I don’t care if you’re a small business, a Fortune 500, 100, 50, a student startup, or literally Tim Cook or Arianna Huffington. As a boss, the #1 thing you can do to keep your business thriving is to be yourself.
That is, unless you suck as a person.
Here are what employees need to thrive in their workplace. Basically, employees hated jobs because of a lack of these things, or they feel more loyal and dedicated than ever because they finally found a workplace that had these things. We’ll share these with you as a full-service growth marketing agency that has had a serious peek into companies and competitors in all industries, of all sizes.
As a boss, it’s your job to be better, like this:
Get off your high horse.
You’re the boss, yes. But you’re not better than your employees. You have authority as their boss and naturally (hopefully) this is because you have more necessary experience than they do at whatever endeavors you’re leading.
At the end of the day, you are all humans. You are all people. You all have lives outside of work, family troubles, mental health stressors, probably a dog, etc. Basically, don’t act as if you’re a higher quality human or deserve more respect than you give them just because you’re the boss. They’re not your workhorses.
Foster ownership & creativity.
Let people do what they do best. What makes them happy is what they will be best at. Don’t drown your advertising team in Google Ad research when half of them should be brainstorming new, creative marketing ideas. Don’t force someone into an investor relations role when they tell you their nerves are shocked from anxiety.
Let people push to develop the skills they want to, and you’ll notice workplace morale, productivity, and creativity all go up, hand in hand. This isn’t some growth hack market tip, it’s just how our brains work.
Get to know your people.
You can’t do that last one without getting to know your team. You’d better know how to spell their first name correctly. Chat with them, without work motives, to get to know their life outside of work.
Obviously, don’t pry. But genuine interest in them as a person will open them up to the idea of talking to you more honestly as well. Your concern about the day they missed because their daughter was sick won’t come across as “Miss another day and you’ll be on thin ice,” it will come across as “Yes I’m your boss, but I care about you as a human being in my life. How is your daughter doing after the doctor visit?”
This may take some practice, especially if you already have a reputation of not giving a shit unless it has to do with time logs. But it will be worth it to deviate from that norm.
Arrive to work as a whole human being.
Work isn’t meant to be a depressing place where people leave their lives to come make money and then return to the rest of the world. It is a central part of everyone’s life, and shouldn’t be separated from everything else.
Talk about your mental health openly. Mention that your anxiety has been wild lately. Talk about the movie you saw with your significant other. Talk about how you’ve been trying to eat healthier but it’s so hard. Talk about sleep. Talk about family. Talk about friends. Talk about your life outside of work.
Show up as a whole person, not a boss. Your employees and team, then, will realize they too can show up as a whole person. They can be honest about the days they need off, and why. They can be honest about how they were late because their new mattress totally sucks and they only slept two hours. Your workplace as a whole will soon have fewer lies, less stress, more honesty, and a greater dedication not because this is their job, but because this is their life.
As an Austin digital marketing and branding agency, we’ve personally witnessed all of these prior tips boiling down to one thing: Be yourself.
Be wholly you, honestly. Make your workplace a place where you can share silly or personal things. Might some small issues crop up along the way? Sure, like one person being offended by so-and-so’s swearing, something they feel free to express. But guess what?
The sooner you start showing up as yourself, the more you can hone your team to be a killer group of like-minded people. Different in terms of creativity and skill sets and likes and dislikes of course (you know, going back to the whole “we’re all people” thing), but like-minded in how they want to spend these 8 hours a day. Okay with swearing. Open about depression. Reminding each other to take a break for lunch. Wanting to do their best and thrive as a team (because they all like each other).
So, really, it’s simple.
Create a thriving, naturally positive, and dedicated workplace simply by being yourself and showing up as such.
That is, unless you suck. Unless you only know how to be fake, you don’t have any sort of life outside of work, you think you’re a god, and you don’t care about anyone.
Then you definitely shouldn’t be yourself. If that’s you, you’ve got a lot of work to do before you can be a leader that can boast having a team that’s creative, honest, happy, dedicated, loyal, and hard working.
If you don’t suck as a person, you’re already halfway to manifesting a truly awe-some workplace and team.
If you need a kickstart, or an add-on team that has already mastered this, you can sit down with Rock Candy Media Austin’s founder for a company analysis.
Because we don’t just show up, half-ass a new logo presentation, and go home. We find our inspiration over the weekend in our normal lives. We mull over your life as a business owner as if it’s our own. We’re not white-hat growth hackers. We’re just a badass Austin marketing agency made up of like-minded, honest, hardworking humans. And, as a top advertising agency, it shows.