Being a good small-business owner doesn’t just mean you have to know how to talk to your clients and prospects but also how to talk to your employees.

Frank Pologruto, president of Decks & More, believes in positive reinforcement, especially when he’s checking the work of one of his carpenters. “I come back midway through the job or toward the end and see what needs to be corrected,” he explains. “First, I tell them, ‘You did a great job,’ or ‘This looks great,’ and then I ask, ‘But can you fix these two boards here please?’ Even though I’m the boss and am paying them, it’s all about how you lead.”

Pologruto’s positive work environment is renowned in the local area so much so that he never has to advertise for employees or subcontractors — they seek him out. “Once I find out they can do the high-quality work that I’m looking for, I don’t complain if they screw up,” he says.

To Pologruto, his employees aren’t just workers: “I consider these guys artists.”

Playing Fair  Decks & More’s Frank Pologruto always gives his workers the benefit of the doubt.