A colleague of mine broke down the other day and asked what my trick was for managing staff. She was flustered and stressed out and in no way able to deal with a situation that had occurred at work. She felt overwhelmed and it kept her from making smart decisions when dealing with her employees. From this experience, I discovered six tips to help any boss manage their employees.
1. Expectations should always be clear. Just like a child needs boundaries and direction, so does your staff. They look to you for guidance, so make sure your expectations are realistic, consistent, and concise.
2. Praise and motivate your team often. Set goals and desire improvement using incentives and appreciation. For every negative thing you say, 99 positive and reassuring words have to follow. Rewarding your staff also shows that you care about them.
3. Effective communication when managing staff is like gold. Remember that they are human and not a business accessory. Get to know them beyond the limitations of your business and learn about the things that make them tick. Everyone has different and unique motivators, so you cannot cookie cut a communication technique. Always discipline your staff face to face in private, and avoid emails or texts because the tone and body language are lost in the process. Your message can be distorted and taken the wrong way.
4, Accept responsibility when you screw up. Showing your team that you are human and admitting it right away will earn you the respect that many business owners search for. Of course avoid telling your staff too much about what’s going on in the business that might make them feel insecure, or disloyal.
5. Manage your own stress before managing your staff. If you act appropriately, you teach your employees how to control their actions and emotions. The key is to avoid letting your anger or frustration interfere with your ability to make good decisions. Breathe, and practice other types of stress-relieving techniques and activities. Unfortunately, my colleague blows her fuse constantly with her team. This created the employees to fear for her, however not the positive kind she wanted. They began quitting one after the other and wrote bad reviews about her business. In essence, if your staff doesn’t feel you can stay in control, they won’t feel secure at work. They most likely will react to stressful situations the same way you do. You definitely wouldn’t want them to freak out in front of customers, so practice what you preach, and keep calm.
6. Follow through with every “threat.” Make the commitment to do exactly what you say you will do. If it comes down to having to discipline an employee, make sure it matches the “crime” and is the exact punishment you outlined in your expectations. It’s unwise to just make up punishments as you go; this intertwines with expectations which is always the first thing you outline when you hire an employee.
Your staff is extremely valuable, they are there to help your business succeed, and they play a pivotal role in its growth. Never treat your employees like they are disposable, or just a number. Managing staff isn’t an easy task. Create an intention to view all the people that work for you as family members and remember to treat them with complete respect.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our article on dealing with angry customers.