Successful entrepreneurs pay as much attention to the way their company operates as they do to the way their company performs.
Day-to-day operations - the way people treat each other, how they treat customers, whether they cooperate to get things done, etc. - has a huge impact on employee performance and morale. When your company is small, it is easier to observe company operations and relationships. As your business grows, there are too many moving parts for the lone entrepreneur to keep an eye on or to manage effectively.
The most important hiring decisions you make are the leaders in your company. How do you ensure that you're bringing in the right players with aligned skills, commitment and the ability to move your business forward with little drama?
Related: Hiring a Manager
Great employees are certainly a benefit to your business. It is vitally important to bring talented and engaged employees onto your staff team. They get things done, they treat customers well and demonstrate enthusiasm for your company, products and services.
As your business grows, you will hire team leaders and managers to direct functional teams. These leaders will have a significant influence on employees and, directly or indirectly, on customers.
If those bosses treat employees with dignity and respect, workplace inspiration grows. When workplace inspiration grows, performance improves. Relationships improve between and among employees and customers. When performance and relationships improve, profits grow.
However, if those bosses treat employees with distain and disrespect, workplace inspiration is quashed. Team member commitment drops. Performance drops. Relationships are eroded. Team members quit and leave or, worse, they quit and stay.
An example might help. Neil Blumenthal, the co-CEO of eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker, recently explained his organization's biggest lesson learned.
Blumenthal described hiring a really smart, capable employee who had good customer service skills but wasn’t able to be superfriendly, a trait the company desires. They couldn’t coach this employee to deliver the customer experience that Warby Parker required. They had to let him go.
Blumenthal describes how this experience helped the leadership team “double down on culture.” The founders realized that with an employee population of over 100, they couldn’t maintain relationships with new hires like they could in the company’s early days. They installed new systems and practices to ensure the Warby Parker culture is maintained and deepened each day and with each hire of employees and of leaders.
To ensure you're hiring great bosses, interview for these three talents in your leader candidates.
1. A genuine love of people. Great bosses enjoy their team members. They are personally thrilled when a team member succeeds. They are gratified to see team members grow in their jobs and extend their contributions to the team. They are naturally kind. They praise and encourage team members easily.
2. A servant heart. Effective leadership is about serving others, not serving oneself. Great bosses embrace their role to help others succeed, grow and evolve.
Their mindset is aligned to serving equally well the business, team members and customers. They effectively manage individuals and teams by clarifying performance expectations and values standards. They don't let team issues fester, they resolve them promptly and fairly.
3. A commitment to their commitments. Great bosses hold people accountable for performance expectations and values standards. They are firm with teams and members to ensure that promises made are promises kept. Integrity is earned every day by demonstrating respectful interactions and by delivering to performance expectations (or exceeding them).
If you hire leaders purely based on their technical skills, you may find that relationships and workplace inspiration suffer when things get hectic. Hiring leaders with these talents means you may have to build their skills in your processes and industry, but you'll enjoy higher employee engagement, better customer experiences and higher performance and profits.
Related: Managing Middle Managers