Anyone who leads a successful business will know that the success of their venture lies not in the money they have invested, or the technology at their disposal or even their business idea. Their strength lies in their human resources, the countless men and women that work towards making the vision of the company a reality. As a leader, your responsibility is to keep your employees’ eyes trained on the goal before them. Their levels of motivation, their endurance and their consequent performance rely almost wholly on your ability to lead them. A failed business is almost always the symptom of a shoddy leader. Here are some ways you can develop your business’ most important asset: human resources.
First and foremost, it is important to inculcate a sense of ownership within your company’s workforce. Every single employee in your firm, from the janitor to your second-in-command should be able to call the company their own. The difference in productivity and efficiency between employees that feel that they are just lending their services to someone and employees that take the company’s vision to be a personal goal is incredible. A good way to start doing this is by changing the way you speak. Your language should be inclusive. When you address the entire company, inspire them to see that they have vested interest in seeing the firm succeed. Also, follow up on your talk of inclusiveness by introducing ways that the employees benefit from the company’s growth. Having performance-linked incentives would be a great start.
Secondly, involve your employees in the dialogue concerning the company’s present strategies and future decisions. It is obviously not feasible to allow every employee in the organization into board meetings and high-level management gatherings but those are not the only ways your employees can be given a chance to voice their opinions. Have a suggestion box in the main foyer and make it a point to go through suggestions diligently. Routinely ask employees what they think about certain decisions. Their opinions do not have to be binding on you. Not all employees have the technical know-how or perspective to give you concrete advice on how to make strategic decisions. The important thing is to listen to them nonetheless. Make them a part of the conversation and honor their participation.
Thirdly, make sure there are no ivory towers in your organization either on your part or the part of your senior management. To begin with, get rid of titles and designations in public speech. Make it a point to ensure that everyone in the company addresses each other by their first names. Also make sure the office spaces of the middle and senior management (including you) are accessible to everyone. No employee should ever feel that there is a disconnect between them and you. The moment that disconnect begins to be perceived, you have failed in keeping your company cohesive enough to ensure success, be it financial or otherwise. Always remember: your business’ success relies almost wholly on your employees. Treat them well and you have won half the battle.