Hey CEO, Pass the Baton Already!

As a small business owner, there is a good chance you built your business on your own from the ground up. You have a significant personal investment in the company. However, as you start expanding your business and your clientele grows, it becomes necessary to rely on other people to get the job done and keep your business running. It's time to trust that the people you’ve hired will work diligently, efficiently, and genuinely to deliver a Grade-A job. Here are ways to build that respect and trust in your employees.

These actions will help you create an environment full of trust, innovation, and creativity for you and your employees to grow in.

1.  Let Go of the Leash

Often times, small business owners want to be a part of every detail. Sound familiar? You may view yourself as being proactive and helpful. However, this behavior conveys a lack of faith in employee decisions and causes the employee to doubt their own abilities in getting tasks done.

Instead, let your employees take more initiative, think critically, and solve problems. Avoid the urge to tell them what to do. You can remain involved in a positive way by posing questions such as “Have you thought about..?” These questions show you value their thoughts and ideas, and that you trust them to figure out how to get the job done.

2.  Avoid Listening Autobiographically

Listening autobiographically is when you have a predetermined stance, and use this stance to judge what your employee said. This shuts down open communication. To avoid doing this, “listen to learn.” Just talk less (no interrupting!) and listen more. This will set the precedent for future, healthy dialogue between yourself and your employees.

3.  Share Responsibility

This will probably be the hardest, but the most necessary action to practice. The old saying goes “If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.” However, the delegation of responsibility and tasks is essential to building trust and allowing your employees to grow professionally. Giving more responsibility to your employees gives them an opportunity to advance their skills. They will become self-motivated if their role in the company continues to grow. No one feels inspired if they feel their day-to-day tasks do not affect the company.

4.  Enable, Do Not Label

Positive feedback always enables a person because it is empowering. Negative feedback only labels a person. Once an employee has completed a task, acknowledge what was done right while pointing out where expectations can better be met next time. And be consistent. When addressing the company, you naturally speak with a positive and reinforcing message. Make sure that the same message is clear when speaking with an employee one-on-one.