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It can be hard being the boss sometimes. You want to treat your employees well, make sure they feel comfortable in their role and enable them to enhance their skills and do their job to the best of their ability. But you run a business and things need to get done and striking a balance between ensuring your employees are well and being the taskmaster can be difficult. If employees feel like you respect and value them, they will respect you more in turn and they’re more likely to go the extra mile to impress you. Here are five simple methods to ensure you’re striking that balance well:

  1. Words
    Changing some of the workplace terminology within your business can go a long way to ensuring your employees feel valued and unconstrained by an overly formal or corporate work environment. Simple changes like referring to even junior employees as ‘colleagues’ or changing their job titles to something less hierarchical can really show that you see them as a part of the team, all working towards the same goals.
  2. Incentives
    Offering incentives is a great way to reward hard work and to show your employees they and their work are valued. Offering financial incentives like bonuses or gift cards are great, but if you're on a budget offering simple things like the bosses parking spot for a week, the use of a special office or a day off is still effective. Something with continuity like a scrapbook that is added to by each ‘employee of the week/month’ is a fantastic way of creating humour and history at your company which will endear them to the entire workplace and the company as a record is built of everyone’s achievements.
  3. Speak to them frequently
    Having regular catch up sessions with both individuals and teams allows your employees to get to know you in a more informal setting. Initially, they are unwilling to speak on more than the headlines about their work, but once you’ve met a few times you can begin to get a picture of how they feel about their work and how you can help them to fulfil their potential. Offering training for areas they want to develop will give them confidence and increase their value to you. Giving advice from your senior position will also be beneficial to them and endear them to you.
  4. Enhance your workspace
    The concept of ‘psychogeography’, that our environment in some way dictates our internal world, is not an exact science; but there is certainly some truth behind it. How many times have you felt calmed by the countryside, or on edge when walking by a particularly spooky church? This is also true of the workspace. The act of improving a workspace at all will show that you care about your employee's wellbeing, but you can create long term change in their demeanour by creating bright, open spaces where they can work together unrestricted by cubicles or other geographical features that draw separations between teams, ranks or functions. Working in this space with them is also a great way of showing you're on their level and that you're available to them when they need you.
  5. Food
    It’s simple, but it’s effective. Bringing together a team to eat together after delivering a project or an excellent presentation will help strengthen their interpersonal relationships and shows that you respect and value them. Whether it's ordering a load of pizzas on the company, providing fresh fruit every week or a more formal affair for a particularly well-performing team, this is one that’s guaranteed to be received well by your employees.