When it comes to innovation in the business world, the greatest idea is only a shell without the right people on the bus to give it life.  

Brandon Thompson, a serial entrepreneur who is currently building a small empire of Walk-On’s restaurants, came to a point where he was not able to reach his full potential as an owner. He knew he had to figure out a way to build great teams that would not only bring overall success to the business but would also allow it to grow.

Not willing to give up any responsibility but overwhelmed with the multitude of responsibilities that came with owning his now 6 restaurants (4 of which are in the pipeline), Brandon began to tactfully delegate and found that doing so not only built uncommon trust with workers but allowed his success to grow to heights he had never imagined.

He shared with me three key leadership strategies that busy entrepreneurs can use to build and retain the perfect team.

1. Give them a test run.

Use working interviews (i.e. having them come in for a shift or help out in your office for a day under the supervision of a current employee) to assure a potential new team member can not only “talk the talk,” but can also “walk the walk.” This ensures they have the right skill set, but also tests if they put the ideals of the team first.

2. Balance being hands-on and hands-off.

Allow room for your team to be accountable and make decisions. This helps them feel they have a direct impact on your company’s success. As your team becomes more ingrained on a day-to-day basis it allows bigger, better ideas to come through as well. Encourage your employees/management to make big decisions in realms such as hiring processes, new initiatives, etc. When they come with questions, encourage them to bring you what they think would be the right response–a healthy debate can lead to a productive decision that has the potential to boost your bottom line.

3. Create motivation to increase retention.

Most people are not intrinsically motivated so a great way to keep your team going and retain the best people for the job, is to find ways to consistently show them you appreciate them. Take them out for lunch, give out unplanned bonuses for a job well done, even take them on small trips–anything to show them you appreciate their work and care about them as a person.

Originally published in Inc.

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