Developing An Employee Ownership Mindset

Author: Gerard Ferreira

Employee Ownership

Unless you’re one of the few team leaders or managers who has gone through management training or one of the even fewer people to whom management comes naturally (and even then, if you are), for myriad reasons, managing people is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business.

One such reason is the challenge of finding ways to get the best from your employees – to get them committed to the success and wellness of the business and engaged on a level greater than just ‘doing a wuk’ (DAW). Granted, not every employee will get to this point, but there are several benefits of having employees feel ownership in the business, such as higher levels of motivation, creativity and responsibility, greater productivity, more thoughtful decision-making and growth for both employee and business.

While getting employees to adopt an ‘ownership mindset’ takes time, it isn’t as difficult as, say, getting an HDC house or beating Usain Bolt, so there’s hope.

Here are some ways you can foster this mentality:

Share your mission, vision and business goals – Clearly explain to your employees the reason you started and are operating your business and where you want it to go. Speak with the passion that got you into this business. (You DO have a vision, mission and goals, right? 👀 😉 )

Link employees’ roles to the above – Show exactly how your employees’ roles fit with and link directly to the company’s vision, mission and goals. Explain how their work and specific job functions affect the business and why it is important.

Define success – SMART goals (See Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-based goals for more details) are popular for a reason. Defining exactly what success means on individual and company levels helps strengthen the link between the two, and can thereby boost employee motivation.

Don’t micromanage – It’s easy to fall into a micromanaging trap because many of us believe our way is the best way and ‘if you want something done right…’ well, you know the rest. But micromanaging stifles initiative and reinforces the DAW mentality.

Remember, you hired these specific people for a reason, so trust both your hiring process and your employees. Let them determine how tasks you’ve set will be achieved, once they’re sticking to your SMART plan.

Encourage individual problem solving – There’s a real tendency for ‘DAW’ employees to run to you with low-level problems, without any solution-minded suggestions. Break them out of this habit by encouraging them to analyse the problem and consider possible solutions.  So, rather than you doling out directives, your conversation becomes a discussion on the best way forward.

These are just the tip of the sno-cone; for other ways to encourage an ownership mindset, here are a couple places to continue your reading:

On getting employees to think like owners

Getting employees to take ownership over their work

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