If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our EntreLeadership Podcast, make sure you check it out. The bi-weekly show on business and leadership is full of valuable information, lessons from Dave Ramsey on business and is hosted by this incredibly talented, awesome guy who interviews some of today’s top leaders! OK, OK, I confess. I’m the host, but it is still an awesome show.
This week, my podcast producer, Chris Mefford, and I answered some of your questions sent in via Twitter and email (podcast@EntreLeadership.com.). We didn’t have enough time to answer all the queries, so on this blog post and future ones, I’ll tackle some additional questions.
I have been listening to your EntreLeadership podcasts since they debuted. I love them. I am a small business owner of an insurance agency. I started it when I was 22 and am now 26, so I am still a little green when it comes to processes and business. I have nine staff members (all 40-plus), and gossip and self-accountability have become huge issues. In fact, I recently fired someone for gossiping after a second warning. I also feel that they do not take our goals and promotions seriously. When given an option for $50 bonus if they hit a certain goal, they laughed at the manager. I really want to nip this in the bud as soon as possible, but I am unsure of the correct process to do so. Any advice or books you would suggest I read?
Thanks again for your online information. It really helps. – Liz
Let me say how impressed I am that you started an insurance company at age 22! Wow! As for the issues, it all starts with leadership. It sounds like you’ve hired some folks who think they can take advantage of a young leader.
My advice is this: You need to focus on creating the culture and core values that you want for your company. Without them, confusion and chaos set in. If you don’t like what you see, or you’re not seeing what you want, teach your team about it.
As far as the specific issues:
- Gossip – The best thing you could have done was let that person go. That sets a tone with the rest of the team that says it’s unacceptable. I would take it a step further and let them know that if they are the one the person gossiped to, then they will be let go, as well. In other words, if someone comes to you to gossip, you better stop them in their tracks and send them to their leader. Be sure you remind the team once a month until their eyes roll back in their heads. :-)
- Laughing at a manager – This is someone who needs to be brought into your office right away. I would sit them down and ask them to explain themselves. And then, let them know if they don’t appreciate the bonus on top of the money they are getting paid to work there, then maybe they need to find another place to laugh. Obviously, they don’t care about the goals of your business. They are just showing up for a j.o.b. You don’t need this kind of person. Give them another chance to take the goals and promotions seriously. But if they can’t get on board, let them go.
My advice assumes you have instituted a culture of no gossip, you pay your team market rates or better, and you have attainable goals and promotions. If not, you have to go back and start with those.
Understand that you can’t create or change culture overnight. It’s a process. But there’s nothing wrong with hitting the most important ones hard and fast. The team needs to know what you refuse to tolerate, so they can anticipate your moves. Forty-plus or not, they’re still like kids needing to be parented. You’re doing a great job to be where you are! Keep up the good work and get that culture in place.
Question: What would you do with these team members?