How do you tell where the balance is in the workplace with your staff? On one hand, you want to be a part of the office chat, invited to social gatherings and overall, be spoken of fondly by your employees. On the other hand, you’re running a business and you’re putting your trust in your staff members to perform to the standards you’ve set for them.
So which do you go for? Luckily, finding the balance between the two isn’t as hard as you might think, so check out these tips on how to find the balance with your staff members so that not only are you liked, but you’re respected too.
Adopt a relaxed atmosphere
Getting down to business is important, but if the atmosphere in your workplace is full of tension, then your staff members aren’t going to be able to perform as well as they could. Laying down ground rules for them to abide by such as wearing a uniform to work, no chatting when the phone rings, or even no mobile phones on desks will allow your staff to work out where their boundaries are. All you need to do is observe and guide your staff if needs must. For example, if there’s too much talking rather than working, you’ll need to enforce that it’s okay to chat, but work needs to be completed too.
We live in the 21st century, and have a wide range of different people with different likes and dislikes, yet still in some places ‘being different’ from the majority is still frowned upon. You should be striving to be the opposite of this. Whether you realise it or not, there’s always going to be someone who’s outcast from the rest of your team members.
Encouraging individuality and allowing those people to thrive too will help earn trust and respect. Cynthia Telles, from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine leads a cutting-edge learning environment dedicated to best practices for optimally serving the unique mental health needs of the Hispanic/Latino community, and her research could help you better understand how you can encourage diversity in the workplace.
Give to receive
One major blunder that many leaders make is expecting to have respect and trust from their staff members from the day they begin. However, trust and respect is earned, and it’s important that you show your staff you’re willing to earn those from them. Here are some great ways of earning trust/respect:
- Give your employees praise where it’s due
- Communicate with your staff members. Being a team player is key.
- Do not participate in office gossip. Word will get around and you’ll lose the trust of your staff, and perhaps lose them from your team altogether
- Listen to your staff rather than talking at them as a group. Making the effort to individually build a working relationship with each member is imperative.
Always have an open door policy
Everyone has their own problems, and while issues from home should stay there, you may find that occasionally events will happen that will affect your staff members. The loss of a loved one, for example, will distract staff from their job. Bullying in the workplace will single people out, and having an open door policy will allow your staff to come and speak to you if they’ve got an issue so that you can either help resolve the issue, or offer some advice.
Not only will this help you become a better leader of your team, but knowing when your staff are going through a tough time means that you can also do your best to help them thrive again, for the benefit of the business.
Hold regular staff meetings
As an entrepreneur, it’s likely that you’re a part of meeting after meeting, but do you get your team together for a staff meeting? They’re great for discussing achievements or downfalls within the business, praising your staff members, and also allowing your team to bring up any issues with everyone and resolve them as soon as possible. Give your team plenty of notice before a meeting so that they can put together questions or suggestions and contribute valuable information to the meeting. It will also show your employees that you trust them and value their opinion professionally.
Create a staff handbook
With new employees, it can be difficult to introduce yourself properly, especially if you’ve got a thousand and one tasks to be completing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t give new staff members a taste of what the company is about. Creating a staff handbook written by yourself will allow new (and existing) staff members to have a handy guide through everything that’s expected of them.
Of course, if possible it’s best to meet and greet members of staff when they join, but putting the effort into creating a staff handbook for them will show that you care about your staff.
Hire a second in command
You’re not always going to be able to handle all of your tasks, especially if your business is rapidly growing, and that’s why you should consider hiring a second in command. There’s many benefits to doing so including:
- Being able to go on business trips, or even annual leave and know your business is in safe hands
- Spend more time with other employees to make sure they’re comfortable with their workload and generally happy at work
- Not having to carry around all of the workload, giving you more time to introduce new/improve existing aspects of your business.
As you can see, there are many different angles that you could take to find the perfect balance at work with your team. Remember that while it’s important to lay down the rules, it’s also important to gain respect and trust with your employees. Follow these tips and you’ll soon have found the right balance with your team.