Entrepreneurship is challenging even on a good day! With the evolving complexities of keeping a small or medium business afloat, an entrepreneur’s focus and attention often goes first to operations, finances, suppliers and customer growth with little time left for employees.
Pre-2020, teams felt easier to rally, inspire and motivate. Employees were fortunate in that there was certainty in terms of their roles and responsibilities, certainty in terms of how they delivered on those roles and responsibilities and certainty in terms of their personal value and contribution to the organisation.
The biggest problem faced by employees since the onset of Covid-19 has been the loss of certainty. The certainty that held teams together and kept teams motivated has been eroding rapidly and, now, more than a year later, continues to wear away with the world being in a state of flux. As entrepreneurs, although there is less time available, more is required to keep teams on track and motivated to navigate change together.
If you are an entrepreneur faced with the challenge of re-inspiring and re-motivating your teams, these 7 tips may help you:
- EMPLOYEES ARE CRAVING CERTAINTY – put yourself in your employees’ shoes; much of the certainty that allowed them to function has been stripped away. They work in different environments, systems have changed, interaction with colleagues has changed, their personal worlds have changed. Consider ways in which you can create more structure and certainty to help your employees cope with all of the uncertainty being experienced. Engage your employees to assist in this process and help them feel included.
LISTEN TO YOUR EMPLOYEES – create opportunities to connect with your team, to understand some of the personal challenges they may be navigating. Show empathy and where possible, provide guidance, support or assistance to help them cope.
SHARE YOUR PROBLEMS – employees don’t often get to understand the many challenges you may be dealing with in the business. Where possible, give them insights into some of the challenges and rally them to co-create solutions.
LIGHTEN UP THE MOOD – find ways to bring more fun and happiness into the workplace. People are feeling disconnected and lonely. Create opportunities to (safely) socialise and relax together.
RE-CONNECT TO PURPOSE – help your employees to remember the vision and purpose of the business. Remind them of the important role they play in helping the company realise this vision.
ACKNOWLEDGE, RECOGNISE AND THANK THEM – be conscious of showing your employees that you value and appreciate their contribution. A little ‘thank you’ goes a long way.
MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE – connect your teams to people, content, events and discussions that inspire and motivate a positive mindset. They are being bombarded with negativity, help them bring more positive influences into their lives.
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As an entrepreneur, you shoulder huge responsibility to deliver on your business objectives. While you find ways to connect your employees to their personal motivation, remember to do the same for yourself. Navigating the challenges of running a business is lonely work. Navigating the uncertainties in business is stressful work. Just as you need to be there for your employees, to support and help them; find your network of people that can keep you motivated, support and help you too.
Entrepreneurs are the life-blood of our country. Your contribution to the economy, to your communities, to employment can never be recognised enough. Remember to take care of you while you are busy taking care of others, because we need entrepreneurs like you to not only stay in business, but to grow in business too.
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About the author:
Usha Maharaj CA(SA) is an Executive and Leadership Coach in South Africa who went from small town trainee accountant to Director in a Big-4 audit firm. Her 16+ year corporate career had all of the highs and lows of a high performing workplace where she shattered setbacks, crushed challenges and conquered fears to enjoy a highly successful career. She now inspires women, ambitious individuals and executives to reach their own highest levels of success while living a balanced and happy life.
Find out more at www.ushamaharaj.com.