The best way to set expectations with your staff is to be honest and open with them. It’s crucial that you include your employees in the decision-making process. Communicate your vision, be clear with the goals, and welcome an honest conversation. This includes asking them if an expected goal is achievable. Ask them for their thoughts on the vision and create a comfortable space where they feel welcome to share. You do not always have to agree with them, but part of a healthy work culture is communication. To create a functional team where respect and listening are of the utmost importance.
It’s easy for you to say, “I’m the boss, do as I say”, but think about the impact of this mindset. Employees perform better when they are engaged and feel encouraged to offer their best. When employees enjoy what they do and work together, they create the best outcomes.
Make “YOU” time a priority
As a business owner, it's easy to get overworked and overwhelmed. Making yourself a priority is critical, even if it means adding “you time” in your calendar. Start by determining how much time you’ll need to complete each of your daily tasks and manage your time in blocks dedicated to your different tasks. Once you know how much time each task will take, block out “you time” in between your tasks.
In moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed, swamped with to-dos, or in back-to-back meetings all day; consider blocking off 15 minutes to meditate, breathe deeply, stretch, nap, listen to your favorite music, or even sit in silence for a couple minutes. At the end of the day, the business cannot run without you, your team needs the best version of you.
Things do not always go as planned, and you will experience hurdles along the way. As a leader, it's easy to let your emotions get to you from time to time. It's important to recognize your emotions and remain professional. As a leader, it’s important to take your team members’ emotional state into consideration, as well. Team members look to you for guidance, support, and leadership. You can help ease the tension within your team and improve performance when you recognize the needs of others as well as yourself. The harder the moments get, the harder it can be to be genuinely interested in the emotional state of others. It's important that you deal with your emotions first, get through the hiccups and come back with a positive mindset. If needed, take a moment to ground yourself before engaging emotionally with team members. People can sense when you’re being truthful and when you’re pretending. People who trust their bosses perform better.
Down doesn’t' mean “OUT”
Your team may experience failure, but it’s crucial to understand that ostracizing your employees for making a mistake or missing a deadline will discourage and demotivate them. By recognizing failures and reviewing mistakes without judgement, you create an environment where failures become lessons learned. You can begin by determining the cause of the mistake, understand the thought process that led to the error and communicate why this is a failure. Then create a new understanding with your team members where expectations are clearly defined. Allow team members to share their thoughts and, if possible, allow them to offer ways in which processes and systems can be improved or streamlined. Most importantly, instead of placing blame discuss what improvements are needed in order to avoid making the same mistake twice. Remember that humans aren’t perfect and it’s easier to push back a deadline, reschedule a meeting, or update a project then hire someone new because you lost your cool and lost a team member. If no improvements come about, then you may need to determine if you have the right people in the right role, but that decision should be made when you’re in a better state of mind.
As a business owner, it is up to you to keep the ship from sinking. Overcoming the challenges that come with leadership is part of the job! By turning negatives into positives, you may find that you and your team can achieve new heights of productivity and you can excel both personally and professionally.