Do Your Employees Know What  To Do?

In this issue…

1) Your employees will never “be like you”

2) 415 words, total reading time about 2 minutes

An important employee tells you they’re leaving because they have a “better opportunity” somewhere else. You think, “They’re getting more money,” and you wonder why they didn’t come to you before they accepted this “better opportunity”.

But they couldn’t come to you first. They’re not leaving because of money. They know they’re one of your best performers – you’d probably be willing to match the money.

No, the real reason they’re leaving is…


Maybe not you, personally. But your company, certainly. Or someone in it who has taken all the joy out of working for your company.

Over dozens of years managing employees, I lost my fair share of good people. But I eventually started to get it, and today I understand two things about most employees:

1) They want to know exactly what is expected of them

2) They want to know exactly what happens if they do – or don’t – perform as expected.

I emphasize exactly because most small business owners think they’ve done a good job of explaining what the job entails. They haven’t.

They’re running their own businesses because of certain traits that are common among business owners/entrepreneurs. They are self-motivated, happy to work without a script, willing to make a mistake or two as they figure things out. Owners will even miss a paycheck if cash flow is bad.

Their common mistake is thinking their employees have these same traits. Sorry, but if your employees had these traits, they, too would be their own bosses.

Most employees don’t want to have to “figure things out”. As counter-intuitive as this may seem, employees want to be told what to do. It also helps to tell them how to do it, when to do it, and who is going to be following up to see that they actually did do it.

The what, when, and how speak to point #1, above. The following up speaks to point #2. You’ve got to do both to get things done, and to keep employees happy.

Your best employees are the ones who most need to be told they’re doing a good job. Equally important, they are the most sensitive to you not taking any action with employees who aren’t doing a good job. Most organizations “put up” with mediocre performance. The longer this goes unaddressed, the less happy your best performers become. Until, one day, they accept a “better opportunity” elsewhere.

Coach your employees to better performance. It might be the most important job you have.

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