You’re the very model of the modern entrepreneur with your limitless energy, mile-a-minute ideas, and endless dedication to your business above all else. But do you realize some of the habits that make you so successful could have a negative effect on your business?
It’s true. The same qualities that make you a great entrepreneur may be driving your employees up a wall—and bringing down morale. “Who, me?” you say. Could be.
Here are six things that even the best entrepreneurs are guilty of that could send your staff straight into the arms of your competition—and how to fix them.
1. You micromanage.
We know: No one knows how to run your business as well as you do. But if you want your company to grow, you have to stop standing over your employees telling them how to do stuff. If you hired your employees, you should be confident that they can do their work and do it well.
Give them the tools they need to reach the goals you’ve set, then let them figure out how to get there. Bonus: You’ll have more time for the important stuff… like strategizing future growth.
2. You change course every 10 minutes.
Entrepreneurs generate new ideas as naturally as breathing—but coming up with ideas and acting on them are two different things. If employees know you’ll tell them to drop everything for Plan A in the morning, then do a 180 to Plan X in the afternoon, they’ll stop taking you seriously (and likely get frustrated at going nowhere).
Take time to think through your ideas, select the best ones and develop a plan for implementing them before setting your employees off on a wild goose chase.
Also, when you switch up a plan of action, make sure everyone knows that you made a last minute left-turn on the game plan. Changing course from time to time is fine, but not if you don’t let everyone know that you’ve done so.
3. You email them at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning…and expect an answer.
Your business is the most important thing in your life. Reality is, though, it’s not the most important thing to your employees, no matter how dedicated they are. And that’s okay. Giving them downtime to rest and recharge will keep them dedicated; expecting them to work 24/7 will leave them burned-out husks.
If you’re running a newer small business, then the work days will be hectic for everyone. If you want everyone—including yourself—to be functioning at full capacity during the week, you need to prioritize work-life balance. That means that even though you have something pressing to tell everyone at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, wait until Monday morning.
4. You don’t listen.
Think about the last time you had a good idea and no one listened. Remember how that felt?
Next time an employee ventures to offer a suggestion, listen—really listen—to what he or she has to say. Better yet, actively seek your team’s input. The next great idea just might come from them. But if you’re always quick to shoot down ideas or take up all the talking-time during a meeting, your employees will be less likely to speak up in the future.
Also, when your employees are doing good work, show them that you recognize that and are interested in what they’re doing. We know that your plate is full, but everyone has important work to do. So when your employees have ideas, listen to them. And when your employees execute on those ideas, show them that you appreciate your contributions.
5. You’re cheap.
Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is the hallmark of an entrepreneur, and getting your business off the ground without a ton of capital requires pinching pennies. But once your business is beyond the fledgling stage and ready to really grow, it’s time to put your money where your goals are. Don’t waste, but wisely invest in whatever you need to get to the next level—whether that’s your technology, your marketing or your employees.
6. You treat everything as business.
As a small business owner, you might think you need to be all-business all the time.
But if you totally ignore your employees’ personal lives, you risk making them feel like you don’t care about them as people. Getting to know your employees is crucial to building strong relationships within the workspace. If you show that you care about your employees, they’ll feel valued and important in the workplace—and eager to work for you.
So, take your eye of productivity and making money for just one minute. Grab a coffee with the person next to you and get to know them a little better. Retaining good employees is a trait of great small business owners—and showing that you care about your employees beyond the workplace is an easy way to keep people happy.
So, after some self-reflection, do you think you’re guilty of any of these 6 bad habits? If so, now’s the time to cut those out, and replace them with habits of highly successful business owners.
Breaking bad habits is tough, and you might not have too many to worry about. But as a small business owner, there’s always room to be better!