As a business owner, you're bound to make mistakes. Rather than running from them or trying to make a case for why they weren't really mistakes, you should
own up to them in front of your staff. "Admitting that you're wrong is a sign of strength," says Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid (Hudson Street, 2013). "It takes character and leadership to do it well."
Excuses won't help you anyway, and they certainly won't set a good example for your employees. But admitting to your mistakes will foster a culture in which
it's okay to experiment and fail, and to move on from failure without assigning blame. "Taking responsibility when things don't work is more conducive to growth," Winch says.
Bursts of stress can actually be good for you.
In small doses, stress can improve your thinking power and give you the boost you need to tackle a challenge, says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Books, 2012), who has studied the effects of stress.
One benefit of stress is that it causes your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can improve immune function in small quantities. But too much cortisol wrecks your immune system, Dr. Teitelbaum says, which is why people experiencing chronic stress tend to get sick.
To reinvigorate your team, take them out of the office.
During the summer months, there's a good chance you'll find your employees itching to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Trevor Turnbull, chief operating officer of sports news site Sports Networker, recommends indulging this natural compulsion from time to time. Whether attending a baseball game together or holding a company picnic, the break from cubicle life will show your staff that you value them. In return, they will be more loyal and happier to go to work.
Get rid of employees who stir up trouble.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a problem employee will slip through your screening process. At first, you may be impressed by the new staffer's output, only to realize in time that she is a toxic addition to the workplace.
So what do you do then? "If you have people who are interfering with the performance of others, you need to consider letting them go," says Suzanne Benoit, founder of Portland, Maine-based Benoit Consulting Services. One type to watch out for is the Pot-Stirrer, someone who gossips and pits coworkers against each other. If you can't get through to the Pot-Stirrers with an honest conversation about the need for workplace collegiality, then you need to show them the door.
When asking someone for a casual meeting, be crystal clear about your expectations.
Inviting someone out for coffee, drinks or lunch to talk about your business is a pretty big request. Even though you're offering to pay, you're asking another business owner to take time away from their own endeavors to help you with yours, says Erika Napoletano, founder of RHW Media, a Boulder, Colo.-based consulting business. To avoid being an "askhole," let the person know upfront what you'd like to discuss, and promise to limit your meeting to half an hour.
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