As a business owner you have to be strong in so many different ways. You have to be willing to do things that most other people just don’t have the stomach for.
In the lawn and landscape industry there are a lot of business owners who have constant and direct contact with their employees. Depending on the size of your organization, you may be side by side with your employees out in the field on a daily basis. It’s almost impossible to avoid getting to know your employees when this is the case. You are in the trenches together – sweating, hustling, and working to achieve a goal.
You talk, you share stories, you laugh together. Like I said, it is almost unavoidable. But it is your job as the boss – as the owner of your company – to know when and where to draw the line.
Being a good person is not a bad thing. Being helpful and understanding as an employer can be dangerous though. In fact, if you are too nice, you will quickly be taken advantage of. I see it all the time.
Employees get comfortable. They think since you were together for 3 straight days digging holes or mulching a complex together, they now have some lee-way. They have the right to goof around a little bit, or be a few minutes late, or take their time when they need to pick up the pace. They start to ask for favors – an advance in pay, a day off, or they just expect you to buy them lunch.
Nip this in the bud. Make it clear that even though you may work together, that does not change the fact that he is an employee with a job to do and the expectations and responsibilities have not changed.
The first time you turn a blind eye to something, you are inviting more of the same. This can be deadly if you have multiple employees. If others see one guy get away with being late or making bad decisions, they feel it is their right to do the same.
Do not let this happen. Make it clear that you are a nice guy and you want to create a pleasant working environment, but work is work. Everyone has a job to do and no one has the right or option to take advantage of you or the business.