Whether you are a business owner, or you work for a company in a leadership position you have responsibilities to your employees. This may sound overly obvious. However, during my leadership years in corporate America, as well as my time working as a consultant, I have been astounded by the number of leaders who don’t grasp this concept.
A leader is only as good as their people. Yet many business owners either let their employees call the shots and walk all over them, ignore them or, they micromanage them right out the door. I have seen leaders in corporate America refuse to delegate for fear of someone outshining them. I have also seen them squash the creativity of their staff who could shine and make them look like the smartest leader in the company.
Here are my thoughts on what you owe your employees, yourself and your business:
Hire people smarter than yourself. Maybe they aren’t actually smarter than you, but they have skills and abilities you need to help your company be more successful. Get them in, get them trained, let them run and then enjoy them making you look good!
I said, let them run, not let them run you or run wild. The best way to keep a handle on this is not by micromanaging, but by being aware and being in touch. There are many tools to help you with this, one is management by walking around. This old technique will help you see and hear what is going on in your organization or department. Another tool, which I believe is the cornerstone of successful management, is the one-on-one. For more on this, you’ll have to read my next blog on the effective one-on-one.
Set clear expectations. Beyond making sure employees are trained to perform the tasks and duties of their job, they need to know your expectations of them. Don’t assume they know what you expect them to do or how you expect them to do it. You should want them to learn more and take on more, so you must tell them this and help them meet these goals and expectations.
Challenge your staff. Don’t just practice this with your best and brightest, do it with every single employee. Give them a special task regardless of if they have asked for it or not. Start small and see what they can do. I have found that by giving a challenge to those who don’t seem all that driven will inspire them to become more involved and offer their ideas. Don’t forget tip #3 when you start challenging employees.
In addition to the above tips, there is a multitude of responsibilities you have to your employees. Among these is paying them appropriately. Just because you have always paid minimum wage, or slightly above it, to new hires, doesn’t make it right. If you don’t want a revolving door, offer a bit more to start. Along with that, stay up with current wages across your market and provide any increases you can as time goes on. This is one practice that will help to build loyalty from your staff.
Treat your employees fairly. Make sure you, or someone within your organization, keeps abreast of employment laws regarding fair pay, accommodations for disabilities and other similar laws. Every state has a labor website that can be a valuable resource for you.
I can almost hear you asking, “But, what about the responsibilities the employees have to me and to the company?” Even though this blog was written to address what your responsibilities are as a business owner/leader, I will touch upon employee responsibilities as well.
Don’t disclose confidential information
Avoid conflicts of interest
Treat others with respect
This is not an all-encompassing list of responsibilities for you or for your employees. It is a start to get you thinking. The best way to keep yourself, and your employees accountable to these responsibilities is to put them all in writing. You need an employee handbook and you need to make sure all your employees are familiar with it. This is a living document that must be reviewed frequently and kept up to date. It shouldn’t be on a shelf gathering dust or tucked away on your shared drive never to be seen again.
In closing let me offer you some assistance with this process. At Your Remote COO we have helped many leaders learn how to engage with their employees to become even more effective leaders. We have also worked with employees to help them become re-engaged in their work and become more effective and efficient.
If you need help with any of this, including writing an employee handbook and other policies, reach out to us today. We are here to help you and your team become the very best it can be!
To your success,