You have a business or oversee a sizable portion of a business, congratulations! You’ve also just had a round of annual reviews with your team and surprisingly (to you) they all come with gripes and complaints about the way things are running, about other team members, and if they’re brave enough, even about you. They did the same thing last year, and the year before.
You’re frustrated and your team is frustrated…. Guess what, it’s your fault.
Now before you get defensive (too late, you just did), let’s paint the picture of how you really want it to be. You want to come to the shop or office, virtually or physically, every day and do what you are best at – that’s why you’re in business, right? You want to have a team that also loves to do what they are best at and to feel like they contribute. You want issues to be resolved while they are happening, not once a year in an annual review! You want team members to be resolving their own issues, not coming to you. When they come to you, it’s gossip (I guarantee there is more gossip happening every day without you seeing it); If they can resolve it themselves, it’s a healthy, adult, and high-performance work environment. You want customers/clients/patrons to be overjoyed at the service they get because it makes their life better. You want everyone to see the vision you see and get on board right away. You’re making money and gaining value in your business.
Wow, what a picture! If you could have that wouldn’t you be delighted? Here is how in 6 words:
If you’re in command, take charge.
You think that’s what I’m trying to do, and you say, “My team is the problem, they just don’t get it,” “I don’t have time for that.” But the only way you’ll ever know is by being the leader they need (begging actually) you to be. I know because I was you, before I took charge.
Let’s look at what it takes to take charge!
Take time to lead
Some people call this “working on” the business. It includes taking time on your own to get clarity and find solutions inside yourself. It includes reading, studying, and listening to others who have gone before you. It means finding the systems that will get your vision out and into practice. It means sitting down with each person quarterly, not just once after they’ve stewed for 8 months. If you don’t want to do this, hire someone who does and can. You’ll be thankful.
Figure out what is best for the business
You may like ski trips, late nights, leave-early-come-late types of arrangements, and that is fine. But that may not be what is best for the business…yet. To earn that flexibility, you need the components in place first. I’ve seen many new business owners feel like the world is now their oyster and they can do what they want. Trouble is, what they want is not a successful business, it’s what they don’t want that stands out; they don’t want the accountability Being accountable to the business is vastly different, and very scary. Here’s how you do it.
- You act as though someone is your boss. I know, you left another business where you had a boss, because you hated it and wanted to be free. You’re saying, “now I have to go back to that?” The answer is YES, until you have the people, process, and traction in place to be un-bossed. You haven’t earned it yet.
- You find someone who can help you be accountable. Might be a mentor, a friend that isn’t afraid to push back, your strategic accountant, or ideally a combination of those PLUS someone in your business who can help you put the pieces together. That someone is the critical piece. I found my someone a year ago and haven’t looked back. Now I have the accountability to keep me grounded and the time to work on what I do best.
- You set clear direction on where the team is going, you monitor it with tangible results, real performance measures and real conversations.
- You communicate clear expectations and reveal weaknesses. High performers take critique and turn it into a better; the poor performers take critique and won’t accept that they own it. You’ll quickly find out which ones you have on your team Remove the poor performers immediately they are decreasing the businesses performance and keeping you away from the lifestyle you want!
You can’t wait. Your team doesn’t want you to wait. Yes, you may have to make some tough decisions, and make some mistakes. If you’re lucky they will be small ones. Some team members may have to go away, but don’t worry they have a home somewhere that is better for them.
Don’t know where to start? Start with a conversation with me. It only costs you 30 minutes to hear my story and choose your own path. I’m all about building better lives, one business at a time. That business could be yours.