Stay proactive and keep communicating
Even with structures in place to provide more support for your team, you’ve got to keep your ear to the ground to pick up on when an employee may need extra help. Lower work ethic, less attention to detail, and being less motivated to carry out regular tasks could indicate someone is struggling. This is where communication becomes key, explains Andy.
“You’ve got to keep the lines of communication open”, he says. “In our trade business, I’m always contactable by phone or Voxer. We also have weekly meetings and monitor our tradies every day to ensure that they’re on the right track.”
He further notes the need for positive reinforcement to be communicated regularly. “If they’re going well, I’ll say, ‘You’re doing a great job’, but this also helps me because I’m seeing them at their best and can more easily identify if something’s wrong in future.”
Be a business leader, not just a business owner
As the trade industry is traditionally regimented by rank, being someone that others can look up to will help you stay connected with your employees, while also earning you your due respect as a boss.
Ultimately what this comes down to is ensuring everyone in a professional team knows that by valuing the good of the business first and foremost, they’ll have their needs met in return.
“We all have to trust each other to work towards what benefits the collective”, says Andy. “My employees are relying on me to put food on the table and pay the mortgage, so in return for their hard work I need to show them that I’m committed to supporting them in any way I can.”
“At the end of the day, I’ve got to balance the decisions I need to make as a business owner with upholding my obligation to keep everyone in a job.” “But don’t see this as a negative thing, it can be a powerful way to show your employees that you’re always there for them”, he adds.
Focus on goals and employee buy-in
Keeping employees invested not only leads to a high-performing team but also promotes a stronger foundation for fostering good mental health. According to Andy, setting performance targets lets employees pursue realistic achievements and feel like they’re always working to surpass their goals. This builds self-worth and gives tradies a greater sense of agency within their workplace.
He warns though that too much goal setting can lead to confusion and stress, saying that, “when there are too many blurred lines, things are likely to blow up.”
He adds that businesses with this problem can start by ‘developing transparency across their business’. He then reiterates that “a good boss never treats employees like a number. Get everyone on the same page and rally your team together.”
But never forget that you’re human too and should always keep an eye on your mental health as much as the mental health of others.
Looking for more information about developing mental health practices specific to tradies?
Get in touch and BOOK A GAME PLAN CALL with Andy today.
Andy Smith is a fellow trade business owner and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, a membership and community for tradies in business.
Written by Lifestyle Tradie
Lifestyle Tradie is an award-winning membership and community for trade business owners who want to make more profit and fast-track financial freedom.