How to Foster Agreement in Your Contracting Business

When you run a business with employees, you may need to get their buy-in when you make decisions. Although you can certainly rule with an attitude that doesn’t accept dissent, that doesn’t always work out very well. Here are a few tips to foster a culture of agreement and collaboration in your contracting business.

Hire People You Trust
One of the best things that you can do to develop a collaborative workplace is to hire people with whom you want to collaborate. Some business owners are so worried that they will delegate work, and it won’t turn out the way they expected. In this case, they end up hanging onto far too many responsibilities than they can reasonably manage. Instead, invest more time into your hiring process and make sure that the people that you hire are the best qualified for the job. If you trust their knowledge and expertise, you’ll be more likely to seek their input when you need it.

Get Opinions
Once you hire people that you know you can rely on, you have to make opportunities for them to share their knowledge. Employees don’t always expect to share opinions or advise the owner of a business. They may be more reserved with their perspectives, even if they know a better way or have more experience coping with the problem. You can clear this hurdle by making it clear that you are happy to receive input. When you’re talking out a concern with an employee, ask them what they think. You might be surprised by their insight.

Be Willing to Listen
Practically everyone has an experience of working at a company that asked for opinions or complaints but never acted upon it. The trope of the suggestion box that never gets opened or read is a cliché. If you want people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions, you have to do so in a format that feels effective. No one wants to waste their time delving into an issue if they feel that you aren’t actually listening to them. Pick up a few active listening skills, which commonly include:

If you’re getting opinions in writing, be sure to give positive feedback, even if it’s just to say that you will think about it and get back to them later.

Take Advice
The next step in promoting collaboration with your employees is to take good advice when you get it. As a business owner, it can be really tempting to rule out any suggestions as irrelevant, especially if they feel counter-intuitive. On the other hand, you hire people to work with you for a reason, and there’s a decent likelihood that they have experience that doesn’t perfectly overlap with yours. Be willing to try something new, even if it pushes you outside your comfort zone a little. You’ll develop more experience handling problems in different ways, which will make it easier to decide which one works best.

Avoid Reactionary Management
If working together with your employees sounds like you have to do a lot of planning in advance, there’s a good reason for that. Some people’s management style involves a lot of reactionary behaviors, and they aren’t always conducive to a productive workplace. If you find that you tend to change rules abruptly after a single mistake, you might need to rethink it. Make sure that your operating standards come from a place of reason and evidence, not from bad experiences or hurt feelings. That way, you’re always in a position to look forward, not behind.

Creating a business where everyone works together is difficult, but it is definitely worth it. For more information about how you can make a contracting business worth having, visit CSLS today!