As a business entrepreneur in a downwardly spiralling economy you need to be conscious of keeping your team feeling energetic and positive about the future of the business. Positive emotions have been demonstrated conclusively to improve performance, reduce turnover, and boost profits.
Sweeten the pill
Holding a meeting? Start by sharing some positive client feedback, or get everyone share a recent success story in a minute or less. At the end of your session, ask everyone to acknowledge someone or something that made them more effective that week. Sharing success stories increases team bonding and happiness.
Prevention is better than cure!
Gallup research has shown that if a person’s strengths are not in sync with his or her duties, then no amount of training to boost their weak areas will work. Instead get with their strengths. Ask employee to take strengths assessment (such as Gallup's StrengthsFinder, or see authentichappiness.com). Take it yourself too! Now try to realign the team member’s responsibilities so the person can do what he or she does best each day. Get a copy of Now, Discover Your Strengths by M Buckingham to learn more about this (available through libraries, bookstores on online book vendors).
Criticism seems to actually reduce the ability to perform efficiently. Many workplace studies have demonstrated that workers who feel appreciated solve complicated problems faster and perform better. It is said that happy comments and encounters must outnumber negative ones 3 to 1, since bad emotions are so durable and damaging.
Select for positive attributes
Skills can always be taught and learnt. It is far more important to hire team members with the appropriate character and emotional strengths, such as a sense of purpose, optimism, and emotional intelligence. Again look at those natural strengths identified by Gallup and select to match the employee’s tasks with their character and strengths. Those employees will more likely go beyond the call of duty and are also (by Gallup's measure) 38% more productive and may make better decisions.
Plan a business booster shot
Set aside an hour or even a half-day if you can manage it, to hold a workshop with the team and discuss the business’ larger purpose and their contributions to achieving that. Use it to tap into the team’s ideas for systems and processes which might contribute to improvements. A number of studies have shown that identifying with the business vision meant that workers were more conscientious and more likely to contribute valuable ideas, such as ways to cut costs or raise sales.