Getting funding to launch your startup might seem like the biggest challenge for a new entrepreneur, but it really isn’t. A successful pitch to an investor is just the beginning of your road to business success. The real challenge is to start, build and maintain a productive and profitable business, and to do that you really have to be able to inspire your team to do great work for you.
You already know that you can’t succeed on your own. You need to be able to delegate tasks and to trust your employees to carry them out to your standards. You also need to be able to trust them to take the initiative to do what needs to be done, not just to follow orders and do the bare minimum. So how can you do that? Follow these tips, and you’ll see a serious improvement in your working environment and the people who work for you.
Lead by Example
First of all, if you’re not the first to get to work in the morning and the last to leave, then you’re doing it wrong. This doesn’t have to be the case forever, but it’s especially important in the first few months (and even years) as you build and grow your company. At some point, you’ll be able to give the reins to someone else and go live on a boat if you want to, but until your company can run itself, you have to roll your sleeves up and show that you’re willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
Give Your Employees Ownership of Their Responsibilities
When you delegate tasks, you’re obviously going to hold your employees accountable for completing them, but that’s not enough. Don’t just hold them accountable for getting the job done — give them ownership of the job at hand. Make sure that you share your expectations and the results you want, but don’t micromanage them.
Show your employees that you’re willing to share your authority and ownership of projects. Then extend that feeling by giving full credit where it’s due when projects are completed. When your employees show initiative and go the extra mile for you, make sure that you praise them and give them credit for what they’ve done. It breeds more loyalty and motivation than you might think.
You can get your employees even more motivated by being approachable and personable. Keep an open-door policy, and let your employees know that they can always come talk to you if they have ideas, recommendations or problems. To take this a step further, show active interest in your employees, their work and their lives. You don’t have to be their best friend, but showing a bit of interest in how their kids are doing and what’s going on in their lives will go a long way.
Never Lead with Fear
Finally, you never want your employees to be motivated by, “I’ll get fired if I don’t…” If they need that kind of motivation, then your business is in trouble. Instead, motivate with respect and a positive work environment. Make it easy for your employees to enjoy coming to work and doing a good job, and they’ll be loyal to you and your brand. You won’t ever get that kind of loyalty with the “floggings will continue until morale improves” approach — so don’t try it.
Be a positive leader, and be there for your people. If you do that, they’ll be there for you and your customers, and your business will start running itself before you know it.