Derek Gerber is the global marketing director at Active PDF, the leading global provider of automated, server-side PDF tools. Derek...
Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
Empowerment is the key to employee ownership. This takes many forms from self-reflection on the effect of leadership style on employee performance to providing them time management tools to take ownership of their time.
Understanding the effect of leadership style on employee performance is not nearly covered enough today. We need to learn and master having the emotional stability to be our best selves as leaders.
What I mean by that is you’re only really, really growing when you’re stretching yourself, and to stretch yourself takes a lot of emotional pain.
A lot of times, in fast-growing startups and companies, the reason why the culture gets so frantic and people get so burnt out is because emotionally, they’re being stretched because they’re being asked to do things they’ve never done before. They essentially have to get outside of their comfort zone.
There’s something compelling about getting outside of your safety net, but there’s also something debilitating about it. And that’s where that buzzword comes in- balance.
Our People Over Clients
We believe here at Directive that people are more valuable than clients, and not in a negative way. But we think that if we can keep empowering our people and focus so much on our people, that our clients are consequently going to get better results. Sometimes we focus so much on our clients and all their outcomes and outputs, and we forget about who generates the results.
In marketing, your output is the sum of your inputs, and your inputs are the sum of your people.
If we want to be an agency that has an impact on our clients, we need to empower our people. We need to stretch our people, not due to our structures, but due to our ideas. We want to bring new ideas, challenging things we’ve never tried before to the table.
We want to stretch the limits of what people feel comfortable with, and one of the best ways you can do that is by making sure you have freedom in your daily routine.
Own Your Day- Don’t Let It Own You
The development of time management skills is something we focus on regularly here at Directive.
We require our team to make sure they take at least an hour for lunch. As silly as that sounds, a lot of people at agencies don’t take the lunch they need! I want you to have an hour where you actually have your own time.
The two hours I get every day are what allow me to be on inbox zero, have enough emotional control to communicate with people, and then not react to situations but proactively attack situations. We love for people to go off-site, actually get some air, have their time, and interact with each other.
On top of that, we strongly encourage each team member to take an hour every day for themselves. Every person here has a Calendly because we don’t want people to react to meetings, we want people to proactively schedule meetings.
This means meetings are something you have on your calendar when you’re available, not things that take up all your availability so that you can only focus energy on little ideas.
The importance of time management or lack thereof is often felt immediately. At the end of the day, if you’re giving everything to everyone, you’re giving nothing to no one.
You’re just giving crap work to people because you don’t have enough emotional control to think big and stretch through your defaults.
Create a Reality Where You Can Think Big, Act Big
The reality is, if you don’t have time and space in your calendar, instead of being able to do big ideas which have a significant impact for yourself and for your clients, you end up having little ideas that have little impact for yourself and your clients.
The way you know you’re in that little range is if you’re trying to assess, “Okay, where am I at right now?” The easiest way to ask yourself that is if you keep falling back into your defaults.
Here, we want to stretch our defaults every day.
I try to do this as a CEO, and I ask this of everyone, is, “What’s your default?” Mine, I’ll open up accounting, and I’ll start looking at numbers mindlessly.
Back when I used to do a lot more on client work or on ourselves, I would just open up Google Analytics, and I would kind of just look at things, and really, all I was doing was I was delaying the significant work that I knew I had in front of me, and it was just hurting me.
It wasn’t stretching me. It wasn’t empowering myself. It wasn’t empowering the company.
So, one of the biggest things we want here is that people take lots of breaks, don’t have too many accounts, and then have the freedom to think big. Big ideas with big execution can generate big results.
And it begins with you and your approach to employee ownership and the effect of your leadership style on employee performance.