How to Get Your Team to Give It Their All

One question I hear again and again from the landscaping pros I coach and consult with is how can they get their teams to think like an owner. How can they get them to care as much as they do about the bottom line? How can they get them to give the job their all rather than just punch the clock?

My answer is always first to tell owners the honest truth: Your teams will almost never care as much as you do for the simple reason that it isn’t their company—it’s yours. You own the bulk of the responsibilities and challenges, but you also take the lion’s share of the successes. That’s entrepreneurship’s great risk and also its great reward.

That said, in my experience most employees care more than owners tend to think they do, and there are concrete steps you can take to motivate them to care more.

Give your team members some measure of autonomy. No one likes working for a micro-manager. Have confidence in your team to make good decisions and then give them the reins to do it. You don’t need to be a part of every interview, purchase decision, or communication. Clearly articulate your vision for your company, clarify roles and responsibilities, train your teams well, and create a meaningful reporting structure that keeps them regularly accountable—and then back off. You’ll be surprised by what your team can accomplish without you, and the confidence you’ll instill in them in the process will in turn inspire them to do their best.

Focus on results, not tactics. If you want to get the most out of your team, the “my way or the highway” approach just won’t cut it. At my landscaping company, my sales team and I meet every week to review our numbers, chart what’s in the pipeline, and share closing tactics that work. But we’re all individuals, each with our own personalities and preferences, and what works for me is not necessarily what will work for—or feel natural—to them. And that’s fine—I hire people, not clones. What matters is the results, and they consistently meet or surpass their numbers. They care about the job they do because they’re left to do it in their own way, making it a true reflection of their talent and skill.

Have a good week, and happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!