Employee Management is You

By Christina Suter on Jul 21, 2018 at 08:00 AM in Business Issues
Employee Management is You

As a small business owner, how do you hold your employees accountable? Your style of leadership and management heavily impacts the culture and success of your company. From how you say hello to your team in the morning to how and if you say thank you when their workday or project is complete is your business' culture. 

You keeping your commitments to your team is the primary way to get your team to keep their commitments to you; they follow your role modeling. If you're the angry boss, the strict boss, the too soft boss, or the flaky boss, your team will take their cues from you and follow your leadership. Model the role you expect from your employees; if you want them to be problem-solvers, model the role of a problem-solver.

We all have an employee mindset because we've all worked as an employee before. As an employee, you liked feedback on how you did, and your employees want the same. Most employees seek independence, but it's your job to know who on your team does better with being micromanaged (they require lots of details and being checked up on) and who works better with autonomy.

David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) is my recommendation for a full-time management system and his project delegation five steps are:

1. Capture: What is the project? What's the name and specifics of the project?

2. Clarify: What is the vision of the project? Why are they doing the project and how does it fit into the overall vision of the company?

3. Organize: What's the deadline? Make the deadline a date prior to the actual date you need it completed.

4. Reflect

5. Engage

Have weekly meetings at a pre-set time and tell your employee what you expect them to have prepared for each meeting. Both of you have a to-do list of what needs to be done and when and make sure you follow-up with them. Hold your employees accountable in a positive way and be sure they know you're there to answer questions and help them when they need it. Start the meeting with what you've noticed has worked. When their project is completed, there's an opportunity to notice their success and acknowledge it, which motivates them to continue working hard. When one project is complete, delegate a new project to them.

The book Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf is an excellent book on how to serve and lead. It is based on Christian principles but can very easily be applied to business. The premise asks the question, 'How can I make their job easier?' Your job as a leader is to set the vision and the course, and in addition to that, it's to be of service to your employees so they can do their job easier. This doesn't mean you absorb everything and your job becomes more difficult, it's about setting up boundaries so both parties win. 

Another great topic David Allen covers is how to deal with hallway highjacks, which is when you're in your office or the hallway and someone stops you to ask you a question about a project they're working on. When that happens, point your employee to the scheduled meeting time so they know help is coming and your day and time aren't hijacked. This encourages their independence and lets them know you're willing to help but that you aren't willing to stop your work for every problem they have.