Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

Employees and Patience

“The five steps in teaching an employee new skills are preparation, explanation, showing, observation and supervision.” Bruce Barton

Two characteristics often found in entrepreneurs is, the need for perfectionism and control. When teams are small, this works to their advantage, however, when business expands, these characteristics tend to be more disruptive by nature. For example, when the business starts to grow, it is inevitable that more resources will need to be hired to keep up with growth. The selection process itself is a difficult process for start-ups with limited experience. The real fun begins when you have these new resources on board and most of the time, they don’t know what they signed up for. Earlier on, I expected the same work ethic, dedication and sacrifices from them as I did of myself. That didn’t go so well, I soon found myself getting impatient as I had set unrealistic expectations. My perception of the scenario was biased, in the process I lost many good people. I learned a thing a two about patience during this time.

Some of the key things to keep in mind next time you feel your patience wearing thin are:

1. Set Realistic Expectations: To expect the people who work for you, to make the same level of sacrifices that you may be making is not correct. From the word go, we have to temper our expectations and more importantly, outline them before you start the selection process. This way, while recruiting there will be more detail, which will help the prospect to make a more informed decision. Keeping broad guidelines for what you want from an employee, will result in both sides being negatively effected.

2. Holding Hands: The on-boarding process takes time, this is the time to help the employee make necessary adjustments to fit into the organization. Bring them up to speed with the projects they will be working on and acquaint them with all the set processes. It takes an average of 1-2 months to bring an employee up to speed, till they start contributing to their potential. Make sure you help them as much as possible to speed up the process.

3. Feedback: We are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes. Instead of coming down hard on an employee regarding their work ethic, performance or behavior, provide feedback on steps to take to bring about positive change. Doing this effectively takes time and a lot of patience. Even when they mess up the proposal, don’t do a good job at that presentation or keep coming late to work, provide them with timely feedback. 

These are simple steps to take, to help become more patient with your employees. Incorporate them into your organization and see increased performance results, calmer working environment and a motivated workforce. Along the way, you will develop the patience required, to scale the business further and help manage people all over the globe. Remember, it is not possible to do everything ourself. Learn to sacrifice a little bit of that perfectionism and control, it will go a long way, in the larger scheme of things. 

Related Articles:

5 Steps to Hiring Better

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2 Responses

  1. In my 10 years as a mediator of employment issues I have found that companies typically get themselves in trouble with a lack of patience with employee development and legal hot water by not doing these things:

    (1) Proper evaluation of who they promote to management or supervisor positions. These involve things such as psychological profiles, interpersonal skills testing, etc. I have found this to be particularly true when promotion occurs form within the organization. The “good ole boy” system of a manager getting promoted and then with the help of HR gets a subordinate promoted to his/her former position. I have not done a statistical breakdown of percentages but far more often than not, the individual promoted is not qualified to function in a management capacity.

    (2) Specific training that involves all aspects of the employment experience. Inconsistent enforcement by a supervisor of state and federal guidelines always spells trouble. I have seen in my own employment experience and mediated cases where the manager was ignorant, biased or incapable of discerning what their management decisions were setting in motion. Until it was too late of course!

    I have experienced in the workplace and mediated issues where ill trained supervisors play amateur psychologists, ADA (American with Disabilities Act) specialists, discrimination experts, etc. One other monumental mistake businesses and organizations make through incompetent management is this, assuming the employee or subordinate is ignorant of his/her basic employee rights! However, in my opinion the issue isn’t the employee or manager/supervisor. The bottom line is the quality or lack thereof in the management/ownership of the organization and its HR.

    The article mentioned, “For example, when the business starts to grow, it is inevitable that more resources will need to be hired to keep up with growth. The selection process itself is a difficult process for start-ups with limited experience. The real fun begins when you have these new resources on board and most of the time, they don’t know what they signed up for.”

    My employment mediation experience has shown individuals in the workplace develop a sense of being devalued or dealt with as just comodities to be used and exploited by the business philosphy of the company. When the management/ownership mindset refer to managers, supervisors and employees as simply “resources” or similar terms the culture inevitably deteriorates into an enviromeent that does not foster positive growth. The employment process is a true partnership that should be treated with mutual respect for the value each side brings to the table.

  2. Usman Sheikh says:

    Thanks Yancey for some great insight on employee rights.

    This is definitely a segment which a lot of organizations need to work on, to successfully create an environment which will foster growth.

    The management and HR functions are critical to the success of any organization. At the same time being small entrepreneurial startups, having dedicated HR personnel is not always a viable option. This is a process which must be learned over time.

    Your website provides some great resources on the subject manner.

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