It doesn’t take a fancy study by psychologists to know that encouraging your staff will get you further than berating them when the do something wrong. In fact, encouragement might just be your ticket to growing your company! Here are tips for being a better encourager and helping your team succeed.
1. Listen. A lot of business owners think they listen, but they don’t. If you listen, your employees will come to you more. In listening, you find what your staff needs encouragement about. It might be a project that is taking longer than projected, a tenuous coworker relationship, or even something outside of the office.
2. Be Positive. If it’s in your nature to assume the worst, try not to spread that gloomy outlook to your staff. Instead, expect the best…and be surprised when you get it every time. Rather than looking at what could go wrong on a project, look at what your staff has done well. Sometimes highlighting those points is enough to help them trudge through the really hard stuff.
3. Don’t Give Canned Encouragement. We’ve all heard those clichés like “way to go!” and “you can do it!” and felt that they were a bit insincere. Rather than relying on these meaningless phrases, find other ways to make your staff enthusiastic. You can do that by really listening, then asking followup questions later, like “so how did you manage to overcome that obstacle? I knew you would.” Customize your encouragement to the situation.
4. Don’t Gloss Over Reality. There’s no reason to be all Pollyanna to your staff if reality is harsh. If you’re in the middle of an (ahem) economic downturn, painting roses and unicorns all over your staff’s self esteem won’t change the fact that it’s going to be really hard to find new customers. Acknowledge reality but find ways to gently nudge your staff to jump over those hurdles.
5. Encourage Goal-Setting. One of the best ways to encourage your staff is to set goals with them. And I’m not talking those unrealistic goals so many sales departments set for themselves. I mean realistic goals they can actually hit: just high enough to make them push, but low enough that they won’t be let down when they don’t hit them. Stay tuned in to your employees as they work toward those goals, and help in any way you can, even if it’s only to give a pat on the back.
Small business owners need encouragement too! At CorpNet, we understand small business because we are one. Whether you’re starting a business and need to file an LLC or are looking to expand into a corporation, we can help. Set up a free business consultation to find out how we can help you grow your business today.
Photo: Leonard John Matthews on Flickr