Successful entrepreneurs aren’t dictators. They don’t issue orders from a perch at the top of their organizations and just expect their employees to carry them out. Good entrepreneurs listen to their employees and incorporate their feedback into future plans. They make adjustments as quickly as possible based on what they learn from conversations across the company.
For such conversations to be possible, entrepreneurs need to build strong interpersonal relationships with employees. These connections are just as important as business strategy. Entrepreneurs should listen closely, without being distracted by a device or the ring of the phone.
One way I used to start my business meetings was by asking people about their personal wins of the previous day. This may sound frivolous, but the small talk performed an essential business function. By hearing stories about what their colleagues did outside of work, everyone on the team got to know one another better. Lighthearted communication eased people into the more serious sharing of ideas that might come later in the meeting.
Another strategy a good entrepreneur can adopt is to facilitate decisions, instead of always being the decision maker. Offices become political when the business owner makes all the decisions, because employees will lobby to promote their own ideas to the leader. This promotes a culture of individualism, instead of a culture that focuses on the best ideas. Entrepreneurs who delegate decision-making duties help make sure that the team’s focus is where it should be: on the merit of the ideas.