So you became crazy enough to start your own business.
When you worked for others you offered suggestions and input for your employer to consider. You thought beyond the constraints of any task guidelines you were given because you simply wanted your boss, yourself, and those you worked with to do the task efficiently and the best way possible. More often than not, your input was seriously considered.
Now that you are an employer you can’t find anyone like you to hire! Most, if not all, of the folks you interact with basically want to take direction and simply get the work done. The inclination to think through the directions they were given without being constrained by those directions seems to be absent.
You wonder what you do that makes this happen. Or is it that people like you are few and far between?
First, it is important to acknowledge that most entrepreneurs live to work. By that I mean that a tremendous amount of their satisfaction comes from the work of building a business, with all the ridiculous demands this entails.
At the same time, most employees work to live. They have things besides work that bring them fulfillment. Work is a means to the end of being able to do those other things.
Both types of people need each other. One is not better than the other. However, these two groups think differently.
To help your employees become more open, more inclined to offer input for your consideration, you need to teach them some things.
Your Back Story
Why were you crazy enough to start a business? What were you thinking when you worked for your bosses? What are some pivotal moments in your work life?
By sharing information like this with your employees, you will teach them how you think and what your expectations of them are. Simply by you doing that, at least one will step up a bit and be more likely to offer input.
Be Inclusive in Your Set-up
When laying out an employee, always start by telling him/her that you are telling him what the result is, that you have an idea of how to achieve the result and that before you tell him your idea you would like to hear his idea.
Now you have him engaged in thinking instead of simply receiving directions. Yes, it takes a bit more time. The way to look at it is you are teaching them how to fish, not giving them fish.
Here is something I used to do. When doing layout work that involved reading tape measures and the need to be accurate, I would tell the person I was working with that I was prone to making mistakes (which was true) and that I needed his/her help for the work to be correct. I would ask him to listen to me as I talked about the thinking I was doing and the measurements I was making, and let me know when I was right or wrong. When he caught me making an error I thanked him profusely.
Praise What You Desire
Catch your employees doing what you want them to do. Then praise them.
It is important to do this in front of other people, such as at a company meeting, so they all hear what you want everyone to do. Be specific about what you are praising, when it happened and why you are praising the person who did it.
Look for Changes
All the above takes time. Doing what I am suggesting will likely make some of the employees who will never be part of the solution decide to work elsewhere. Good for you when that happens.
Notice the small changes that build a company culture, an approach to work that inspires the right folks and is threatening to the others.
a remodeling company does not just remodel houses. It helps its employees
remodel themselves, bit by bit, day after day. That is the best work an
employer can do!