If you are trying to make the transition from employee to employer, the chances are that you are feeling a little overwhelmed.
When you were employed by somebody else, you were a specialist. You may have led a small team, but you didn’t have to worry about company finances, funding or other boss-based responsibilities. You turned up, did your job and then went home and forgot about it. Now, you are the employer and the buck stops with you. It can be difficult to think about your past life as an employee, but the chances are you remember your good bosses. What is it that made them so good?
As an employer, you need to empathize with your employees. Don’t forget what it was like to receive that little bit of positive praise and to see your boss mucking in on the office or shop floor. Now that you have taken a foray into entrepreneurship and you have launched your own startup, you need a cohesive team to help drive your business forward. They will only work in a productive fashion if they have a super employer. Take a look at how you can be the best boss in the world.
You must show your employees respect, and in return they will show you respect. Ensure that you learn your employees names and be present in the office. Don’t be one of those bosses who keeps themselves locked in their office never to be seen. You run the risk of turning into a mythical creature and facilitating resentment. Instead, get out there and chat to your staff. Get to know them and be respectful to their working practices. Don’t simply impose targets if you know that they aren’t realistic and make sure that you work with your staff to formulate a business vision.
Giving your staff team the respect to work with you to craft a statement and an ethos means that they will buy into your future objectives more. This means they will go the extra mile because they care about the business that they are working for.
When it comes to job roles, ensure that you don’t put needless pressure on them. If you have a specialist marketing director, don’t impose reprographics duties on them. Admin can take up so much time and make your staff less productive. Ease this burden by outsourcing. Consider employing a professional business answering service to act as the friendly and polite first point of contact for your customers. This also frees up your staff team to work on more pressing issues.
There’s nothing worse as an employee than feeling like you are being kept in the dark. As a decent boss you need to be honest and transparent. Make sure that you communicate with your team on a regular basis. Every Monday, you should be having a staff briefing to allow your team to air their views and put forward their ideas. If you have any prospective plans, pass them by your team. These are the people that have their ear to the ground and will know if they will work.
Every Friday send out a progress report via email. This way, you can highlight and namecheck those individuals who have done particularly well that week. The positive praise that you show proves that you value your workforce and that you are willing to reward effort. Think about incentivizing your team through extra days off and vouchers for local eateries to get them on side. These may seem gimmicky, but they work. By forking out for your team to enjoy a better work life balance, you are giving them the respect that they deserve. They will then be more productive and will go the extra mile for you.
As a good boss, it’s up to you to facilitate an environment that is conducive to productive working. Beige floor tiles and damp walls simply won’t do. Whip out the white paint, get a new boiler installed and swap the desktop booths for more collaborative and open plan meeting pods. By fostering an atmosphere of teamwork, the buzz on your office will be positive. You want people to bounce ideas off of one another. You don’t want to be heading into work every morning to see an ocean of yawning faces and twiddling thumbs.
You also need to make sure that your hardware is up to scratch. Morale can be sapped if there is a ridiculous amount of downtime or the printer keeps getting jammed. Your workforce want to be productive so empower them to be that way. If you have a skilled team, let them flourish.
While you might be reluctant to stretch your budget, you need to invest in your staff. Set up professional development meetings with each staff member and help them to reach their career goals. This may mean forking out for a course or some training, but the skills they learn will then be applied within their place of work. Having upskilled employees will make working practices more efficient and will help your business thrive.
Think about the sorts of career goals that your staff may have and set out five year plans for each of them. While there shouldn’t be a prid, pro, quo sort of arrangement, you could send one or two staff members out for training and then encourage them to deliver the training to the rest of the team. Think about soft skills such as leadership, communication skills and teamwork. Invest in your team’s professional development and don’t worry about them potentially moving on. If you have a team high in morale with a great environment in which to work, the chances are that they will want to stay.
Being a boss isn’t easy. Think about the sort of boss you enjoyed working for when you were an employee and try to emulate this. With any luck, and by following this guide, you can be the best boss to enable your startup to go from strength to strength.