I was observing a young business owner recently. He was eternally frustrated with his team because they were not as experienced as he was in his trade and even those that were more senior, constantly sought out his approval for a job that they should have known was good to go.
When he reacts to them and their questions, he is usually upset. I understand the frustration and certainly, at the pace his business is growing, I understand that he is tired. But there is a better way to get to the result that he wants (an independent and confident team). He needs to be more supportive rather than distressed when his team makes mistakes or constantly ask for him to look over their shoulder to approve the work.
His discouraging approach will definitely put his team on the defensive and make them feel that they are not good enough. He needs to step back and review how he communicates if he wants the dynamic between him and his team to change.
So, how do you change the vicious cycle, here are some scenarios that we are working on:
- When a senior member of the team asks him to visit the job site to approve the work, ask them to send an image by MMS and approve from a distance (when possible).
- Make it a point to praise good work from all members of the team.
- When a team member makes a mistake, calmly, clearly, and firmly explain to them why it is a mistake, show them the right way to do the work and tell them that you trust that they will get it right next time.
- Constantly reinforce great/good work with praise. It helps build confidence and eventually will inspire independence.
We are working on these steps as we speak and I know that in a few months, if not weeks, positive changes will happen. This young business owner will have more time to build his business instead of spending all his effort on hand-holding.
Create a supportive environment for team members that are unsure and lack confidence and you and your business will flourish.