Establish the culture you believe in (Part 5)
Be a part of the team, especially when the going gets rough.
How often have you rolled up your sleeves and worked side-by-side with your employees? Turns out, you don’t need to be an expert (after all, in many cases, you hired them for their expertise), you don’t have to have all the answers (believe it or not, your employees might have a few!), and you don’t need to tell anyone what to do (assuming you’ve created thoughtful policies and procedures); in many cases, just being there makes all the difference. Doing this in a remote environment can be challenging but it is possible, especially with the help of highly collaborative tools such as the Google Suite, the Atlassian Confluence Suite, and others. Pick a day and ask one of your team members to be your mentor and walk you through a process. Ask for feedback on how well you are doing the job. And if they think you could do it better, THANK THEM!
Side note: taking this type of action creates an amazing foundation for discussions on innovation and problem solving down the road. If you have demonstrated your commitment to follow processes now, your team will engage you more to be a part of solving problems later if that’s the role you want to take. If you opt to let your employees solve problems on their own, they’ll have greater confidence in delivering a solution if they know you understand the basics around the problem.
As a business owner/leader, inevitably there are things you cannot share with your employees. However, whatever you do, tell the truth. And when you can’t share the truth because of legal boundaries, tell them that. (If you are curious about what things you may not legally be able to share with your employees, please let us know and we can walk you through some of the key requirements!)
Practice what you preach
The best, most sensitive policy, procedure, and protocol is rendered ineffective if employees from the top-down fail to follow them. Do what you say you want everyone else to do; no one is exempt. Along this line, set up expectations for allowing employees to respectfully let you know when you’ve made a mistake or failed to follow a process (especially if you are the process author or owner). Make it okay for folks to do this during stand up meetings. If you set the standard to ask for this feedback from employees and do this recurrently, you will have far greater creativity when it comes to solving problems later. Side note: this is an essential step towards creating a culture that promotes collaboration in innovation (i.e. new product development) and problem-solving.
Being authentic as a business owner is incredibly important. What actions have you taken to balance getting your own work done while also being part of the team? What struggles remain? Let us know if we can help you with other strategies in this area and give us a call or send us an email at email@example.com.