When you put your heart and soul into growing your business, is there anything more frustrating than employees who can’t seem to take responsibility for their actions?
It’s a familiar story. Every business owner dreams of finding team members who take more responsibility for things, like diagnostic decisions and following workshop policies, rather than asking us a thousand simple questions all day, every day.
It’s a real productivity sap – and it could be stopping your business achieving its potential.
If this sounds like your workshop, you may be surprised to learn that, in the vast majority of cases, employees who bother the boss with lots of little questions do so because this is what the boss has trained them to do!
Responsibility and employee bad habits
According to sciencealert it takes (on average) 66 days to create a new habit.
That means when a workshop owner jumps in and makes decisions during a new employee’s or apprentice’s first couple of months on the job, what they’re actually doing is reducing the employee’s ability to make decisions in the workplace. They are creating an employee who is less likely to take responsibility.
The good news is, it also only takes a couple of months to turn the situation around and create a team that is capable of making simple day-to-day decisions.
To achieve this, it’s essential to ensure workshop systems and procedures are in place. Once your team understands clearly what is required of them, you might be surprised at how much responsibility they are willing to take on.
Here is your six-step guide to creating a more responsible, empowered workforce:
Clarify responsibilities with your team
Clearly outline to staff what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. Find a positive and empowering way to communicate this. For example, sell it as an opportunity for them to lead on the workshop floor (while giving you time to focus on growing the business), rather than have a go at them for “not stepping up”.
Work on your procedures
It’s up to you, as the business owner or manager, to build the systems and write the policies and procedures for your team to follow. Without guidance, they will do things their way and that in itself can cause more frustration.
Support their decisions
Support the decisions your employees make. This ensures they feel empowered to continue making decisions. If you disagree with their decision, the best approach is to pull the person quietly aside and encouragingly explain why a different decision might have been better for the business.
Share your goals for the business
A great way to help your team make the right decisions (decisions you agree with) is to make sure they’re aware of your business goals. Then your goals can inform your employees’ decision-making. That ensures everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Don’t just do it yourself
If you tie your kid’s shoelaces for them every morning, they never learn how to tie their shoelaces themselves! While sometimes it is faster and easier to just jump in and do something yourself, in the long-term you’re making your team less capable. If an employee asks a simple question, ask them (in an empowering way) “what do you think is the best way to tackle this?”
Step back and trust your team
Here’s the real challenge: if you want the freedom that comes with a well-run workshop, then it’s time to recruit the right people, assign them to the right position, train them properly, mentor them and then leave them alone to get on with their jobs.
If you’re already doing some of the above, then you’re on your way to creating a workforce that takes more responsibility for itself. If not, then hopefully the above is an excellent road map.
Want more advice on how to better manage your employees? Check out Capricorn AutoBoost.