The past few months of clocking up air miles has made me realise how important building trust with my employees has been.
I can’t believe that when I wrote my last entry I was just back from my trip to Sri Lanka, ready to brace one of our busiest months for trading. We’ve had exceptional success over the last four weeks, and it’s nice to have a bit of breathing space to look back at the last month and congratulate my staff for all of their help in achieving this milestone.
That’s not to say that the hard work ends here though. We’ve set the pace for the year ahead and I’m now ready to take some time out again to explore new locations for potentially expanding the business and to spend some time with the US team. I’ll be out of the office for most of February, heading to Europe and Asia, to really find out how we can make a name for ourselves over there.
But while I love spending time in new places, I do miss the office environment in the UK. Over the years I’ve had to accept that I need to take time away and have recognised the importance in building trust with my staff. No one wants to admit that they’re a control freak, but the truth is, we all panic a bit before we leave work for some time out, in fear that things will go wrong in our absence. But it’s important to ask yourself: when has this ever really happened? Yes the odd thing might slip, and you may find that you would have completed a task differently, but having trust in your staff and colleagues to crack on while you’re away is important.
I’ve found in particular that building up a strong senior management team is integral to this, and I thoroughly trust every single manager in the business to do their job effectively. We very much have an open-door policy and I ensure that all senior managers are sitting out on the floors with their teams, not tucked away in a private office, looking unapproachable.
Building trust is so important and I don’t think that any business owner can expect to grow their company without trusting people. Of course, you have to keep your wits about you, as it’s your bottom line that will be impacted at the end of the day, but you have to be trusting about the right things. It’s no good me going away and checking my phone in the middle of the night to sign off a new idea or campaign. I have to delegate this responsibility down and this means that the business can continue to operate at a fast pace, regardless of whether I’m in the UK or not.
I have big plans for global expansion and this simply couldn’t be achieved if I didn’t adopt this attitude of building trust. Any owner of a small to medium-sized business should understand the need to take a few days out to re-charge their batteries, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to do this. I’m excited about what the month ahead has in store for me, and the business and I look forward to sharing more with you next month.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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