You’ve done it.
You put your ideas into action, launched your start-up, and even made enough money to hire an employee or two. But now you’re asking yourself: “What can I do to go even further?”
Entrepreneurship is certainly not easy, and it gets even tougher when you’re no longer just a solo operation. Now that you’ve overcome the first hurdle of actually starting your business, the next is to figure out how to be the best boss you can be and build a team that believes in your vision just as much as you do.
Sound like a tall order? It’s not if you have the right skill set.
Nobody likes getting stuck in an endless meeting that could have been an email. Oftentimes, poor time management is the result of being reactive, instead of proactive. The Harvard Business Review suggests that managers use the “Prep-Do-Review” method for every action they take. Before you do anything, ask yourself questions like “What am I going to do?” and, “Why – what’s my goal or purpose?” Then, after you complete your activity, review what you’ve done and think about how you could improve for next time. Doing this will help turn your everyday mundane activities into tools that can help move your whole team forward.
Just because you’re constantly emailing or texting your employees doesn’t mean you’re actually communicating. Good employee-manager communication involves setting clear expectations, listening to concerns and emphasizing transparency in your discussions. Accountability is also a huge factor – your employees want to know they’re being heard, so if you solicit feedback from your staff, make sure you actually use that information to improve processes. Otherwise, they will feel ignored and likely take their talents elsewhere.
Obviously, as a founder, your priority is to take your company as far as it can go, but what do your employees want? What are their goals – long-term and short-term – and how can you help align their ambitions with the greater purpose of the organization? For instance, you could help fund an academically-minded employee’s continuing education or let another with leadership potential take the reins on a new initiative. Regardless of what you do, when your staff know that you are committed to helping them grow as individuals, they will return the gesture with respect, loyalty and commitment.
Have you ever started a new job where you asked about an inefficient practice and your boss responded with, “It’s always been done this way”? While you might think this is only an issue at more established companies, it’s surprising how quickly you can get set in your ways. Whether it’s incorporating new technology that can save your employees’ time or adding a new product to the mix that capitalizes on market trends, the best leaders are able to look at what’s happening around them and make the necessary changes to help their team, and their company, work smarter.