It’s April. Do you have a plan to analyze your Q1 numbers?
If you could understand those financial data points and respond to them quickly, imagine how a pivot now could affect the rest of 2023. In this economy, you’ve got to know what’s happening in your business. Let’s take a look together: 218-623-6050.
All that to say, unless you’ve been living in a cave like this woman, you know that business ownership is a tough gig right now. But it’s also pretty great. We would venture to guess that why business ownership is attractive for YOU, is you get to be your own boss. You get to build something that has impact and move it how you feel is the right way forward.
Several business owners fall into the same traps as their previous employers. Employee management is no different. Employee care is an area where awareness and response pay big dividends. Hence why it’s been such a major theme from us lately. You have to be intentional about how you lead your employees. You need to make sure you’re creating a work environment that makes them feel like what they’re giving is a central part of your business.
Today we want to specifically target employee empowerment. Making a pivot toward more employee autonomy means great things for you and the future of your business.
The TCG Accounting Team’s
“Real World” Business Strategy Note
Empowering Your Employees
“Independence is happiness.” – Susan B. Anthony
Eventually, all companies find they need to delegate some responsibilities from the owner to select employees. That time will come in your own business growth, if it hasn’t already. When it does, you need those people to be able to think for themselves in the best interests of your business.
Don’t wait until you personally are too overburdened and have to roll the dice on one of your employees. Get them ready now by encouraging initiative and independence.
Start with yourself.
This process begins with looking at yourself as a boss. It’s important to be honest with yourself here.
Do you naturally empower employees, or is micromanaging a habit you need to break? Do you resist delegating? Do you ask for updates on the same project too frequently? Maybe you fixate on details, redo work or get mad when decisions are made without you? If you want something done right, do you have to do it yourself?
You might have other work to do — on your own attitude. Look at it this way: You must trust your employees’ abilities. If you don’t, change what they do for your company or get rid of them. If you do trust them, you’re safe making them more independent.
Spotting the right people
Empowering staff is first about giving them the means to lend their talents and interests to a company. Truth Bomb: Didn’t your own talents and interests motivate you to start the company in the first place?
This lays the groundwork for giving your business employees more independence and decision-making power. Plus, it arms your business with fresh perspectives and skills.
Some bosses like to think you can learn employees’ interest through the shortcut of a survey or feedback box. Could be! But your better bet is to simply talk with your staff to find out what part of working for your company excites them most. And, of course what overlaps with what you need done — you’re running a business, not an after-school program. This also identifies who would be a good fit for a promotion or some more responsibility.
What and how to teach
Here’s an idea: Try having younger staff take on managerial tasks.
Let’s use meetings as an example. Love’em or hate’em, by Zoom or otherwise, they’re a mainstay of business. And more goes into how to have a good meeting than what meets the eye: Planning, communication, sticking to an agenda and thinking on your feet with the dynamics of attendees. An employee conducting of a meeting successfully is a useful tool for you to see who can work independently and who can take the initiative on a task with a lot of moving parts.
Sit with the employee before they conduct the meeting, and go over all those parts. See how they do. Afterward debrief on what went wrong, and what went right in the meeting. You don’t want to punish and discourage, but give feedback and educate. Mention the negatives but soft-peddle them, at least for a time, in someone’s development.
You’ll also want to keep questions open-ended during your assessment. Instead of just finding out what happened, ask them why they think it happened. What would they do differently next time? What do they think their next initiative should be, and why?
This strategy can apply to teaching other management skills, from overseeing sales calls to leading whole departments. All of these pointers also work equally well with remote employees, using your usual media. You may even have office meetups and retreat days to give everyone a chance to round up in person.
You and your senior staff should be prepared to keep your doors unusually open during this empowerment exercise. It’s going to fizzle quickly if your junior employees don’t feel they can always ask questions.
Speaking of which, sound out your senior staff on becoming in-house mentors, which means taking on the responsibility of informal but regular meetings with junior staff. This is a whole other track of training that we’d be happy to advise you on, but suffice to say it would be an inexpensive way to solidify your staff at all levels — not to mention probably improve retention.
Things to remember
A couple closing points:
- Don’t try to change everything overnight. Talk to a few people at a time — the ones you think are your best candidates for more decision-making power in your operation.
- Give development your constant attention. You don’t want to get a great idea from a promising, really-want-to-keep-’em employee and stick it into your “Someday” file — only to forget about it entirely until the day that employee resigns.
- Try being out of the office a little more. See how it goes.
When done well, one of the joys of running a business is getting to empower your people and see them grow in their skills. Our hope is that our services can also serve as a resource to empower you as a business owner. Always reach out if you need anything.
All the best,
The TCG Accounting Team
All the best,
The TCG Accounting Team