These are lessons I learned the hard way while managing a successful retail store in Toronto.
Lead by example and don’t hit snooze
If you’re hoping to develop a team that’s hardworking and motivated, it’s important to show them what’s expected by doing it yourself. Whether that may be coming in on-time, giving exceptional customer service or crushing sales’ goals — unless you’re able to demonstrate that these things are possible, it’s difficult for them to believe that they are. If you’re discouraged about the way business is going, stay strong, be positive and use it as an opportunity to get creative ideas and input from your employees. It’s extremely rewarding for them to see their ideas executed, and in-turn you’ll build trust and loyalty when they feel like they’re a part of the big picture, and not just a cog in the machine.
We’ve all got trust issues don’t take it out on your team
You’ll never have all the answers and it’s literally impossible to do it all yourself. If you’re inclined to be a micromanager, learn to take a more hands-off approach. First, do your due diligence, train your staff well, assign responsibilities suitably and with time you won’t have to put out all the fires. When you trust your team they become more aligned and invested in the vision of the company, and will be more likely to go the extra mile when you need them. No one will grow unless you give them the chance to do so. Your business will definitely suffer if you don’t learn to delegate.
You really want to but don’t fire them just yet
Some employees can be difficult, but instead of looking for their replacement, first try understanding their personality type and adjust the way you communicate with them. Studying Disc Profiles and applying this insight can make all the difference. I’ve personally used this method and saw a vast improvement in performance from a very challenging employee. Remember no one actually wants to fail, so give them the chance to succeed.
Pretty sure your employees aren’t mind readers
From my experience the tough love approach does not work in managing a small team on this scale. People need positive reinforcement, as confident or competent as they may appear. They aren’t mind readers so they won’t know what you think unless you tell them — and it’s always easier to dole out compliments but don’t avoid having the hard conversations. The longer you wait to have them, the more difficult it will be to have and for that employee to be receptive to making changes.
You’re awesome but don’t hire people who are like you
The strongest teams compliment each other. So, when hiring new staff don’t hire someone with a skill set you already have on your team, make sure you’re filling the gaps (unless you’re looking for your protege then look for a 2.0 version of yourself). If you have a fairly stable team, before looking outwards to fill gaps, first see if anyone on your team is interested in learning something new, transitioning into a different position or taking on more responsibility.