Your employees are your lifeblood – Part II

By: Chad Koebcke

Hello again.

This is the sequel to the last blog we did, where we described the unfortunate situation where a business owner or manager may become too dependent on one department, why it’s detrimental to the company as a whole, and ways to recognize such a thing when it is happening. We’re going to be assuming that you’ve read that part of the blog, so we’re going to jump right into it.

So, we’ve discussed the pitfalls of putting too much energy into certain departments or employees over others, some signs that may point to you doing so to one degree or another, and the consequential feelings of being undervalued by the staff and being too dependent on certain team members by the boss. So, what can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? Here are some words in no particular order to remember:

  1. Value. As said before, make sure to actually recognize the importance of the work that each department does every single day. Again, imagine an entire department quitting overnight, and then ask yourself whether you should be as excited and engaged during the next Weekly Tech Meeting as you were on the one for Marketing. Going back to the two quotes from the last blog, make sure that you remember that if you piss ANY department off, they won’t make you money. If you piss the Tech Team, HR Team, or even the cleaning staff off, they’ll end up costing you money just as well as Sales or Marketing, and remember that they MAKE you money just the same. In much the same light, remember your value as a leader and the real dynamic that SHOULD be present between you and your staff. You are there to lead the people around you to success, you aren’t there to make sure that they are making you money. Remember the roles and the value that everyone has, and any co-dependencies on your staff will begin to fade.

  2. Listen. To everyone. Just actively forcing yourself to listen to all parts of the company will not only make them feel valued, but also subconsciously remind yourself that they should be valued. But don’t just have weekly meetings, give a nod or two, and then end with a strong statement to rally the members for a productive work day. Show your employees that they can have an impact by communicating with you on themselves and those around them. Having an impact means change. Show them that them speaking up can set events into motion. Not every idea is a good one, not every idea should even be acted upon, but every idea can be useful.

  3. Stimulate. In a workplace setting, as a leader, one of your jobs is to foster employee growth. They’re not just there to earn you money. Them being there is just as important to you as it is to them (assuming we’ve all agreed that all departments are equally necessary) because they are spending their lives working for you, so make sure that they’re not only happy to be there, but actively growing. And “growth” and “development” are just examples of words thrown around from blog to article that lose their luster after a while. You hear them so much you get desensitized to them and the powerful connotation they carry, especially since they mean different things for different people. “This job provides ample opportunity for personal and professional blah blah blah…” But what does that mean? What does that mean to you? And what do you want that to mean for your employees? Decide on a good answer, and then make good on your word, and you’ll see some of the most productive and motivated employees in the entire industry. Take an interest in their growth and make sure to motivate them. When they’re motivated, they’ll feel like they are doing something that really makes a difference, and then not only will their quality of work improve, but, consequentially after you see fantastic results, so will your reminder of the necessity that they have in your company.

  4. Trust. Good leaders know just the right amount faith to put into their employee’s skills so that they can catch any mistakes before they become too serious while also making sure that the employee is comfortable. Most people will claim that in the workplace, they want to free to make their own decisions, to follow their own path, and to be their own boss. Most leaders will recognize that’s just bullshit. A lot of people, if not most, when put into such a position feel lost and frightened. A lot of people are just more comfortable being told what to do, given just enough wiggle room for creativity, and then set to meet a deadline. Others are very much not like that, and prefer to only be given the goal and the means and then set absolutely free. A great manager knows just the right amount of freedom to give which employees and to put in the right amount of trust that whatever they are doing, they will do it right. Have too little faith in their abilities to deliver you a strong result, and you will begin to create fractures in the bonds of loyalty they have to you and the company, and their desire to show you everything that they are capable of. And remember, there is a great chance that there may be plenty of people just like you among your team, waiting for their time to shine. Make sure not to suffocate them.

  5. Delegate. This one is especially true for smaller companies, but can definitely be applied to large ones as well. Say you’re a prodigy at sales strategy. You’re also the best copy editor the world has ever known. But guess what? You’re not either of those things. You’re the damn boss. Your job isn’t to do, it’s to make sure it gets done. Another critical mistake often seen, which funny enough probably stems from the lack of praxis of the other points, is that owners and managers seem to think that their input is necessary for quality work to get done. And then they catch mistakes, they find ways that it get done better, but then they start overreaching. You must have confidence that your employees can deliver the same results that you can, otherwise, you’re failing as someone who is supposed to be leading and building them. All employees, in all departments, will make mistakes, and they will be just as affected by it as you are. If they aren’t, or you aren’t, then clearly the dynamic between you two isn’t working. You must care for every piece of the company, and every employee underneath you, because each employee is an extension of your company, and you should desire for all parts of it to be exemplary.

Hopefully, this has given you some tips that you can employ in one way or another in your daily company operations. The most important thing to remember is that all of these tips sound great on paper, but the real trick is to actually put them into a consistent practice. Anyone can sit back and deem that everything I’ve wrote sounds reasonable, like any business owner can sit back and recognize the value of each of his team members, but unless you put these ideals into action, not much will change. Remember that every day counts, and make sure to follow the golden rule of being a leader: You’re there for them, they aren’t there for you.