Many managers run their companies via the belief that the client is the most important element of their business chain while at the same time taking decisions with the intention of “squeezing the juice” out of their clients in order to maximise profits.
That might be an OK tactic for a very short time, however it is not a viable business strategy. Let’s take things from the beginning.
Your company is in business, delivering products and/or services to a specific target audience. You are acting as the manager or CEO or whatever the name of your position is, for the company. If your company is consisted of more than 5-6 people, chances are that you are not the only one delivering those products or services. You are most probably relying on the abilities, skills and knowledge of your employees who act as an important link on what is known as the product (or service) chain. Put in simple words:
If your employees feel inspired by your company, they will undoubtedly transfer this feeling to your customers (and potential customers), thus making your business thrive.
If your employees feel suppressed, unhappy or any other negative feelings towards your company, they will surely end up screwing up your company, let alone bringing in new customers.
You might have great ideas, effective strategies, innovative products and services, but your employees are the people who will allow you to put those into practice and to deliver them to your customers. If you keep your employees happy then they will keep you happy and help your business grow – it’s a simple yet proven theory.
So how could you keep your employees happy? Here are some basic rules that every business owner, manager, leader or entrepreneur should apply.
Listen to their voices!
No matter how good you are as a manager (or how good you think you are), you don’t know everything. Nobody does. Your employees can provide valuable feedback through their own experience and through their own perspectives. Let go of your ego and sit down with your employees and ask them to talk to you about their ideas, their concerns, their thoughts. By doing that, not only you might see things from different perspectives, but you are also sending out a strong message to them: that you care about what they think.
Careful what you promise – don’t be a politician!
As the chief of the company, you might have to present your new strategies, your vision and your business aims and objectives to your employees. In order to be liked you might start promising what good changes you will introduce, how you will allow them to grow as business people, how you will eventually increase salaries, etc. When you promise all these things, make sure that you can actually deliver them! If you are promising higher salaries in a few months, is this something that you can afford? If you promise to help them grow and evolve as business people, do you have a concrete plan on how you will do that? Politicians are the best example of promising the world to their followers, but as soon as they are elected, more than 80% of what they promised goes straight into the bin. You no longer need them since they already elected you, so why should you deliver your promise? I repeat, do not be a politician in business.
So again, think before you talk and only promise things that you can deliver. You do not want to be perceived as the bad politician of the company…
Show them the love!
The question here is: what do you do for the well being and development of your employees? If you cannot answer that, then go back to the drawing board and change your strategies. Here are some more detailed questions to ask yourself:
- How do I help my employees improve their business skills?
- How do I help them grow as individuals and not only as business people?
- Are salaries according to industry standards (and maybe a bit higher than that)?
- Can they talk to me fearless?
- Do I generally show them how me and my business appreciates them?
- Do I deliver what I promise?
Overall, you should aim in developing and nurturing positive relationships with your staff. They need to understand that you care about them if you want them to care about you…
Lead them don’t just manage them.
A manager will usually impose things, a leader will rarely do that, but instead he will be able to convince his employees (without forcing them) that his decisions are for the best interest of everyone. Leading your employees though requires that they have trust in you not only as a business man but as a person. All of the above-mentioned rules should allow your employees to appreciate you more as a person and ultimately to trust you as their business leader.