How to Be a Great Boss. Even During the Tough Times
When you're growing a business quickly, it can be really tough to retain staff and keep morale high. Often a company's growing pains can be felt throughout the organization.
When my company, Likeable Media, was named the sixth best place to work in New York City, I realized that some of the lessons that I've learned about maintaining company culture all tie back to the concept that your employees are truly your lifeblood.
Below are a few lessons I've learned about making your employees feel valued.
1. Mistakes Happen, But Learning Does, Too
When US Airways announced that they were not firing the employee who accidentally tweeted a lewd photo to their 430,000 followers, the internet had mixed reactions. Some called for the employee's head on a platter, while others understood the choice.
For me, I think it's really important to look at the larger picture of an employee's performance when a mistake happens. Is it an isolated incident among an otherwise stellar performance? What learning happened as a result of the mistake?
Often an employee who made a mistake and was spared termination is far more loyal than he or she ever was before.
2. No Sour Grapes
Back before I was an entrepreneur, I remember when one of my co-workers accepted a position at another company. The general manager turned to her and said, "Get. Out."
Bloomberg is actually infamous for giving employees who resign the cold shoulder, even refusing to shake their hand when they leave. I completely disagree with this approach. How you treat an employee when they resign affects the employee much less than it affects the people who stay.
Whenever someone leaves our company, even when I'm pissed off, I will always be gracious, and ask them to share their experiences (both good and bad) with me.
3. Soar With Your Strengths
One of my favorite quotes comes from Robert Heinlein: "Never try to teach a pig to sing: It wastes your time and annoys the pig." When I first became a manager, I read the book Soar With Your Strengths. It talked about how difficult it is to try and teach someone how to improve their weaknesses, and instead to place them in positions where they can best use their strengths.
Do you know the strengths of each of your employees and are you prepared to create workarounds to ensure that they're placed in positions to succeed based on their strengths? If not, give it some good thought.
Do you feel that your employees are high enough on your priority list? What can you do to prioritize their progress and ensure the growth of your company?