As every small-business owner knows, there are plenty of ups and downs when it comes to running your own company.
With the real estate market on the down slope and the constant ebb and flow of the stock market, you're probably faced with some stressed-out workers. How does this affect your business? Well, if you lead a team of people who are constantly worried about their money, you can expect lost productivity, divided attention and increased absenteeism. All of these things will impact your overall success.
If you want to help your team members thrive and protect your business' bottom line you may need to take a more active role as a leader. Here are some ways you can create a happier, engaged and more productive workforce:
Help the Whole Person
Work is only one part of your team members' lives. For them to be successful at work, they also need to be successful at home. Therefore, many small businesses have partnered with outside agencies to provide counseling for their team members. Life can hit pretty hard sometimes, and many people simply need someone to talk to. Whether they are experiencing marital difficulties, money problems or something else, helping them get their personal lives in order will reap tremendous business benefits for the company.
If your workers are spending their day dealing with personal issues, you need to set limits. Although an occasional personal call or urgent need should be expected, don't let this become the norm.
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Certain situations, of course, call for leniency and understanding. By setting limits, however, you are demonstrating your expectations for your team and preventing any one person from taking advantage of you. This creates an atmosphere of trust, where your team members will enjoy working for you and respect you as a leader.
Dealing with Loans
Many small-business owners face the awkward situation of having a team member ask for a loan. This is troublesome on many levels:
- It creates tension in the leader/worker relationship. Whether or not the leader grants the loan, the entire dynamic of the relationship will change once debt is involved.
- It establishes a bad pattern of expectations, in that the team member may come to see this as a viable option whenever he or she has a crisis.
- It lets the employer know of a financial crisis too late to be of any genuine help. The best assistance a business owner can give in this situation is to help the team member escape the bad habits that got him or her into trouble in the first place.
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