by Amy Lorton
As a small business owner, you want your team members healthy, happy, and full of passion for what they do. It’s the best way for them to work at their peak and for everyone to win. Unfortunately, for a large number of American workers, being satisfied at work is anything but a reality.
In a survey by the American Psychological Association, 65 percent of Americans named work as their primary source of stress. In fact, workplace anxiety has become so prevalent, this psychological condition has been nicknamed the Black Death of the 21st century.
OK, maybe the people who work in the office of official nicknames are being a bit over-dramatic, but nevertheless, stress can be dangerous. It’s been linked to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Workplace injury
- Back problems
All of the above complications lead to absenteeism, turnover and decreased productivity as well as increased medical, legal, and insurance expenses. That, in turn, stresses you out.
Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey is a best-selling author and a nationally syndicated radio host. He’s also a small-business owner who built his company from a card table in his living room to an international brand employing more than 500 team members.
So, Ramsey has definitely experienced the stress of running a business and the damage it can do to everyone involved. Through his brand, EntreLeadership, he teaches small business owners and leaders how to grow themselves, their teams and their profits—including how to keep team members far away from freak out mode. Here are a few of his top tips.
The right fit
Have you ever been in a job that just wasn’t a good fit for you, but you tried to make it work anyway? It’s miserable and nerve wracking. The same holds true for your team members. If they’re not the perfect fit for a position, they’re going to dread coming to work. The end result will be that they won’t stick around long, whether it’s their decision or yours.
Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, says it’s as simple as making sure you have the right person in the right seat on the right bus. It allows everyone to do their best work.
At Ramsey’s company, each prospective team member goes through at least four interviews. They are also required to take a personality test to make sure their style fits the job.
Your team matters
Ramsey’s friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin wrote a wonderful book called Thou Shall Prosper. In it, he says God is inordinately pleased when we are obsessively, compulsively consumed with the needs of others. That’s an easy one to understand as far as your family, friends, and customers go. But do you apply this principle to your own team members? Are you doing what’s best for them? Love your team, treat them like family, and they will act like family.
You know the old saying “No news is good news”? It’s awesome if you want to build a culture of distrust and frustration. In fact, according to a Deloitte’s Ethics and Workplace poll, 46 percent of those surveyed cited a lack of transparent communication from their leadership as the main reason for dissatisfaction at work.
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization and the grease that keeps the gears moving. Everyone feels better when they know what’s happening. Make it a habit of oversharing with your team members, whether it’s good news or bad. And don’t just make it a habit; you need to repeat it often.
Best-selling business author and fellow leadership expert Patrick Lencioni agrees. Research shows that people have to hear things seven times before they believe it, he says. When your people know what’s going on, they feel like part of the team and they trust their leaders.
People, no matter how young or old, yearn for recognition. Telling someone they are doing a good job can instantly put a smile on their face. Look for opportunities to brag on your people. Do it in front of others, especially those they care about, and it’s three times as powerful. A word of warning, though: Your compliment has to be sincere. Cheap flattery will get you nowhere. In fact, it demotivates instead of inspires.
Making your company an awesome place to work, where stress is low and motivation is high, creates an atmosphere of winning for your team and the business. Then, you can kick that “Black Death” out of your office for good.
Want to learn more about leadership from Ramsey, Collins and Lencioni along with marketing guru Seth Godin and leadership expert and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud? Then join us at the EntreLeadership Summit. This once-in-a-lifetime leadership conference at the Omni Dallas Hotel, May 22–25, features personal lessons from all five speakers listed above, plus our own Chris Hogan and Christy Wright. Seating is limited. Reserve your space today.
Amy Lorton is a writer for EntreLeadership.com.