Employee morale. It's something we all want to be at levels in our small business. Healthy employee morale is gold for small businesses. When employee morale is high, employees are happy to come to work and in turn are more productive. That all leads to happier customers that remain loyal to your business and send their friends your way. All that adds up to a growing thriving business. The moral of the story is that when employees are happy with their work, everyone wins. The question now becomes, how do you actually improve and maintain a healthy employee morale?
A Google search of how to improve employee morale will yield over three million web pages. You'll find tons of tips and ideas on making employees feel happier at work because there are lots of ways to accomplish that goal. But if you don't have time to read three million blog posts, but want to take action immediately on bumping up employee morale in your small business you're in the right place.
Being short on time doesn't mean that employee morale in your small business has to suffer. Today I'm going to share with you two things you can do right now that will deliver some huge gains to your employee morale scores.
The two employee morale boosting lessons we will learn today are:
In addition to these course excerpts you'll have access to worksheets designed to help you put the lessons to work immediately (like today).
Two Things You Can Start Doing Today to Increase Employee Morale
#1-Be Their Cheerleader: Celebrate the Small Wins
Because you're deeply engaged with your team, I can ask you this question. What happens when you see an employee totally rock a project they were nervous about or they learn how to do that formula in Excel when they literally got the shakes thinking about doing anything in Excel? Or you know, whatever hard thing, scary thing, intimidating, new thing, they didn't think they could do; what do you do when they do it? These are called "wins". Wins are the the small accomplishments that lead to bigger successes. Celebrating those wins boosts the confidence of your team and gives them an added push to keep going and maybe even try other challenges.
When we acknowledge that an employee is trying at the hard things and actually doing them, it makes a huge difference. Your team knows that you're supporting them. That you're connected with their goals and development. And most importantly that you're just as excited about their positive efforts as in their perfect execution of every task. And what you get out of it a team that is motivated to try new things and take risks. Which all means, in short that you have an incredible team.
So the next time that you see an employee conquering the hard stuff, stepping out of their comfort zone or making small steps toward a big goal, let them know that you see their effort. Give them a high-five. Tell them that you knew they could do it. Tell them that they are awesome for working on a goal and reaching it. It may be a small step. It may be a small thing to you. But to your employee, its a huge thing. And you taking notice and doing the happy dance with them in the hall will only make them confident enough to tackle more challenges.
#2- Be Engaged: Yep, That Totally Means Coming Out of Your Office
What are your employees working on? What are they the absolute best at? What do they need some help with? Are they having a horrible day with a client? Are they struggling taking of an aging parent and raising small children at the same time? Do they hold the idea of all ideas that will take your earnings off the chart? I hope that you know the answer to these questions. Because being a phenomenal leader requires that you be super engaged in your business in at least two very important areas. You must be engaged in the things that pay the bills and the people who do the things that pay the bills. Those people would be your employees. If you aren't engaged with them, you're in trouble.
There is a lot of talk about employee engagement, or the lack of employee engagement really. You can find many studies that put a dollar amount on how much this costs businesses in real money, lost productivity and the impact on the success of the business. I'm not disputing any of those facts. A business cannot afford to have a staff that is disengaged. But the more important question is, are you (yes you,) engaged with your employees? Because honestly, why would an employee be engaged with a business when the owner or management is not engaged with them. See, engagement goes both ways my leader friend. And not only does it go both ways, it starts at the top, with you.
You may be wondering at this point, what exactly it means to be an engaged leader? That's a very good question and I'm going to give you an answer. I'm going to tell you how I learned about being an engaged leader. But before I do that, I need to make a quick bonus point first. See, I learned how to be an engaged leader because at one point in my career I had a boss who was an engaged leader. I learned how to do this because she taught me through her behavior and I modeled her. I'm sure you picked up on that nugget but because I don't want to leave anything to chance, here is the take away. If you want your managers to be engaged leaders, you'll have to model that behavior. They will follow your lead.
Now to answer your question, an engaged leader is connected in an intimate way with their business processes and their employees. You cannot lead in isolation. You cannot lead and ignore what's going on with your employees. You cannot lead from behind a closed door. That awesome manager I had right out college taught me enough to get an honorary master's degree. The most important thing was engaged leadership. She knew my goals. She understood what I loved about my job, what I wasn't so thrilled about. She celebrated the major achievements in my life, like when I purchased my first house. She lead me in the way that I thrived best, and in order to do that she had to, well, get to know me. Talk to me. Ask me questions. She made time to know what I was working on, what I was stuck on and helped along the way. Yep, all of this totally means coming out of your office, putting down the smartphone and looking up from your laptop.
Look, I'm not diminishing the amount of work you have to do. You absolutely have to process payroll. You definitely have to prepare that proposal. I get that. However, when you become a leader, leadership becomes your primary job function. It is so critical because your employees have the ability to make your business or destroy what you're building. Engaging with employees connects to the human stuff with your employees. It humanizes you as well. It's not possible to ignore the human elements, because making that connection will make it easier for your employees to connect with you and your business goals. People don't follow businesses, they follow people......people with hearts.
Luckily, being an engaged leader is not hard. It will require some work, but we're talking simple relationship building here. Just remember, in everything that you do in your day, make sure that you're engaging with your employees. So step out of your office and go check-in with the people who are helping your build this empire.
You're well on your way to increasing the level of employee morale in your small business. And don't forget to grab the worksheets that go along with this lesson to put what we learned into action immediately.
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