It might seem like an obvious piece of advice to offer compliments to your employees, but it works

While there are lots of perks when it comes to owning your own business and managing a team of dedicated staff, being the boss can be hard. Just ask Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and production company head Simon Cowell, who all own their own businesses.

South African business owners have it particularly rough, with destructive international relations affecting the rand, sky-rocketing petrol prices, and Eskom planning stage-five and -six load shedding.

“For the average worker, this bombardment of negative news can easily affect their workflow. And as a manager or CEO, it’s your main mandate to keep those billables rolling over, so it’s in your best interests to keep the team’s morale high,” says Godfrey Madanhire, professional motivational speaker and life coach, serial entrepreneur, as well as published author of The Passport and producer of The Passport Showcase.

Godfrey shares a few tips to help companies keep their productivity high:

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Be an involved and genuine boss

It takes work, but it’s at times like these you need to be a genuine and caring employer. Simple steps can be taken to alleviate the stress of your team. These don’t always need to financially incentivised, but can be planning and organising lift clubs to cut transport costs, a subsidised lunch once a week to help combat the cost of living, or maybe beefed up security if that is an issue. Taking the time to put these small measures in place will go a long way toward boosting the morale of your staff. Getting rid of some of the external stresses of employees will allow them to focus more at work.

Solution-based thinking

Too often as a society, we focus on the problematic issues and allow our stress levels to spiral out of control, taking a negative dive into the deep end. If you want proof of the power of negativity just tune into a talk radio station and listen to the average caller. As the leader of your team, you need to be positive and provide solutions.

Be adaptive and allow your employees to mould their own environment. It’s not disruptive if the environment allows them to work more comfortably

Rather than shutting down the office because of load shedding, invest in some power alternatives. A basic inverter will keep your Internet router running, and with a laptop battery able to hold its charge for multiple hours, your staff should cruise through it. If you’re feeling flashy, invest in a gas stove or a system that can boil a kettle. Merely by providing simple solutions, and sheltering your staff from external issues, your team’s mood will be lifted at the end of the day. A day without having to deal with problems is good for mental health.

Compliment staff

It might seem like an obvious piece of advice to offer compliments to your employees, but it works! Verbal acknowledgements should be around work achievements. You’d be amazed by the power of a positive compliment. A simple, ‘Well done!’ or ‘That was inspired!’ will do. When an employee has proof that you appreciate the work they’ve accomplished they’ll be inspired to push for better returns. If you remember to be an employer who is involved, genuine, solutions-based and shares positivity in the workspace, you’ll be on your way to leading a productive team.

Competition is key for you and staff

Humans are by nature competitive and those who tell you otherwise just haven’t found a situation to be competitive about yet. Encouraging healthy work competition can help motivate your staff to achieve. There’s no need to have an actual trophy to strive for, just create goals for them to obtain and ones that’ll help model them into better people.

Create a fun corporate culture

It’s a piece of jargon that is thrown around boardroom tables, but actually instilling it is another story. No matter how hard you might try with corporate events, the truth is it’s still a work function. Corporate culture should be implemented around the water cooler on a daily basis. Allow your employees to have fun around the office. If it suits a certain department to play music, let them play music.

Be adaptive and allow your employees to mould their own environment. It’s not disruptive if the environment allows them to work more comfortably.

Your employees follow public issues

We all know South Africa has its problems as they’re thrown in our faces daily. Rather than steering away from the issues when employees discuss them, encourage a civil discussion about them. A little conversation or debate is good to ease any built-up anger. South Africans often forget the toll that negative news takes, so it’s important to nurture an environment in which these problems can be discussed in a healthy way.

As with any problem, discussing it is the first step to dealing with it. After talking through the issues, your staff will be able to focus on the task at hand and will automatically feel their morale level improving.