Author: Cassie Scott
According to Gallup polls, 50 percent of employees quit their jobs because of their managers. Let that sink in.
Likewise, a Harvard Business Review survey revealed 58 percent of people trust strangers more than their boss.
It’s time for some reflection. Do you treat your employees with respect and appreciation? If you can’t confidently say “yes,” you better start now or you’ll risk losing them.
We spoke with Tom Driffill, Hoyt’s customer-relations manager, to learn why it’s important for business owners to be good leaders and managers. We also asked how supervisors cultivate a great working environment.
“The foundation of any business, especially those in the archery industry, is about people and relationships,” Driffill said. “Great people make for great business. It all flows to the customer. If you’re good to your employees, they’ll be good to customers, which ultimately helps your business and increases sales.”
Let’s review four ways to become a better leader and manage employees effectively.
Hone Your Leadership Qualities
Driffill said one fundamental management principle rises above the rest in leadership.
“You can do all the things ‘management 101’ says, but you have to be nice,” Driffill said. “A whole host of other things need to happen to make a good manager, but that’s at the top of the pyramid. Everything else should surround that one quality.”
What are those other things? Besides being kind, good leaders are patient, consistent, respectful and knowledgeable. Good leaders also communicate clearly and effectively.
"A good manager helps their employees grow and succeed," says Tom Driffill. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Invest in Employee Education
Good managers help employees grow and succeed, Driffill said. Help them learn through continued education and training programs. Well-trained employees improve customer service, increase profits and productivity, and ensure peace of mind when you’re out of the office. Good training also improves retention because your employees feel valued and appreciated. Consider certifying your staff in CPR, first aid, or as archery instructors. Certifications add credibility to your business, and come in handy during emergencies.
Driffill also recommends training employees to take on bigger roles and responsibilities. He asks, “Are there things you can let go of?” If so, challenge your staff to learn these tasks, which shows you trust them. It can also free up your schedule so you can focus on long-term business goals. That is, you can work on your business, rather than in your business.
“If you’re learning and training, you’re winning,” Driffill said. Business owners can read books, watch videos and listen to podcasts to improve their skills and business operations. Driffill suggests these four books:
— “The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service,” by Lee Cockerell.
— “Turn Your Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders,” by David Marquet.
— “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” by Simon Sinek.
— “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals,” by Chris McChesney.
Hold weekly all-staff training meetings, all-staff daily status meetings, and schedule one-on-one meetings with employees. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard
Establish KPIs for You and Your Team
It’s essential to set clear expectations for yourself and your employees. What do you want to accomplish each week? Driffill calls such expectations “key performance indicators,” or KPIs. A KPI is something you do every week to improve your process, system, message or team collaboration. Each KPI improves your business.
“If someone identifies between four and seven KPIs as a leader, so much grows out of those tasks organically,” Driffill said.
Driffill suggests weekly all-staff training meetings. Hold a short, standup all-staff daily status meeting, and schedule one-on-one meetings with each employee. These tasks help him better understand his employees and the company so he can make smart business decisions.
Driffill said KPIs can be anything. For example, if you don’t feel driven to improve yourself, set a KPI for ongoing education and designate 30 minutes weekly to start reading the four books above. Make your KPIs tangible so you can hold yourself accountable.
Driffill also advises leaders to “keep things fun and light-hearted.” That’s a fine line to walk because you have a business to run, but it’s important.
For more information on being a good manager, read these articles: “Follow These 7 Tips to be a Good Manager,” on smallbiztrends.com; and “Characteristics of a Good Leader: Tips for New Managers,” on businessnewsdaily.com.