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by John Ingrisano

The Freestyle Entrepreneur

As a hands-on manager-owner, your most important business-building tool is your attitude

I saw a great example of how this works a few months ago when meeting with two fast-food restaurant managers, both affiliated with the same chain.  The stores were almost identical in terms of demographics, and both relied heavily on part-time teenagers as their primary source of labor.

One manager complained that she could not get good help, that teenagers today did not know how to work or want to learn.  When speaking about her team, she seethed with annoyance.  She had nothing positive to say about her employees and had a great deal of turnover. 

The other manager, on the other hand, liked his staff and openly expressed his pleasure at their youthful exuberance and energy.  He had nothing but praise for his workers; he also  had about one-third the turnover as the other manager. 

What was the difference?  Attitude!  That was it, and everything else flowed from that.  When it came to their employees, I asked both managers three key questions:  “Who hired them?  Who trained them?  Who kept the slackers on staff?”  

The first manager, desperate for help, hired pretty much anyone willing to fill out an application.  Her training was spotty and on-the-fly.  She also filled out the weekly schedule without consulting her employees.  “These are your hours,” she told them.  No wonder she had an attitude problem with her team.  They caught it from her.

 The second manager, on the other hand, carefully screened all applicants.  He knew that hiring the wrong person was worse than being short-staffed.  He took his time.  He also either personally trained all new hires or had his assistant manager do the job.  For the first three months on the job, no employee was more than a quick shout-out from a supervisor when he or she had a question, and the employees were encouraged to ask lots of questions.  As a result, the training was monitored, consistent and thorough. 

 He was also quick to correct a mistake.  When an employee came on board with a bad attitude or proved to be less than reliable, he let that person go as quickly as possible.  That way, his good employees saw that he was fair and not asking them to pick up for a slacker.   

Finally, he worked with his employees when it came time for scheduling.  It was a team effort.  And when a conflict arose, he either helped resolve it or jumped in himself to fill the gap. He also put in double time during final exam time, so his employees could focus on their studies.    

Most of all, all that he did was nothing more than a reflection of his positive attitude toward his employees and his business.  He treated his team with respect, while also insisting that they work hard.  He was committed to them and, in turn, they were committed to him.

The bottom line:  If you have problems growing your business and/or keeping good help, do a little honest soul searching.  Remember, when a business succeeds, all credit should go to the employees.  And when your business struggles or you have morale and attitude problems, that is because YOU are doing something wrong. 

So, work hard, make money, have fun … and make sure you bring the right attitude to your business every day.  — JRI  

Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes
are a secret power working twenty-four
hours a day, for good or bad. It is of
paramount importance that we know how
to harness and control this great force.”
                        — Tom Blandi

John Ingrisano

The Freestyle Entrepreneur    

209  Church Street

Algoma, WI 54201

(920) 559-3722



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1 Comment(s)

  1. Sam | Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Great post! Apart from having a good attitude, being patient is also a vital skill to have for entrepreneurs. So many times entrepreneurs blow their chances due to impatience and restlessness.

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