By David Nilssen, CEO & Co-founder of Guidant Financial
Actually—happiness is in empowering others, which comes naturally when you’re the boss.
Think of it this way: in an orchestra, the conductor is the most powerful person yet he or she makes the least noise. The conductor infuses others with opportunities to make beautiful music.
Being a small business owner isn’t so different. It’s a gift to be able to develop the raw talent in your employees and push decisions downstream. When you harness their capabilities, you not only encourage them to grow; you strengthen your organization as a whole.
I’ve seen this time and time again at Guidant.
For example, one of our legal interns took the Bar exam while she was with us, and passed. Since she’d done such a great job as our intern, once her credentials were solidified, we offered her a full-time position. She excelled in that role and was soon promoted. Seven years later, she’s going strong as a well-liked supervisor for the legal team and has become our resident compliance expert.
Another employee began in an entry-level position with the company just two years ago, and did so well that we gave him more responsibilities. With each new task we sent his way, he gained more and more experience and demonstrated great potential. Now, he has been promoted to a senior account management role and works directly with our clients who are building their own businesses.
We’re keeping these employees happy and fulfilled by challenging them in a good way and rewarding them when they exceed our expectations. Alternately, we’re becoming a more efficient business by promoting from within and showing others the opportunities we offer.
One key aspect of empowering your team members is determining what values are important to your company and communicating those values to your staff on a regular basis. Our company has Wordle renditions of our six core values on display in our office. We also discuss the values when we nominate team members for internal awards; measure the demonstration of the values when writing employee reviews and ask our team to reference examples of exhibiting the values when giving kudos to their peers.
In conclusion, when employees feel empowered they achieve amazing things, which leads to a better bottom line for the business.
That calls for happiness all around.
David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidNilssen.