It's common to encounter a boss like this -- someone who hires a person because of certain qualifications and expertise but then goes out of the way to try to prevent this staffer from contributing or succeeding. Indeed it's this bad boss syndrome that ultimately pushed me to become an entrepreneur.
The whole dynamic is rather mystifying, though. Don’t employee achievements and successes translate into more achievements and successes for the boss? The answer is yes. But an insecure boss doesn’t see it that way.
Here are five ways to help the members of your team help you, the entrepreneur:
1. Find sharp staffers.
Hiring someone who's smarter than you in certain areas doesn’t make you look stupid. It makes you look smart. A strong, secure manager knows his weakness areas and will be sure to hire others with strengths in those areas to provide proper balance. They can bring ideas to the table that will help the entrepreneur and drive the business forward.
2. Be accessible.
Employees may have questions. You need to be accessible and open to their questions. If they find you unapproachable and unwilling to give direction, they will end up navigating difficult situations on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll figure it out. But they will likely become resentful of your lack of support. And if they make the wrong call, think of how much of your time they’ve just wasted. This is why at my company, Goviva, all employees sit in open spaces and no one has a private office.
3. Give acknowledgement.
When I was in my 20s, I had a boss who never said so much as thank you, and I was bringing in account after account. It wasn’t too long before I quit. A simple pat on the back lets someone know you appreciate his or her hard work and most likely that individual will then work harder.
4. Foster inclusiveness.
Keep staffers informed about anything they may become involved with, even if just peripherally. Solicit their feedback and input. Provide context for projects so employees will have a better frame of reference when it’s time for them to take on part of the project. When people feel invested in the company they work for, they often work harder.
5. Delegate tasks. Empower staffers.
Letting people take ownership of projects is not only empowering. It also instills a greater sense of responsibility and accountability. Don’t hide from clients the fact that a certain employee serves as the point person on an account. You’re the boss. That act of delegating will only reinforces that fact, while granting employees a greater sense of satisfaction. And employees' satisfaction with their work creates happiness and increases overall motivation.
If you’re going to be a boss, be a boss. To grow your business, relinquish some control. And to retain good employees who will help you build the company, praise and acknowledge their work and let them carve out their own areas of ownership. By fostering healthy teamwork, you'll get the most out of your employees. And that will ultimately affect how successful your business will become.