By: Gideon Pfeffer, The GSH Group’s Managing Partner
I recently shared my philosophy that one of the best ways to achieve balance in business is by empowering your team. It’s a philosophy that rings even more true as my company, GSH Group, continues to evolve. With each year that passes, the juggling act of growing a mission-driven business with multiple stakeholders gets trickier. We constantly have to balance myriad efforts that are all equally essential to how we operate, from managing the status of current projects and pursuing new business development opportunities, to making sure our multifamily communities are comfortable for our residents and profitable for our investors…the list goes on and on.
I truly believe that none of these tasks can stay in balance without an empowered team. I understand, though, that creating a culture of empowerment can sometimes feel like an abstract, hard-to-achieve concept. What exactly does it mean to have an “empowered team,” and how do you translate this type of business philosophy into real action?
Below, I’ve shared a few best practices that I’ve put in place at GSH Group to make this idea of empowerment a reality and help keep our team in balance, even as we grow or face challenges:
Build a Team of People With Complementary Skill Sets
When I start every venture, I’m kind of doing it on my own, perhaps bringing in one or two people to help out. Eventually, as the pieces start falling into place and the vision starts to be fulfilled, I’ll try to build a very intentional team, finding quality people who can do the things I’m not great at or not as passionate about doing. Look for people who can fill a real need within your business, and who will feel excited about offering a skillset or interest that you might not possess. This inherently creates value in their role and makes them a central part of achieving your vision.
Create a System of Tangible Practices to Help Your team Feel Valued
One of the most important practices we have in place is weekly team check-ins. These weekly one-to-one meetings are a critical opportunity to make sure our employees feel respected, valued, and heard. In addition to talking about work and getting their feedback and ideas, we chat about what’s going on in our lives. This builds trust and reminds each team member that we value work-life balance.
Set Clear Boundaries and Best Practices That Encourage Work-Life Balance
On that same note, we understand that everyone has a life outside of work. Not only that, we recognize that our team needs to feel fulfilled outside of work in order to come in and work to their fullest potential. We encourage people to set boundaries rather than grinding away — if you get an email after work hours, for instance, it’s not a requirement or an expectation that it’s responded to. Those boundaries are simple but powerful ways to help our employees feel valued as human beings.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use Yourself as an Example
In any business, you’re sure to run into situations where someone is out of balance, whether it’s a team member working long hours or feeling stressed and unable to focus. As the leader, you set the tone for how to navigate these situations. I try to use my personal life as an example to show that it’s important to have balance. I’ll share what’s going on in my life with my wife and kids, and how I’m finding work-life balance lately. If they need to, I’ll remind them that sometimes it’s ok to take a day off to focus on something that’s not work-related so they can come back feeling refreshed and motivated.
Empower Your Managers
As your business grows, so too will your team, and you may need help keeping everyone in balance. Not everyone reports directly to me at this point, so I try to empower our management staff to help develop our company culture. All of the practices above tie into this one.
Of course, even with these practices in place, it’s not perfect every day. But that’s where a culture of trust, feedback, and mutual respect really comes into play. From our executive team to our entry-level staff, we try our best to foster an environment where everyone is willing to put in the daily effort to get us as close to balance as possible. As the CEO, I might set the vision, but an empowered team is the only way to successfully achieve it.
Follow Gideon Pfeffer on LinkedIn.