What You Should and Shouldn’t Share with Your Team
Small and mid-sized businesses are different than the massive corporate environments. They comprise of smaller teams and are often much closer to their owners in proximity and relationships.This closeness and accessibility can cause CEOs to wonder just what they should and should not share with their team members.
Strong companies share the financial goals as well as the progress towards those goals with their teams. I’ve been told, “I don’t want to keep my team in the dark, but I also don’t want them to think that I’m pocketing $1M a year.” Of course I’m not suggesting to just open the books and let people see all the numbers. The vast majority of employees would not understand what’s going on there. However, shame on you if you aren’t educating your teams to understand what makes you money, how they contribute to that top line revenue number (no matter how small their job is), and how there are many expenses (the subtractions).
When teams understand how their daily actions can make the company money – or lose it – they take more ownership. When they understand the true cost of that internal lunch and learn (the time you pay them, plus the time you’re not billing for, plus the food) they can appreciate what you invest in them more.
And I don’t mean you lay drama on your staff. The workplace is no place for drama. As a leader, you are strong, but you are also human. It is okay to share some of the challenges of being human. I have a 12-year-old daughter and so does one of my team members. We talk about the challenges of parenting at that age and gender. It develops rapport and shows I’m having the same problems figuring this parenting thing out.
Are you working on improving something in your personal life? Maybe it’s more exercise, drinking less, eating better, journaling, meditating, hugging your kids more often. When your team sees you acknowledge the areas you are weaker in and work on actively changing that, they can identify with you and you will inspire them to look inward and change as well.
Goals and Vision for the Company
Do you have a Strategic Plan for your company? Do you share it every week? Is it posted so everyone can see it each day? Do you tell your team why your company exists? If not, change that now.
How can your team help you when they don’t know where the company is going?
Determine your big WHY (your massive transformative purpose for why your company is in business), create a strategic plan, and talk about where you are going and your progress towards getting there every week.
When Things Aren’t Working
You can feel it when things just aren’t working right in the business. Sometimes you can even see it clearly in inefficiencies and profitability. When that happens, don’t just ruminate on it in your office and be irritable. Get out there and have the (sometimes tough) conversations about what’s not working.
Pinpoint the processes or people that are not aligning with your vision. With your team, change those processes to decrease noise. Where team members are failing, be a coach to get them to align you’re your core values. Remember, this is your business. So, if things suck there, it is YOUR fault, not anyone else’s.
If You’re Scared
I know I just said you should share your personal struggles, so let me clarify this one for you. If you are scared and you have no plan, don’t lay that on your team. If you are feeling hopeless or desperate you are not being an inspiring leader.
Does this mean that if you feel this way you lock yourself in the safety of your office until the feelings go away? Hell no. Seek out advice and counsel from your colleagues, other business owners, and coaches to find the answers. When you’ve got some ideas, then you can come to your team with the challenge, but you’ll already have some ideas to tackle it and their confidence in you will not waiver.
You Have No Money
You’re an entrepreneur. You decided to become one because you want to write your own paycheck and you want control of your destiny. Your employees want to be employees so they don’t have to worry about those things the way you do.
If you see that profitability is declining or you lose a key client, don’t bring that fear and stress to your staff in a death-knell way. Get your butt out there and sell. Hopefully you have some cash reserves so that when (not if) you hit some hard times you don’t have to let people go.
You’re Faking It
Sometimes as leaders we are faking the confidence and the calmness we show our teams, especially when there are some big challenges. You know you can weather the storm, so its ok to keep your initial feelings to yourself. Just make sure that you aren’t being a fake person or acting outside of your integrity. No one wants to follow a leader like that!
Anything That is Drama
A healthy environment cannot coexist with drama. Period. If there is drama, it is your job as a leader to squelch it or cut it out. Therefore, you can never be the source of or propagator of drama. I’m huge on no drama in my company. Drama was the core reason I lost 62% of topline revenues in a single quarter. It is toxic and can kill an organization. Your job as CEO and a leader is to keep your environments drama free so your people can do their best work and fulfill the mission of your organization.
As a business owner, we embark on such an amazing journey full of highs and lows. It’s a great blessing is working with a thriving team. Use these ideas to keep your teams cohesive and positive.