Five tips for fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within your team Five tips for fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within your team

Five tips for fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within your team
04 Jun 2018

If you are keen to foster an entrepreneurial spirit within your team, it all starts with creating a safe workplace environment. But while many employers have safety committees to try and combat physical workplace injuries, they do not usually have emotional safety groups to combat workplace anxiety.

The problem is that most leaders fail to see that their organisations are often brimming with fear. Everyday, employees come to work and are expected to hit certain standards, navigate sometimes tricky relationships with co-workers and adjust to seemingly endless change within the business.

But many are struggling to prevent friction, trying hard not to rock the boat and most of all being careful to hide their angst. The problem is that in doing so, it means that most managers are unaware of what is going on beneath the surface and so cannot affect the positive change necessary to create a high-performance culture.

Therefore, as wacky as it sounds, it actually makes sense to set up an emotional safety committee to focus on boosting morale and fostering a more entrepreneurial spirit. Such committees are tasked with tracking key indicators of staff fear and developing methods of creating a more secure and productive work environment. Here are some suggestions of possible approaches they could take:

1. Guard against gossiping

Workplace gossip acts as a real dampener on fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Nothing hurts trust, team-building, creativity and strategic-thinking faster than gossip. It has a unique ability to raise employees’ fear levels.

While it may seem harmless to chat about a colleague’s poor decision or ill-thought out action, it is not. This kind of apparently harmless chatter generates self-doubt, self-deception and erodes self-confidence.

Managers should make a concerted effort to shut down such gossip by rewarding employees who do not indulge in such chitchat and reprimanding those who do. Instead staff should be encouraged to support their colleagues, particularly when things go wrong as it can be a useful learning experience for everyone.

2. Blame inadequate processes, procedures and communication first:

Blame is nearly as bad as gossip. When things go wrong or are not as successful as they could have been, it is easy to point the finger at someone else. But doing so is a sign of a fearful workplace. By directing the focus away from yourself onto someone else, your own anxieties are reduced, but trust is destroyed in the process.

Most workplace problems are down to issues with processes, procedures, and communication. As a result, fingers should always be pointed there first, although doing so will take practice. If managers hear team members being blamed for something, it is important they step in and redirect that blame towards the true cause of the problem such as a communication failure.

3. Focus ahead

Organisations can get so caught up in dissecting missed opportunities that they fail to look ahead. Staff who are buried in paperwork, worried about missing deadlines or anxious as to whether their performance is falling short will be too preoccupied by their to-do lists to have time to think about innovating. Stress hormones such as cortisol will rise and their creative abilities will be stifled.

If managers can develop a safe environment though, cortisol levels inevitably drop and happy brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine increase. As they do so, it becomes easier to tap into a team’s entrepreneurial spirit.

4. Encourage new ways of being

Employees typically work to earn enough money to live. Many of them stopped dreaming about their future and their legacy a long time ago. So it can be an alien concept to come to work and create something or do something new beyond just completing their assigned duties.

It also does not help that society encourages people to follow orders and do as they are told. So it is no wonder that many employers find it difficult to encourage people to think strategically or innovate on the job.

This means that managers must create an environment in which staff feel safe enough to contribute their thoughts, perhaps by providing them with a structured platform in which to do so. If employees choose to engage, they must be rewarded quickly and consistently or the danger is they simply fall back into old habits.

5. Ensure clear communication

Most people talk all day long, every day, but that does not mean they are effective communicators. Poor communication can be the result of many issues but most managers do not teach their employees to communicate more effectively. They also fail to spend enough time ensuring their own communications are clear. But this widespread lack of clarity provides an environment in which fear can develop and thrive.

How to counter a fearful environment

Emotional safety committees can help create more innovative environments. If managers act on their recommendations and policies and work to combat fear using some of the guidance above, they will discover that developing an entrepreneurial spirit within their team is not as difficult as it first appears. All it takes is a change of focus and a bit of time.

 Virginia Phillips 

Virginia Phillips is an author, public speaker, podcaster and award-winning coach, who helps individuals develop leadership skills, build their confidence and create opportunities for success.

 

 

If you are keen to foster an entrepreneurial spirit within your team, it all starts with creating a safe workplace environment. But while many employers have safety committees to try and combat physical workplace injuries, they do not usually have emotional safety groups to combat workplace anxiety.

The problem is that most leaders fail to see that their organisations are often brimming with fear. Everyday, employees come to work and are expected to hit certain standards, navigate sometimes tricky relationships with co-workers and adjust to seemingly endless change within the business.

But many are struggling to prevent friction, trying hard not to rock the boat and most of all being careful to hide their angst. The problem is that in doing so, it means that most managers are unaware of what is going on beneath the surface and so cannot affect the positive change necessary to create a high-performance culture.

Therefore, as wacky as it sounds, it actually makes sense to set up an emotional safety committee to focus on boosting morale and fostering a more entrepreneurial spirit. Such committees are tasked with tracking key indicators of staff fear and developing methods of creating a more secure and productive work environment. Here are some suggestions of possible approaches they could take:

1. Guard against gossiping

Workplace gossip acts as a real dampener on fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Nothing hurts trust, team-building, creativity and strategic-thinking faster than gossip. It has a unique ability to raise employees’ fear levels.

While it may seem harmless to chat about a colleague’s poor decision or ill-thought out action, it is not. This kind of apparently harmless chatter generates self-doubt, self-deception and erodes self-confidence.

Managers should make a concerted effort to shut down such gossip by rewarding employees who do not indulge in such chitchat and reprimanding those who do. Instead staff should be encouraged to support their colleagues, particularly when things go wrong as it can be a useful learning experience for everyone.

2. Blame inadequate processes, procedures and communication first:

Blame is nearly as bad as gossip. When things go wrong or are not as successful as they could have been, it is easy to point the finger at someone else. But doing so is a sign of a fearful workplace. By directing the focus away from yourself onto someone else, your own anxieties are reduced, but trust is destroyed in the process.

Most workplace problems are down to issues with processes, procedures, and communication. As a result, fingers should always be pointed there first, although doing so will take practice. If managers hear team members being blamed for something, it is important they step in and redirect that blame towards the true cause of the problem such as a communication failure.

3. Focus ahead

Organisations can get so caught up in dissecting missed opportunities that they fail to look ahead. Staff who are buried in paperwork, worried about missing deadlines or anxious as to whether their performance is falling short will be too preoccupied by their to-do lists to have time to think about innovating. Stress hormones such as cortisol will rise and their creative abilities will be stifled.

If managers can develop a safe environment though, cortisol levels inevitably drop and happy brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine increase. As they do so, it becomes easier to tap into a team’s entrepreneurial spirit.

4. Encourage new ways of being

Employees typically work to earn enough money to live. Many of them stopped dreaming about their future and their legacy a long time ago. So it can be an alien concept to come to work and create something or do something new beyond just completing their assigned duties.

It also does not help that society encourages people to follow orders and do as they are told. So it is no wonder that many employers find it difficult to encourage people to think strategically or innovate on the job.

This means that managers must create an environment in which staff feel safe enough to contribute their thoughts, perhaps by providing them with a structured platform in which to do so. If employees choose to engage, they must be rewarded quickly and consistently or the danger is they simply fall back into old habits.

5. Ensure clear communication

Most people talk all day long, every day, but that does not mean they are effective communicators. Poor communication can be the result of many issues but most managers do not teach their employees to communicate more effectively. They also fail to spend enough time ensuring their own communications are clear. But this widespread lack of clarity provides an environment in which fear can develop and thrive.

How to counter a fearful environment

Emotional safety committees can help create more innovative environments. If managers act on their recommendations and policies and work to combat fear using some of the guidance above, they will discover that developing an entrepreneurial spirit within their team is not as difficult as it first appears. All it takes is a change of focus and a bit of time.

 Virginia Phillips 

Virginia Phillips is an author, public speaker, podcaster and award-winning coach, who helps individuals develop leadership skills, build their confidence and create opportunities for success.