When you’re busy running your own business, it can be easy to slip into unhealthy routines. Chances are, you’re focussed on achieving success and sometimes your determination to reach goals sometimes clouds your perspective. If you have any of these toxic business habits, it’s time to turn things around.
Most franchisees are committed to exceeding their targets and driving growth in their business - but success isn’t just about a big pay packet. A good work/life balance and great mental and physical health should also be on your priority list as an entrepreneur.
Here, we’re looking at some of the toxic business habits franchisees often display, and how you can avoid them.
Toxic business habits to avoid - and why you need to recognise them
1. Working too many hours
Perhaps you rarely take coffee breaks, work through your lunch hour or forget to book holiday - or maybe you find yourself working hours of overtime every night. At the moment, a third of UK employees don’t leave their workplace between arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening - and over half don’t take their full lunch break (Total Jobs).
All of these tendencies are incredibly damaging, and probably set you back in your work life. Taking regular breaks can reduce your stress and improve mental wellbeing, energy and creativity, helping you perform better when you get back to your desk.
2. Checking emails too often
On average, people spend 28 percent of their work day reading and answering emails (McKinsey). But studies reveal a significant reduction in stress among those who check their inbox just three times daily (University of British Columbia).
Spending hours replying to messages and then getting constantly sidetracked by notifications can have a negative effect on your productivity. And, if you find yourself checking your inbox outside of business hours, you may end up damaging your personal relationships, as well as your own mental health.
Checking your email first thing when you get into the office each morning is problematic because it can create a false sense of accomplishment. You answer 40 emails and you feel like you’ve done a lot of work, but in reality you probably still have piles of paperwork, meetings and phone calls to make.
—Tucker Cummings for Lifehack on author Julie Morgenstern’s philosophy
3. Focusing solely on the numbers
According to CVLibrary, twice as many people perceive job satisfaction as a good measure of success compared to a high salary. In fact, people ranked enjoyment, pride in your job, liking your company and making a difference to other people’s lives as more important than income.
Running a franchise unit isn’t just about achieving a high profit margin; if you and your employees are unhappy and unfulfilled, you’ve got a problem. Plus, if you put effort into making your business a welcoming and fun place to work, it’ll probably perform better too.
>> Read more:
4. Comparing your business with its competitors
There are two key reasons why you should never compare your business with someone else’s.
Firstly, it damages your own sense of worth. If you perceive yourself to be underachieving, you’ll probably become dejected, disillusioned and frustrated.
Secondly, you won’t see the full picture at competitor businesses anyway. The successes you perceive on the surface don’t represent the struggles the company has experienced behind closed doors, so it’s not sensible to make comparisons.
5. Trying to take on everything yourself
Many business owners fall into the trap of doing extra jobs here and there, believing it’s easier than explaining tasks to employees and monitoring their progress. You may be the boss, but it’s not your responsibility to do everything.
What’s more, failing to delegate tasks to your employees is harmful not only for you, but for your staff members as well. They’ll miss out on the chance to develop their skills, learn from mistakes and enhance their career prospects. Plus, you may inadvertently develop a team of employees who have low motivation and job satisfaction, and a lack of respect for you.
6. Pursuing perfectionism
It’s impossible to achieve perfection in everything you do, and you can often waste time pursuing this goal when your work is good enough.
Worryingly, perfectionism can be a symptom of more serious mental conditions, such as anxiety, and more and more people seem to be suffering from it. Between 1989 and 2016, levels of socially prescribed perfectionism increased by 33 percent in people from the UK, America and Canada (American Psychological Association).
The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker, sadder and even undermining our own potential.
>> Read more:
- 5 Tips for Developing Your Employees into Future Franchisees
- Being a Successful Franchisee Means Adopting an Entrepreneur Mindset
- 7 Common Habits of Successful Franchisees
- Mythbusters: Common Misconceptions About What Makes a Successful Franchisee
- Five Tips for Boosting Your Self-Confidence as a Business Owner
- Traits of an entrepreneur
7. Taking failure personally
When you’re so closely tied to your business, it’s hard not to see mistakes as a reflection on your own abilities. But a failed franchise doesn’t make you a failure.
As Nietzsche said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it’s vital to view missteps as an opportunity for learning and personal growth. Instead of letting things get to you when you experience a setback, maintain your motivation and keep moving forward.
8. Micromanaging employees
No one likes to be micromanaged; it’s patronising and can lead to feelings of frustration, entrapment and even guilt. Interestingly, almost seven in 10 people have considered leaving their job due to micromanagement - and over a third actually have (Harry Chambers).
Businesses tend to work more efficiently when bosses trust their employees to complete jobs without constantly looking over their shoulders. If you have the urge to maintain total control and check in with staff multiple times a day, try to rein in your habits.
A leader who micromanages has trust and control issues. To help manage that, hold weekly meetings to discuss progress, to minimise the anxiety you feel from not having control.
—Dr. Venessa Marie Perry, Health Resource Solutions, LLC
9. Criticising others openly
According to research, 41 percent of people have argued with someone when they felt unfairly criticised and 34 percent of employees lose motivation to work hard after being verbally knocked (PsychTests.com).
As much as we all like to moan now and again, venting your frustrations in the workplace can establish a toxic culture and place you as untrustworthy and unlikeable. Whether you’re criticising your own employees or just expressing general annoyances, you should learn how to convey your feelings professionally.
10. Forgetting to appreciate your employees
Your employees are there to help you grow your business, but failing to treat them as valued workers will have negative consequences. Forty percent of people work harder if they’re appreciated more (OGO) and 63 percent of valued employees are very unlikely to look for a new job (Bonusly, SurveyMonkey).
Try to avoid springing last-minute requests on people or setting unreasonable targets for your workforce. Treat people as trusted, valued business partners, and they’ll repay your goodwill.
Tips for avoiding burnout through toxic business habits
Here’s how you can turn things around:
- Plan out your day to include non-negotiable breaks and email-free times - and close your inbox when you get home
- Keep emails short and sweet - and only send them when strictly necessary
- Avoid the time-consuming, back-and-forth nature of email by using phone calls, texts, voice notes, video messages or just meeting in person
- If possible, reply to emails when you open them - then, you don’t waste time re-reading them later on
- Use the search box instead of sorting mail into folders - organising and finding emails wastes 14 minutes every day (reported on LinkedIn)
- Don’t dwell on failure or let it affect your future work - move on with a pragmatic, growth-oriented mindset
- Accept imperfection by choosing to stop focussing on the smaller details and see the bigger picture
- When giving feedback, be specific, provide a solution and use a positive tone of voice to encourage improvement
- Take steps to protect your mental health and put wellbeing first by learning the symptoms of burnout and how to avoid it
- If you commute, use the time to rest and listen to mental health podcasts
Kill those toxic business habits
For more inspiration on improving both your professional and personal life, see our article on the top habits of the most successful franchisees. You can find many other informative business guides right here at Point Franchise.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©