3 Key Lessons That Make Me a Better Person in Business
Don’t get me wrong; I was never a bad person but, like many of us, I’m sure, always strive to be a better person in business and in life.
I’ve had several employees thank me for my mentorship as they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, including their own businesses. That makes me proud and a better person just through knowing you’ve made a difference. Gives me satisfaction to do more.
As I’ve grown in business; listening, reading, observing others and asking many questions I have learnt, there are always better ways to do or be. Such a continuous journey is exciting when you strive for not just business growth but personal growth.
There have been so many lessons, but here are my top 3 to be a better person in business.
1. Lead with curiosity.
As the leader in your business, you don’t know everything, nor does your team. As a collective, though imagine the value of knowledge that everyone can contribute.
If you adopt a curious approach, you will find you are more open to new experiences. Your interactions with your employees and others improve tenfold, creating a positive, inclusive culture.
Curiosity leads to innovation so just imagine how having a curious team working with you can grow your business.
I’ve found the more I work on leading with curiosity, the more tolerant I have become. Instead of saying, “that’s not the way I want it done” I’ve learnt to ask, “what’s the reason you are doing it this way”. You need to then follow through though: listen, understand and acknowledge that there just may be a better way of doing something.
A positive side benefit is the mind of a curious person is an active mind.
2. Give feedback and often.
Feedback does not have to be scheduled. I was guilty of waiting until ‘the right time’ sometimes six months later when the employee’s performance review was due. Avoiding the tough conversation, which in one instance led to a bigger performance management issue later down the track.
I’ve learnt and have adopted as best practice, to take the time to first think through what the issue is to the nth degree. Reframe my language so my feedback will not be seen as an attack, paying attention to how my employee will hear it. Not to be wishy washy, to focus on the specific issue but to be kind while addressing it.
Feedback often in the form of ‘shout outs’ is a terrific way to acknowledge great work.
3. Weave business and family together.
Last Friday I spent the afternoon, which progressed into a sleepover with my 2-year-old granddaughter while her Mum and Dad went off to a wedding. That Friday morning, I also had a business breakfast I needed to attend, so my day was basically lost. That is if I focused on my work productivity for the day.
What I realised some time ago however was there is no such thing as life/work balance when you are the business owner.
You need to make the time for family (at least in my opinion) and then weave your work commitments in. Of course, there are times when things don’t go to plan; deadlines arise, what I mean is to aim for this, a majority of the time.
Instead, I put aside last Sunday afternoon for 3 hours of solid work. I planned out what needed to be done and locked myself away after our family lunch. I achieved a huge volume of work, in fact, much more than if I had just worked through my normal Friday.
The key is to ask yourself, “how can I weave my family and friends into my busy work commitments?”
It can be done; you just need a little forward planning. Besides what do you want to be said at your eulogy? “She/he was a committed, hardworking person in their business” or “she/he always made sure they had quality time and were there for their family and friends, regardless of how busy they were.” Only you can choose.
Take the time for you and those close to you.
There’s always room to be a better person. Always
Life as a business owner means always learning, listening, observing, reading and striving to be a better person. With that comes a better business.
What are some lessons you have learnt along the way that help you to be a better person in business and in life?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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