When I started my business 23 years ago it was because my VP Marketing job didn’t allow me the flexibility to be a mom to my toddler. I purposefully created a family-oriented culture in our small marketing firm. The problem was, I also acted as a mom towards my employees.
The lesson I learned: treating my employees as family COST ME DEARLY.
This behaviour burdened me with unnecessary worry and blindsided me when they lied, stole or sued – all of which happened. Never mind the stress: acting as a mom in my business cost $25,000 to settle a wrongful dismissal suit I should have seen coming.
You don’t have to be a heartless, calculating boss. All you need are boundaries and strategies to stick with them. Here are 3 simple steps:
1) Clarify your values
What is truly important to you? What does that look like? For example, reciprocity is a fundamental value for me. That means I need to see a genuine “give & take” in a relationship.
2) Know your deal breakers and how to spot them
Think of past instances when you felt a value was disrespected. What were the signs? Building on my example of reciprocity, if I give someone unexpected time off, in return I expect the person to volunteer an update. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a red flag.
3) Communicate early, often & be ready to act
Ask about values in the interview. Reiterate them during onboarding. Monitor how values are enacted during the employee’s probationary period.
Now if I notice a pattern – someone’s being sketchy with details or inconsistent in their stories, I ask not to pry but for clarity. If the reciprocity isn’t there, I act earlier.
I realized a little late that I had no business acting like a mom to my employees. Learn from my mistakes and save yourself stress!
Please share your experiences and thoughts below. Let’s learn from one another and celebrate each other’s successes.
Thanks for reading!