I’m pretty sure every business is looking for ways to boost their performance, but often overlook engagement and communication as important elements.
I’ve just finished reading Karren Brady’s book, ‘Stong Woman: The Truth About Getting to the Top’. 2 of her concluding points hugely resonated with me, and which I think are important for any business owner or manager (not necessarily just women!).
- “as a manager, you need to engage the staff with the financial side of the business and train them to think like an entrepreneur. Give them updates of where the company is, what contribution each department is making towards that…”
- “good leadership is all about communication. The people who work for me know exactly what is expected of them: they know what I think, they know where they are going, and they know what the rewards are going to be if they get where they need to go.”
I truly believe that an organisation will perform better when the contributing partners (ie. the employees) actually know what is going on within the business, good and bad. And how their contribution really impacts on results & ultimately the ‘bottom line’,. Ie. when there is engagement and communication.
Too many businesses I know have an ‘information is power’ type attitude (yes, even in this day & age), thinking employees don’t need to know how well the business is performing. Having been in that situation myself, it now always makes me a bit nervous if the board are not willing to share honest performance data. Equally, they don’t tell their employees how they impact on the business, losing the ‘self-worth’ connection and not igniting the ‘higher-self’ rewards system, inherent in each & every human being.
Yes, financial bonuses, cars & pay increases will dangle that carrot of appeal to most people for an amount of time. But there is a state beyond that where recognition, a want to drive themselves forward and self-pride actually takes over any financial rewards. For people to know that they have contributed to a business’ reported success, a contract win or a cost-saving mantle can have a huge impact on morale, make them want to work harder for that business and create even greater success.
I know from my own experience, yes bonuses were great & I had a substantial package to go with the role I held. But after a while it faded into the background, to be honest (and I don’t mean that to sound ungrateful!). In fact, it was the negotiation, the contract win over a competitor, a fabulous launch to market or just seeing a client’s sales soar because of your efforts far outweighed any ‘sterling carrot’ that could have been dangled.
Not many people are taught how to manage a team before they are thrust into a management position. If you’re lucky (which I was) you have a great boss who recognises your leadership qualities and provides the support you need. But even if you don’t have this, pull together the skill sets of those in your team & supporting roles. You won’t have all the skills needed to do every role or solve every issue. But you can create an awesome team by engaging with them, communicating those issues you can’t solve & looking for their ideas & involvement, as well as celebrating ‘wins’, and ultimately telling them how they impact positively on the business.
Everyone likes to be told they’re doing ‘a good job’, even when you’re self-employed! Recognition is key, but only made available by engagement and communication.
So do yourself and your business a favour. Be open with your employees about business performance, cost pressures and issues that need resolution. Regularly speak to them about their contribution, and consider what else might just create that motivation and drive for your employees to support you and work towards building on your business’ success.