Don’t Let Employees See You Sweat

May 30, 2017, Written by Sue Miley

businessman wipes his forehead

How much do you share emotions with your employees- in good times and in bad times?  As Christians in business aren’t we supposed to be transparent?  Do we share our financial information?  Do we tell employees if the company is doing poorly?

It is confusing.

These are leadership questions more than Christian values questions to me.  In general, I am more open to disclosure to employees than secrecy. However, I believe that the information we need to be transparent about is what our team needs in order to do their job, to be motivated, to know how they are performing, and how their area is performing.

There is a wide variety of levels of performance for your overall company, a specific area, and even a specific employee.

Share Information Appropriately In Good Times and Bad

If your business is doing well, it is appropriate to share this information and be open about the metrics that an employee or team needs to know for their benchmarks.

If your business is doing poorly, or an area of your business, it is applicable to share these metrics IF the purpose is to direct plans and goals for improvement.

Do Not Necessarily Share Your Emotional State With Your Team

What ISN’T appropriate is sharing the wide swing in your emotions. Sharing emotions can backfire as our emotions are sometimes much more volatile than reality, and may swing more widely and frequently. Sharing emotions comes in many forms:

  • Worry to the point of not talking to anyone and isolating yourself.
  • Anger blaming the employees for the performance and trying to berate them into improvement.  Or just in general wearing your frustration daily in your mood and interactions.
  • Excessive sharing of your concern and prophesying doom.
  • Using your employees to help you deal with your fear.  Leaning on them, instead of vice-versa.
  • Also, some people don’t show excitement when things are going well, making employees sometimes wonder, why bother?

What About Holding My Team Accountable?

Just because you don’t share the brunt of your emotions with your team, doesn’t mean you don’t constructively hold them accountable for performance, engage them in activities and plans to grow, and/or share metrics to track improvement.  This should always happen in good times and bad.  That way it isn’t a surprise when you do.

It is expected.  It is constructive.  It is focused on activities within their area of responsibility that they can control.

Worry and Fear Do Not Improve Performance

Sharing your fear and worry doesn’t improve others performance.  At most, it makes the team worried, and distracted also.  At worst, they may look for another job due to fear of security.  They are only human.  They look up to you.  If they see you worried, they may actually think things are worse than they are.

Seek Help For Stress and Worry Outside of Your Business

I know you are only human and we all know that business ownership is stressful.  At times, it can also be lonely.  As the owner, you carry all of the responsibility.  You are responsible to your customers, vendors, and employees.  Unfortunately, they are not responsible for your peace and mental state.  We need an outside board of advisors, a business coach, or if anxiety is severe, maybe even a counselor.

It usually costs money for these outside advisors, but giving yourself the support is worth it.  Soon you won’t be sweating the difficult times, you will be persevering through to better times with a loyal, stable team to work with.

And, as with every other subject I give advice on, pray.  We can always lean on Jesus.  He is the best counselor there is and He will carry us through the ups and downs of our business.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.