You’ve heard the horror stories of employees with terrible bosses, you’ve spent hours hoping you weren’t that boss and not knowing how to tell if you did something wrong. The truth is, it’s a lot more effective to focus on what you can do to make your employee’s lives better. So to help you do that, we’re starting the Employee Diaries.
What They Are:
These are stories from Grow Disrupt employees, highlighting the things that Stephanie has done that made their lives easier as employees and helped them find ownership in their roles within the company.
This Week: Susannah Scheller, “Stop Indulging Your Savior Complex.”
Something that I’ve noticed about a lot of business owners is their desire to keep their employees employed and happy. Which is wonderful! As an employee, I greatly appreciate that.
But something I didn’t realize was actually harmful to my effectiveness as an employee was the “Savior” complex that business owners have.
“Wait! How did you know I have a savior complex Susannah?” Well Stephanie, turns out a LOT of small business owners have a savior complex (also known as the Hero Complex) - even if they don’t think they do!
Business owners are these phenomenal people who are going out there to change the world with their company. They see a change they want to effect and they go after it like there’s no tomorrow! Business owners truly are the every-day superheroes of the world.
But when that superhero tries to manage people, they treat their people like they treat the change they want to see in the world: something they have to protect and manage alone. Business owners constantly take actions like cutting their own paycheck so their employee’s paychecks don’t suffer.
The problem? It leaves you with employees who don’t understand the stakes of their work.
Instead of realizing that their work directly impacts the way that the company grows, changes, and expands, they tend to just puddle along in their work doing whatever feels best 90% of the time. To be honest? That was me for a very long time.
I wasn’t that employee who just messed around while on the clock or ignored tasks, but I certainly wasn’t performing at the level that would help her truly grow the company.
Here’s what Stephanie did that snapped me out of it.
I always thought it was weird when Stephanie started telling me and the other employees about the profit margins and how the different events were doing (in the red, in the black, etc.). But it made me start to realize that what I was doing actually had an impact on the company. Instead of seeing my day-to-day as a “Oh, I just do this for the sake of doing it” it became a “Oh, how can I make this more efficient so we can find other ways to make this more profitable for all of us?”
A Quick Note:
That’s not to say that Stephanie beat me over the brow with the company’s financials. Please don’t do that to your employees! The good ones will feel beaten down and the bad ones won’t care. Additionally, if you’re going to start sharing this information, make sure you’re also giving your employees space to actually impact it and reward them when they positive do!
All Stephanie did was begin to share facts about how the different areas of the company were doing at our monthly team meetings, and suddenly I began to realize that it wasn’t a one horse sleigh. This was a team and I was a part of determining whether or not we failed or succeeded.
Whether or not Stephanie had that intended outcome, I don’t know. What I do know is that it took her setting aside her savior complex a little bit and coming to us to say “hey, we’re all in this together. We make or break this company, and we do it together.”
And when she did that, it lit a fire in me that burned to see the company grow for her and for me.
About the Author:
Susannah Scheller is the Technology Director and Engagement Curator for Grow Disrupt, and was the first permanent hire made by Stephanie! She has spent countless hours studying the world of business under Stephanie, and has over 5 years of experience in content creation and Technology Execution. Having recently completed her Bachelor of Music, she has begun devoting her focus to the creation of content that helps to support small business owners’ company growth the world over.