Your employees can’t read your mind

The client on the other end of the phone was on the verge of tears: “My employees are driving me crazy!”

Carrying the weight of small business ownership is no small feat and you can’t do it alone. Even if you don’t have W2 employees, you likely still employ contractors to make your enterprise work.

Unfortunately, every person you hire (or contract with) brings their own set of quirks and idiosyncrasies with them to the party.

But here’s where you can do yourself a favor and, quite likely, eliminate a great deal of the frustration you experience with the people who work for you:

Tell them what you want them to do.

Specifically, clearly, unapologetically. Just tell them.

I’m sure this seems ridiculous on the surface but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the following exchange with a client:

THEM: this person always [insert frustrating behavior here]!

ME: What did they say when you told them you wanted them to stop [frustrating behavior] or [insert desired behavior]?


You’re the owner. You get to dictate how things get done. Be compassionate and don’t try to control every aspect of their work, but it’s okay to say, “this isn’t working for me, I need you to…”

Being direct affords you the ability to assess their progress toward an outcome you have voiced clearly instead of constantly being frustrated by their performance and your tacit acceptance of that performance.

Now it’s up to them.

I can’t guarantee that every employee will rise to the challenge, but you will likely find that many actually want to do the best job possible and now have the insight to be more successful.

There are myriad reasons why employing people will drive you a little crazy, but it cannot be because you don’t tell them what you want.