Last week, the owner of the office space we are renting gave us some advice on running our business, particularly, how to deal with employees. According to him, we should use our “head” and not our “heart”, like he did when he was still young and starting. He learned not to give his full trust on one person. He also learned to be assertive and strict with employees after a couple of “incidents”. Those bad experiences really changed the way he thinks of and treats his employees nowadays.
I understand where he’s coming from but I don’t think that there’s silver bullet solution. Too much freedom could lead to abuse while too much control could send the wrong message and promote distrust between the employer and employees. The challenging part is determining the right balance between freedom and control.
Fortunately, the company is still small so it’s relatively easy to spot discrepancies and often times obvious if an employee is not doing his job. Unfortunately, the company is still small so productivity is really critical. Finding the right person to do the job is one thing, earning enough to be able to pay him is another thing.
Call me idealistic or “soft” but I do believe that if you do the right thing, you will get what you deserve, eventually. Some may think of it as being stupid or too kind for letting people take advantage of you. I agree but that doesn’t mean that you must try to get even or waste all your energy in worrying or doubting.
Sometimes the best option is to just eliminate the source of the problem instead of implementing solutions to control the problem thereby creating more things to worry about. Problem employees tend to find new ways to cheat their way around the system and the cycle would never end.
If you’re lucky, the problem goes away on their own. Otherwise, you will be left to decide when and how to let them go. If you’re unlucky, they tend to stay for as long as they could thinking that they’re fooling you even though you’re just being considerate and hopeful that their situation would improve. Either ways, you’re either “heartless” for letting them go or “stupid” for letting them stay.
Choosing the right employee is hard. Getting a good employee is even harder. Sometimes all you need is luck. Because no matter how hard you try to motivate or force people, they can only be as good as they want themselves to be. Bottom line is the bad ones tend to fair poorly and fail, while the good ones tend to excel and succeed.