Dear Readers:

One of the most exciting parts of being a business owner is getting to build a great team with whom you can collaborate, set goals and achieve milestones. Choosing the right talent is only the first step; the next is leading them effectively. Think about it: What good is hiring a group of talented, creative visionaries if you don’t give them the tools, support and room they require to find success?

It seems like an obvious mistake when you lay it out, but the truth is many employers fall into the boss trap and go on autopilot instead of jumping into their work day as a positive and proactive leader, and the consequences can be seen in their office culture, turnover rates and bottom lines.

Since a happy, productive and respected team always benefits a brand, I am sharing 5 ways to create a culture that sets everyone on your staff up for success.

Transparency is key. This is essential and goes hand-in-hand with running an authentic and trustworthy brand. I believe that being clear about situations, opportunities, concerns, and potential setbacks is a great way to overcome challenges and also an excellent way to build trust with your team. It also helps to avoid having people fill in the blanks out of fear which can create an atmosphere of anxiety and gossip.

Host an open forum. As a business owner, it is my job to make the decisions that I feel are synergistic with my values, vision, and brand. There are times when that requires an emphatic “no” or “yes”, but more often than not, my team will hear, “I am not sold on the idea, but I am open to discussing it more.” Experience has shown me that it is important to really listen to those who have an idea that they want to discuss, not only to show them that I value their input, but also because the exchange of information (in a real conversation, not in print) is the best way to clarify points and find the best possible course of action for the business and team.

Show that you’re human. It is a dangerous lie that sharing vulnerabilities and mistakes are bad for business. In fact, most people appreciate the confidence and courage it takes to show your belly, so to speak. There is also a real opportunity for bonds to be built when we accept the reality that we are all human beings, regardless of who we are or what we do, and none of us are perfect. We all have insecurities, fears, worries, and concerns and I do my best to allow a safe space for my staff and clients to do the same without judgment. I have found that this helps to create a supportive environment where we are able to address concerns and areas of opportunity effectively. When we don’t know the causes of certain behaviors,it is easy to assign reasons. I prefer to exchange facts.

Do your part to create a kind environment. This seems obvious, but anyone who has dealt with a grouchy colleague or boss knows that a smile, a “how are you,” and a “Can I help with that?” can turn someone’s day around (and the environment as a whole) in record time.

Help your team find their own success. We work in a very busy and slightly chaotic business which often includes days so full that concerns about missed items on a task list are often the focal point of texts, emails, and phone calls. We won’t always have time to tell every person on our team when they have done a good job every day,  but do find time to let them know that you appreciate their hard work and ask what you can do to help them achieve new goals or overcome tasks that may initially seem a bit overwhelming.

By adopting these behaviors, personal brand and executive brand owners are able  to build a great reputation and brand as a leader. This sets a great example and gets talked about.