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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at

Give Your Employees a Chance to Succeed

Give Your Employees a Chance to Succeed

Dear Gladys,

I consider myself successful in my business. I own a temporary employment agency and I haven’t taken a vacation in over 10 years. The reason is, I can’t be comfortable when I’m not in my office. My company is very good at matching temps to employers, but I can’t seem to find good people to work for me. I spend most of my days putting out fires that my staff presents me with. It’s just one thing after the other. I often have to oversee or at least double-check their work. And in most cases, it has to do with customer satisfaction. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks - Rich

Micromanaging rarely works and can be counterproductive to a successful business.

Your hiring procedures should be consistent with your business visions and objectives. Before interviewing people, have you decided on the qualities that you need in the hire? Are you asking for references to support the qualifications claimed by the applicant? Are your new hires clear on what is expected of them? Taking the time to address these things along with anything else that can be beneficial to your company are essential.

If you find that there is nothing wrong with your people when you hire them, then we can assume that the problem starts after they have been hired. Therefore, it is time to look at your management style. I have often told the story about my father never allowing my brothers to mow the lawn when we were kids. My dad believed that my brothers could not do the good job that he could do himself. On the few times that he allowed one of my brothers to mow the grass or cut the hedges he would stand over them like a hawk and yell out instructions on how he wanted it done.

My late husband use to micromanage the repairman that he called in to do a home repair of some sort. He would watch their every move while asking a bunch of questions and periodically throwing in a few suggestions. Never mind that he knew nothing about the repairs being performed.

This kind of behavior can scare a person out of their wits and force them to become defensive or step back and allow you to perform the job yourself. And, it can work on your nerves as well. I know how difficult it can be. Try backing off a bit and let your employees have a little responsibility of their own. Many entrepreneurs feel that if the job is to be done right they will have to do it themselves.

This belief can also find its way into other aspects of the entrepreneur’s life. I volunteered to be on a fundraising committee for an organization. The chairperson was an entrepreneur. She wanted to micromanage how each of us approached prospects for a contribution. Meanwhile she had never done charitable fundraising herself. And her constant nagging and demanding to be told step-by-step each thing we did or said was annoying.

Try to let your staff do their own work. Make them feel like a part of your company by backing off and trusting them a little more. Those employees who actually can’t handle responsibility will most likely leave on their own; otherwise you can feel comfortable letting them go. Hold regular meetings that focus on the kind of training that is consistent with goals and/or your company’s mission statement. You will probably be pleasantly surprised. Employees who are made to feel like a real part of the company will take pride in their work. They will also feel free to express their ideas and suggestions that can be beneficial to your company.

A final point: Expect the best from your employees and let them know that they are capable of performing with excellence. And you will most likely get it.

Read other business articles by Gladys Edmunds
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