It’s been a long time since I made a Directorial Talk. Ever since I wrote the last post, I had made up my mind on what I would discuss the next time. So here it is!
The word business has a certain air of dignity in it which everybody gets attracted to, but hardly does anybody know the perils of managing the baggage. It has been a couple of years since I launched my own business and trust me, I have learned a lot, some from my mistakes and some by just observing the peers in the industry.
The most iconic question that all businessmen have to face frequently is ‘Without whom can’t your business survive? Clients or employees?’. Well, what I think is that anybody asking this question plainly wants you in a fix because he/she is inexplicably smart and already knows that a business cannot exist without any of them.
But frankly, we all know why this query comes up! A business is not a bed of roses and you are bound to step into the referee’s spot more frequently than you imagine and the inquisitive people asking about this are the ones trying to learn how do you maintain a profitable balance between the clients and employees because surely there will be deadlines and quality of work to acquire and definitely there will be sick leaves and a learning curve as well. So how do you do it?
Well, this is how I do it!
1. I focus more on the “WHYs” rather than the “WHATs”
‘This is how we do it here.’
‘This is why we do it this way here.’
Get the difference between the two sentences? I think that instead of telling my employees what to do and how to do, giving the reason for why you need to follow a specific protocol is a much better approach.
I don’t limit this approach to my employees but also ask my clients to make me understand the reason so that it is a ‘why’ that I need to explain my employees rather than ‘It is what it is’ approach.
2. Eliminate Micromanaging As Much As I Can
Micromanagement has lead to many closed shutters and why wouldn’t it when it leaves no room for the people to breathe.
At some point of time, you will have to trust people if you want them to perform your tasks with confidence. And when you can’t trust your employees, how will they?
I understood this very well, very soon. Guess I’m just lucky!
Instead of checking everything what and how my employees do myself, I prefer to ask about the tasks to them directly. I discuss the assignments and put in my suggestions where they can add their view as well.
I always give a benefit of doubt to my employees which has worked well until now.
But then how do I make sure things are well on a regular basis because such discussions are not something time gives us the liberty of?
Well, my ultimate goal is client satisfaction so instead of pestering my team for time or quality management, I check it with my client. If he is happy then surely my team is on the right path.
3. I maintain an upfront attitude at both the ends
There have been many instances where the interests of my clients and employees clash. I manage between the two by being absolutely upfront about it.
If a client assigns a task with a specific deadline which falls on the dates my targeted employee has applied for a leave, I take no time in letting the client know about his absence and that the delivery might take a few more days.
This is obviously not a one-way approach.
There are times when the client genuinely can’t do without the update or a product and there is no way I can afford to delay things. In such circumstances if I have to cancel my employee’s leave, I do, but only if the task is unmanageable by others.
So there is no secret Mantra which can lead you to the right decisions, but only the fact that you weigh your options intelligently.
4. I never fail to recognise the value of a good client as well as an employee
I had a client with whom I bonded due to similarities in our business ethics approach. Unfortunately, his business was not uplifting the sales in spite of all the on-point tricks applied. There were some things he was avoiding even after our constant reminders which lead to this (Not everybody can run an online business). When he said that he no longer wants my services, I convinced him to stay with us for some time and I worked for his company free of charge.
Definitely, he was not adding zeros to my amount, but I wanted him to know that I value him as an employee. And I really did. The next time he decides to take on the online market, I want him to think of me and my services.
But did I not pay my employees when they worked on this guy’s project? Surely I paid. I value them as well and wouldn’t want them to do anything they are not getting paid for.
Besides that, I always reward my employees for their dedication every month, not just with the garland of praises but with actual awards.
In all, I never miss an opportunity to show that I value them both.
5. Decision making is something I can’t avoid- I have accepted that
I have fired my employees.
I have dissolved my association with my clients.
These are some unavoidable decisions you have to make when you are responsible for running the show. I have never pushed this fact away and it has helped me create a great family of trustworthy employees and amazing clients.
That’s all people! I hope you find something of value in this piece!