Getting Your Staff to Buy Into the Mission.

I’ve worked in a variety of industries, but for me personally having spent so much of the last decade fifteen years in restaurants, I’ve witnessed a mind-numbingly amount of restaurants crumble at the core, because of issues with lack of staff motivation and their willingness to rally around the cause.

Create a Compelling Vision: To get your staff to buy into the mission, you need to first communicate (verbally and non) why the mission is important to you, and then execute on that. Sure, it seems obvious to you, but its everything you’ve worked for – they are often just along for the ride. The staff first and for most needs to know they are working for someone that actually gives a damn, and part of giving a damn is having and enlisting that vision for where you are headed.

Reward them for Taking Risks: The only reason why the status quo ever changes, is because of the fact that we have people who are willing to take risk. Inherent in taking risks is failure, but each failure leads us closer to success. If we want a company culture that is vibrant and committed to seeing our employees succeed, we need to create an environment that shuns complacency, Encourage them to take risks. Reward them for it if they hit the nail on the head, but also reward them for going out on a limb and for trying something that might now work. How do you reward the later? Give them another shot.

Be a Selfless Leader: Be someone who protects his or her team and has a genuine interest in their employee’s well-being. A selfless leader accepts blame to protect their staff and differs praise to them when things go right, looking to offer positive reinforcement whenever possible. When you are a selfless leader, you stop thinking about what you would want and focus on what the staff would want; after all, they are your most valuable assets.


Opportunity for Growth: You have to set your staff up with opportunities for growth. The best thing to do, is when hiring, have the conversation with them about their career goals, that way you know what their end goal. This puts everyone on the same wavelength, and encourages you to hold them accountable. Thus, when they disappoint you, it’s doesn’t end with letting you down – it’s letting themselves down.
The bottom line is, with anything in life, if you’re not growing, you’re not happy. So, it’s up to us as managers and leaders to continually raise the stakes for the people around us, encouraging them to grow as employees, and more importantly, as humans.

Fairness: As I look at the bosses that I’ve respected most, the trait they all have in common that I think flies under the radar is fairness – someone that doesn’t show favoritism and looks at situations objectively. This is such a breathe of fresh air, because most of the bosses that we dislike seem to have an agenda. Along with fairness comes transparency. To resolve situations without pissing people off (long term) and being respectful.

Autonomy and Empowerment: We’ve been talking about empowering employees for years and the idea itself is a cousin of sorts to the idea of autonomy. We all understand the importance of it, which makes it mind-boggling as to how many bosses cling to control. They are afraid of what might happen when their back is turned or if they are out of town for a few days. I think any boss, especially a new owner or someone that is newly in love with the project they are leading, has trouble letting go – I did. Guilty as charged. As a chef and restaurant owner, I would sicken to my stomach those first few years when I wasn’t there for service, because the way the food came out, was my ‘baby’, so to speak. I’d be sitting on a plane or on a date and all I could think about was how much they were probably screwing things up in my absence.
Well, if you’re a crappy manager and didn’t teach them how to do their jobs properly, you should be scared, but that’s your problem, not their’s and are doing them, as well as your entire organization a disservice. I soon realized, after a number of days over the course of those two to three years that I’d walk in after being away and it would feel like I hadn’t missed a beat. You just have to trust them to execute, which will in turn make your life a lot easier and your business a lot easier to scale.

At the end of the day, creating a team that buys into the mission is much more about the culture you’ve created – it has very little to actually do with them. Almost nothing. It’s about you – it starts at the top.— Chris Hill

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