Entrepreneurs are often known for wanting a hand in every aspect of their business, and that makes sense. Due to the lack of personnel early on in a start-up’s life, people are going to have to pull double-duty, taking on responsibilities that are often outside their given job description. However, trying to do everything might not be the best thing you can do for your company.
The best thing might be to step back and let people take up some of the weight. This can be difficult. You thought of the concept and pushed it until it became reality, and now you have to release control to people who may not be as invested as you. But the fact is you can’t and shouldn’t do everything and letting others make more decisions will let you focus on long-term strategies and other important details. Once you realize that, the next question is about how to motivate them into making said decisions.
Make Sure They Understand Why They’re Doing Things
A big part of leadership is trusting your employees to do things the best way they can. If you don’t trust them, you’ll end up micromanaging them to the point of distraction. So first, pick the right people for the right job – and then, make sure that everyone is clear on why they’re doing things.
Don’t focus on how they’re going to get things done and instead focus on making sure they know what they need to accomplish and its importance in the company’s overall strategy. Once you’re sure that they know what and why something needs doing, you can be sure that their decisions will be rooted in the company’s best interests. They’ll also be confident enough to make big decisions without having to consult you at every juncture, which can save everyone a lot of time.
Tell Them to Commit
Start-ups are a collaborative effort more than anything else. People are going to take on jobs not normally in their milieu because there’s a job to be done and no one else can do it. This is a good thing. The more a person does for the company, the more they’ll feel like it’s something that they own.
The fear of stepping on your toes may keep people from taking the necessary risks when they have to make big decisions. You need to tell them that mistakes, while to be avoided, are a part of any business and to make them as if the company was their own.
Another way of making them commit is by giving them full ownership of their actions. Both failures and successes are theirs. This level of accountability will inspire them to take care of their actions while giving them the incentive to make big moves when the occasion comes up. Make sure that they know that you have their back and that you trust them.
Give Them Honest Feedback
No matter how well your team knows the plan, they’re not going to know what’s in your head. They’ll have questions, and they’ll want to know whether or not they’re doing things right. You’ll need to give them feedback regarding their progress and how they should deal with setbacks.
Make them feel safe by talking about their mistakes and figuring out exactly where things went wrong. This will assure them that you’re on their side and that criticism in your company is constructive, rather than a veiled attack.
Point out what they did right, first of all
Don’t comment on an error until you’ve figured out a way to phrase it so there’s no trace of shame or blame. You might not want to blame or shame anyone, but the wrong word at the wrong time can hurt a lot of feelings. These people were hired for a reason, and they probably won’t be able to do their job well if they feel like you’re constantly looking to tear them down. Examine what could have been done differently and why it that way may have been more successful.
Do all of this and you’ll encourage your team to make big decisions. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have a lot of things to consider and you’ll need to make sure that when a team member has to pull the trigger on a decision that they’ll have the confidence and drive to make the right move.
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Matthew Butler says
I have watched many mangers in my time and the ones that are lacking are the same ones that refuse to focus on anything but the positive.
Kimberly Wildman says
Very good tips! Managers of all styles and age can really learn to mold new employees in these ways. Being positive and projecting positivity and ambition goes a long way.