees, trusting them and giving them the freedom to make their own decisions all play a part, but simply allowing yourself to relax and getting to know your employees as individuals is hugely important to creating a loyal and energised team.
Do you agree with Vasco de Castro or do you have some people management tips of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below.