As a small business leader, you possess certain skills that are inherent to being a successful leader. While you may do your best to find team members with similar capabilities and potential, you likely have some associates who need encouragement to develop into strong employees.
The best way to help those staff members along is to create an environment that allows them to explore the skills of entrepreneurs. According to Entrepreneur, there are three ways you can help them in this process.
- Challenge everything. In the article, columnist, entrepreneur and CEO of VocaWorks and Truli Technologies Mike Jennings says the first step is to allow your employees to ask why certain processes and procedures exist. If your team members understand that asking “why” is acceptable—and they know their managers won’t resist questions—they will begin to engage more readily with the business and suggest their own ideas and solutions.”Make sure it’s clear that ‘that’s how it’s always been done’ is acceptable as an answer, but only as the means to begin a conversation as opposed to a strategy to end it,” Jennings says.
- Network. There are many opportunities for independent retailers to network in their communities and to include staff members. A big opportunity to help your team network is to be sure to introduce new associates to regular customers. Connecting employees with your customers will improve their ability to provide solid customer service while they’re on the clock and will increase your reach outside the operation. Customers who know your employees will see them around town and will be reminded that it’s time to stop back in to your store.
- Encourage autonomy. The more opportunities you give your team members to make decisions on their own, but more invested they will be in the overall success of the business. If you have taken the time to train your staff to be experts, then you should feel confident in their abilities to tackle job-specific tasks and to have the problem-solving skills necessary to answer questions and take on additional responsibilities. Jennings says that the more autonomous your employees are, the more likely they are to actively contribute to the overall success of the operation.