Dear 25 year old me,
When running a small business, the one single most important thing is… drum roll… the people.
You’ve hired a group of amazing team members, each with different strengths, each a great fit with the company culture.
How do you keep them motivated? What are their drivers? How do you make them feel valued? How do you keep them inspired?
I’ve seen people come and go, something that is quite normal for business, but I’ve also seen the impact that this had on the rest of the team. How do you get the good ones to stay?
The most rewarding moment though is when you see team members grow and evolve into the great people that they were capable of becoming. You see, young padawan, this is the awesome journey you too embark on. If you think that’s a blast to hear, wait until you learn that you one day become a mentor yourself. It’s an indescribable accomplishment which we’ll chat about later.
Here are some tips and thoughts on what you’ll learn along the way to build, inspire and keep the team members that are today, the core of your business.
We each have something to learn from each other and it’s through our diversity that we can all grow together.
Individuality is a strength that when harnessed, can create an environment that is truly unique and special.
Let those big personalities be themselves, learn to communicate effectively with them and provide them with the tools to interact with the rest of the team positively.
Like with all things that you want to encourage to grow, they can really only thrive with encouragement, continued care and nourishment.
Nurture and support your team members both in growing their professional skillset and also encourage their personal growth through building their confidence.
While encouraging individuality, be sure to understand and listen to what their needs and drivers are. What motivates them? How do they define success?
Encourage open and honest feedback.
You’ll hear a lot if you pause and take a moment to listen to what your team members have to say.
Challenge is healthy.
By setting challenges to your team, this will keep their senses heightened and keep them engaged.
Big personality clashes.
This is bound to happen when you get multiple people together to work on something. There’s bound to be differences of opinion, tastes, experience and more.
Encourage open communication amongst your team. Don’t let them internalise their thoughts by building a culture where constructive criticism is allowed, facilitated and done in a safe environment.
Last but definitely not least, remember to always thank, praise and reward them for a job well done.
To add to this big list of considerations, it’s not a set and forget process. This is a continuous process that needs to constantly be worked at.