Being the boss is hard, being the owner of a small business and the boss is even harder. It’s completely natural to want to dish to your employees about the hardships of your day–you likely have a lot in common with those awesome people you hired, you see them all the time, and they are genuinely interested in the well being of your business.
The problem is though, that however awesome they are, they are still your employees—they look to your for stability, guidance and leadership. There are some things they just shouldn’t know about you, no matter how tempting it may be to overshare. As the boss, here are 10 of the things your employees don’t want to know (or don’t need to know) about you:
1. How Much Money You Make
Whether you are suffering or celebrating in the amount of cash your business is making, your employees don’t need to know how much of it you’re taking home. I know that small business owners do a lot of work and take on a lot of risk. You deserve to be making it big if you are, but you don’t need to share that information with your dedicated employees.
2. How Hard You are Trying
Stop. Just stop with the “feel sorry for me because I’m trying so hard to be a good business owner” sob story. People (yes, even you) make mistakes, it happens. If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and move on with your business. Telling all your employees that you “tried hard” to do whatever it is you failed to do is not going to make them feel better about it.
3. How Much Money You Spend on Yourself
Your employees don’t need to know how many thousands of dollars of kitchen supplies you buy each month. Likely, they can’t afford to buy the same amount of kitchen supplies, and if they could, they probably don’t have time to use said kitchen supplies because they work hard for your small business. No one needs to know what your personal bank account looks like.
In fact, this is a good time to point out that your employees should never have access to your personal bank account. If they have access to it because it’s the same as your business account, I suggest you look into accounting services, like, yesterday. Same rule applies to your online shopping—if you want to buy some goodies from Amazon, cool, but get a personal Prime account so your office workers aren’t accessing all your purchases.
4. That Your Time is More Valuable than Their Time
Everyone has a story, everyone has something they are working through, and everyone is busy. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of your small business and imagine yourself as the only superhero. You are not, and everyone is making sacrifices to do their best work. Consider this when communicating with your employees.
5. That You are Overwhelmed and Too Busy to do Your Job Well
It is your responsibility to find a work life balance that fits your business life, and it can admittedly be hard to find that. However, letting on to your employees that you haven’t quite found that balance is a no-no. Owning a small business is busy, and overwhelming, and, at times, you will likely be doing too many jobs, not very well. Understand that, but don’t share it with your staff.
Respond to emails in a timely manner, show up at meetings you are scheduled for, and make clear times that you can be reached. Remember that your business is the livelihood of your staff, and telling them that you are too busy to respond to their needs is not only an insult to the time they are putting into your business, but can affect how well they can do their jobs.
6. How Much You Hate Your Job
Again, having a small business can be hard. But no one told you it was going to be easy, and you got yourself into this mess. Sharing how unhappy you are with your work is not good for morale, and it’s unprofessional. You can’t expect people to give you their best if you (the owner!) don’t even believe in your company. I’m not saying you have to love every minute of owning a small business, but put on your best face when speaking with your employees.
7. Your Personal Morality
Unless it relates specifically to the job your employees are asked to do, your morals and/or beliefs should not be something that you wear on your sleeve. If there is something you don’t want your staff to do or have (like visible tattoos, or an unnatural hair color, for example) this should be put in a contract and clearly stated. Beyond that, your staff do not need to know what you think about specific lifestyles, life choices, or really anything that doesn’t relate to their jobs.
8. The Financial State of the Business
You may think that telling your staff how much their recent raises “are hurting the bank” shows your commitment to paying them fair wages. Sharing the poor financial state of the business does many things, but it doesn’t inspire confidence from your staff. If does show them that you didn’t financially plan for the raise you gave them. It shakes their confidence in your ability to keep the ship afloat. It also makes them feel like you regret giving them more money.
9. That You Actually Have No Idea How to Use a Computer
Can’t open a Google doc? Use the printer? Attach an image to an email? OK. I get it, you are busy doing other things, and you have staff for that. I am still amazed that there are business owners who really don’t have basic computer skills, but there are! The thing is, no one (outside of the personal assistant who is running your computer) should know that you lack these skills. It seems a bit outdated. And, frankly, a little embarrassing.
10. That You are Glued to Your Phone 24/7
Yes, as a business owner you should be accessible and approachable, but you should also be human. People enjoy working for, well, humans. Small businesses make great employers because employees can see the direct impact of their work on your life, they don’t want to know that your business allows you to have no life. Figure out your balance, find a way to hold yourself to it, and show your staff that you are a functional adult, who has it figured out, even if you haven’t.
Being a small business owner can feel very isolating and lonely, and talking through problems is a great method of stress relief. If you feel like you need an outlet to talk about all these off-limits topics, find a friend who is not involved in the business at all, and let her listen to your problems. Better yet, find another business owner who understands your perspective. Can’t find anyone in your area? Figure out how to use that internet thing and search for online resources; there are ways to connect with any number of small business owners all over the world.
Did I miss anything? Let me know anything your employees shouldn’t know about you in the comments below.
About the Author
Carlye Cunniff is a freelance writer, professional dancer and small business owner. She lives in Seattle, WA and loves to help people realize their freelancing dreams. You can find her at CarlyeWrites.com.