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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Featured Biz Question

"I need some motivation strategies for staff who are in a creative/sales environment; plus I'd love any advice on how to be a friend and a boss."
---Jesse in Minnesota, owner of a dance studio/instruction business

Answer from our Guest Expert Terri Levine of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc.

Hi, Jesse,

Your request for tips on employee motivation and for solving the dilemma of being friend and boss are very common. Probably nearly every small business owner has wrestled with these issues at one point or another. So thanks for taking the time to ask them here at Idea Cafe.

Motivating Your Staff

It's important to understand that often motivation is an "inside job" and not an "outside thing" we do to people or provide for employees. The trick is to get the people excited themselves, from their inside. You can be inspirational with external employee programs and incentives, but until someone's spirit and drive is enflamed internally, your outside efforts won't be as effective.

So heck! How do you get "inside" your staff to motivate them? I offer you the following tips for helping others get themselves turned on:

  • Have them focus on what's right and what's working. Keep the positive moves and steps in the forefront.
  • Ask them what they want to feel. Help them create and reflect on their ideal visions.
  • Notice what's not quite right yet, and brainstorm with them how to make it better for everyone.
  • Stop the chatter about what's not working.
Friend and Boss

Many people experience difficulty in being both a boss and a friend. I've even heard it said you can't do both. However, I've proved them wrong, and you can too.

To be a boss, you set limits, boundaries, clearly communicate and speak your truth. To be a friend, you follow that same advice. To wear both hats, you simply need to always speak truthfully. With respect to employees, let them know, without any charge or judgment, when something isn't quite right and that you're wearing the "boss" hat. Never make statements about them as people -- only make statements about their behaviors that aren't quite right.

Enjoy your employees, be friendly with them and focus on having them motivate themselves!

Terri Levine, President,

Author, Work Yourself Happy and Coaching for an Extraordinary Life


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About the Expert

Terri Levine
Owner of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc.
Fed up with her high-paying, corporate job, Terri took control of her life and became a biz coach (and published author). She loves helping others to "work happy" in her new biz. more