SMALL BUSINESS TIP OF THE MONTH (reprinted from Colorado SBDC newsletter)

Article by Reagan Freed, Solvere HR Consulting


Like all relationships, how you engage with your employees must be built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect with a healthy dose of give and take. How much you put into it, is what you will get out of it. Here are 5 common pitfalls that will quickly diminish your relationship with your employees:

Ask for their opinion, then do nothing with it. Soliciting input from your employees only matters if you do something with it in a timely manner. That is the differentiator between soliciting input and creating an environment where their opinion truly matters. Employees will never feel “heard” unless you tell them what you are doing with the information they gave you.

Forget what it’s like to be in their shoes. You were there once……young, enthusiastic, hungry to learn, eager to share. You had valuable insights and input to share with your leadership–ideas for new products and services, new more efficient ways of doing things—that’s how you gained credibility, respect and climbed the ladder. They have the same to offer you.

‘Pinball Machine’ leadership. There is nothing more frustrating than working for an organization that operates like a ‘pinball machine’. Be thorough and thoughtful in your decision making. Even if it slows the process down a smidge, it will ensure you optimize the valuable time of your employees, get the results you desire and gain you far more credibility in the long run.

Failure to communicate. Failing to communicate creates space for doubt and mistrust. In the absence of having all the facts, employees will try to fill in the blanks and share their theories with one another. Employees are your most valuable asset and your worst enemy in the communication chain. You choose which role they will play!

Never get comfortable. Relationships are hard work and require constant attention. If you get too comfortable and complacent, it will inevitably end in a “breakup”.