Handling multiple tasks and being aware of every single aspect of a business, at least on a basic level, are the only difficulties when it comes to being a business owner. As a business owner, you’re the boss; a leader, and in order to be able to lead, you need to be perceived by your employees as more than a superior – you need to lead by example and show them that you care.
Unfortunately, in order to appear stoic and strong, many leaders choose to be closed-off, loud-mouthed and therefore appear angry all the time. This doesn’t play well with employees – they might treat you with respect to your face, but as soon as you turn your back, they will get back to their “get off my ass” behavior. For your sake, for the sake of your business and for the sake of your employees, here are four ways that will help you show them that you care.
1. Remember the important dates
There is nothing easier than jotting down stuff like employee birthdays into your calendar and setting reminders a couple of days up front. In this way, you have enough time to get tokens of appreciation – a cake or a gift basket – gifts will set you back unnoticeably, but that will show your workers that you care and think about them.
Think of other relevant birthdays (their children’s, for example), but don’t miss out on other dates, such as the upcoming international women’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, etc. If you want to invest a bit more, think about getting a universal gift card for your workers – they can spend the money that you’ve loaded onto them wherever VISA is accepted.
2. Help them on a personal level
Of course, you are tasked with helping your employees overcome any sort of a work issue, but if you really want respect and appreciation from them (and trust us, you do), you’ll offer help on a personal level. This isn’t some sort of a get-respect-quickly sort of a scheme; it’s not a scheme to begin with – it’s one human being helping another – an event where all parties feel better personally, and are more comfortable with each other.
If you see that an employee is struggling emotionally or psychologically, talk to them – invite them for a conversation in your office, and make sure they realize that you aren’t evaluating them, but merely trying to help. Getting in touch with your subordinates on a personal level has many benefits, one of them being knowing how the machine that is your business really ticks.
3. Give them your story
Getting to know someone on a personal level isn’t a one-way street; in order to reach out to someone, you should open up yourself. Whenever you see an employee struggling with a certain matter, don’t be afraid of sharing your own personal story with them – whether the difficult situation involved might be relationship issues, divorce, or financial troubles. Sharing supports sharing.
4. Respect their sacrifices
There is nothing better than an employee who chooses to sacrifice their own free time for the benefit of the business, and everyone knows that the bosses love this. Giving them a nice bonus and a pat on the back is cool, but often far from enough. Think about it, if you were an employee for your business and ditched an awesome trip to Hawaii because of a deadline, how nice would it feel if your boss showed you that they really appreciated it, rather than just sticking a couple of extra bucks in your pocket and giving you a “good boy”?
In this scenario, you could bring a piece of Hawaii to your employee – make the next workday all about them by designating it as a Hawaiian-themed day. The given employee might not feel like they’re really in that chunk of heaven in the Pacific, but they will know that you appreciate their effort. That is the best motivator out there. Get creative; you are an entrepreneur, after all!
Most of us do care about people, but either choose to hide this or turn a blind eye. In truth, it is traditionally atypical to show emotion and personal care at work, but the tradition of acting stoically closed-off isn’t the best way to function. Repressed feelings and emotions are going to come out one way or another, so exercising calm understanding and support is definitely preferable. Keep the relevant dates in mind, don’t be afraid to reach out to your employees on a personal level and share your own story, and learn how to show respect for all their sacrifices.