3 Ways to Encourage an Ownership Mindset in Your Employees

Your company grows by leaps when you get buy-in from team members and help them see their potential to lead from within.
3 Ways to Encourage an Ownership Mindset in Your Employees
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Nothing will grow your business exponentially like team leaders who take ownership of the mission.

Nine years ago, my company experienced a massive sales increase. My pizza restaurants became more profitable, and I began to work with less effort, time and energy. My businesses have had other surges since, and I can trace them all back to the same thing: an employee who was a good worker and stepped up into an ownership mindset.

I've learned many lessons from taking rough-around-the-edges team members and showing them the potential diamond waiting beneath the surface. It takes time and energy, but the rewards are worth the effort. Follow these three steps, and you'll see the possibility waiting in your people become reality.

1. Let them know what you see in them.

Many people get stuck because they don't -- or can't -- see their own potential. The rockstar who helped my business spike the first time was working only eight hours a week, to start. She was real manager material, but she didn’t believe she could run that location. I told her all the strengths I saw in her and how I knew she was capable. Based on her successes, I'm now telling her how I see her running many locations.

Whether we're at home, school or work, we hear more negative than positive feedback. Yet research shows that to operate a full capacity, people need 5.6 positive interactions to offset a negative one. No wonder so many people don’t realize their strengths! Don't assume those you lead see themselves the same way you do. Tell them.

Related: Stop Wasting Time on Your Company's Weaknesses

2. Explain why they're the ideal people to fill these roles.

Our natural tendency is to tell people what we need. "We're shorthanded and we need people to step up" is the wrong approach. Stop making it about you, and make it about them instead. Explain why you see them as the solution: Take what you see in them and apply it to the position you're grooming them for. Never stop showing your employees why each is the the right one for his or her job.

Related: How to Create Trust and Keep Motivation High at Your Company

3. Allow them time to build their wins.

If you hold the entry bar too high, you'll never find someone willing to make the leap. Absolutely, you want your team to shoot for excellence. But it's impossible for a new employee to do a job the same way an owner would. Given time, that worker can learn to outpace you in a role uniquely suited to her or his strengths. Expecting that performance level from the start is like expecting my six-year-old to understand the time value of money.

Begin with an attainable goal and raise the bar over time. With each new milestone, you're redefining excellence and teaching them to win. You're also teaching them the truth in the age-old principle: You don't have to be an expert to start, but you must start to become an expert. 

Related: 3 Steps to Help Employees Understand Your Objectives and Expectations

To grow your empire, call out the positive qualities you see in your staff and make sure they understand why they're the right ones for their jobs. Let go of your perfectionist tendencies. Your company's growth will explode as you invite others into the entrepreneur mindset