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Some small business owners fail to get the best performance from their employees because of their management style. For the most part, they get their business decisions right, but they don’t understand the many factors that motivate (or fail to) employees. Consider these points in dealing with your employees and you’ll maximize their contribution to your success.

Perhaps the most important is trust. If you make it clear that you will not trust your employees, they will have no motivation to earn your trust. You waste your valuable time watching over everyone’s shoulder to ensure they are executing their jobs honestly and efficiently. Let them know your expectations, then leave them the room to execute accordingly. If you really fear to trust an employee, then it’s perhaps best to let that employee go.

Part of this comes from your business vision. It is always easier for employees to do a good job when the objectives and standards of the business are clear. If your expectations are unclear, employees may translate external uncertainties (such as an economic downturn) into fear about their own futures. You prevent that through good communications, particularly about what you want, what they did right and how you evaluate their performance.

You can’t do this without providing a good model. Your own business behavior should illustrate what you expect of them. You can’t carry personal problems into the workplace. You can’t seek ways to assess blame. You must be in control of yourself in order to help them control their part of the firm.

You accomplish that in part through partnering. Treat your employees, your suppliers and others as partners in your success and your employees will work with that same attitude. It’s amazing how business thrives when your employees make your customers believe they too are partners in the business.

And celebrate success. Reward employees for what they do. No company ever suffered because it had an employee-of-the-month program. Recognition and praise motivate employees to grow rather than to become stagnant in their jobs. If the nature of the business allows it, throw an occasional Friday afternoon party. Hold staff meetings to share with and encourage your staff. Involve everyone in something beyond the day-to-day of their jobs.

And don’t do yourself tasks that you can use to expand the responsibility and skills of the people who work for you. A loner “I only trust myself” attitude will make it impossible to achieve the work environment your success demands.

About the Author(s)

 Jim  Martin

Jim Martin is a skillful writer and publicist whose background was in the semi-conductor and aerospace industries. He worked in both market development and strategic account marketing, and along the way produced materials for product role-outs, brochures, technical manuals, and press releases. Jim also served as editor of a technical magazine in the electronics field. For the past ten years, he...

Writing and Marketing, SCORE SCCS