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Whether you currently have employees or not, the chances are that as your business grows, so will your need to have employees. At the outset, you will probably be playing the role of manager, in addition to the other roles you play.

Managing employees is cited as being the biggest problem to small business owners. This is because employers very often don’t know how to handle employees. Effectively managing employees is a skill acquired through training and practice. Many books have been written on the subject, and courses are regularly offered through educational institutions. If you are hiring or managing staff, you should spend some time reading and taking courses on this topic. By applying some basic principles of respect and encouragement in the development of each staff member as an important individual, you will reap the rewards of loyal, trustworthy, and dependable staff. The following sums up the course on human relations (source anonymous):

The 6 most important words: “I admit I made a mistake.”
The 5 most important words: “You did a good job.”
The 4 most important words: “What is your opinion?”
The 3 most important words: “If you please.”
The 2 most important words: “Thank you.”
The 1 most important word: “We”
The least important word: “I”

Leadership style
A leader is one who is in control, takes charge of a situation, and is decisive. A good leader or manager is fair, firm, and consistent, as well as flexible. Being flexible doesn’t mean that you have to change your personality. You can be firm and still be friendly; you can be decisive and still be polite. You can give someone more freedom without giving away the company. The better you are at knowing how to treat your employees, the more effective you will be as a manager. And the employer-employee relationship will be more satisfying to both parties.

Hierarchy of needs
Many theorists believe that people have different need levels in their work environment. They progress from one stage to the next, although some people “plateau” or stay at a certain stage for a period of time before advancing on. Briefly, the stages follow:

The basic or survival level is the starting point. In order to accept a position, a person needs to be assured that the wages offered are sufficient to meet his/her basic needs for survival (food, shelter).

A person’s security needs relate to job, financial, and health security. These are most often addressed by an employer in a benefits package. Examples include: training and development, tuition fees for night courses, seniority systems, wage incentive plans, profit-sharing plans, insurance, pensions, medical/dental plans.

Having satisfied the basic and security needs, a person then seeks to satisfy his/her social needs. Having an opportunity to learn new skills, to make suggestions on his/her area or department, to interact with other staff, to attend staff meetings and be called upon for input are examples of how social needs may be met.

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