Whether you are a business owner or a manager the challenges are seemingly endless; that’s why we love it, right? Charging after sales, hunting for new business, and delighting and amazing our customers, these activities make running a business thrilling.
The pressure we face comes with the job. Being responsible for 5, 10, 30 or even 500 families’ incomes can be daunting. Maintaining a successful enterprise so you can make payroll each week is seriously hard work. Lately, the crazy inflation and skyrocketing transportation costs are another huge stress.
But you know what? None of these factors are what keep you up at night. These factors can be worked on, studied, improved, put in a spreadsheet and monitored. They can be adjusted, renegotiated, and ultimately resolved.
What keeps you up at night are the people. Management, and by association leadership, necessitate supervising a team of people. Maybe supervise isn’t the right word. As a leader, we work to encourage, inspire, support, and challenge our teams. Some days this is exhilarating, other days it is exasperating.
Managing people is so challenging because people are people. They have free will unlike a spreadsheet, an invoice or a tulip. They make good decisions, and they make bad decisions. These decisions directly impact our business, leading to the hardest part of running a business: managing the people and managing their strengths and weaknesses.
To be clear, I have been blessed to work with many individuals who are complete rock stars in sales, in administration, in production and in all sorts of positions. But to be honest, the ones that weigh heavy on your heart seem to always be the ones with amazing ability, which often goes unrealized.
It could be your star sales rep living loose and fast with reality, that has a serious misstep. It could be a person struggling with alcohol impacting their performance. It could be health issues, kid issues, mental health issues… you name it. The job you signed up for is to not only help these people achieve their potential but to find a win-win where your company benefits as well.
The key to success and sleeping well is to spend the time to actually care about your team and take their various issues, concerns and sometimes whack-a-doodle situations to heart. Yes, this requires some loss of sleep, but once you have spent the time, sleep will return.
Success is defined not by numbers on a chart, success is how your relationship with your team builds and evolves, overcoming challenges and pushing towards shared goals. It may even be parting ways with a team member, ideally amicably, but especially respectfully.
The best part of this success is when your team member learns to thrive and overcome their issues and stay with your company, building the base of trusted people that you can rely on. Many times, after you have gone through the fire and come out the other side, you have taken what was once a person that cost you sleep, to a team member that now helps you sleep better.
Bill Prescott is the mass market and wholesale sales manager for Sun Valley Floral Farms, based in Arcata. Bill can be reached at email@example.com