Have you ever wondered why some of members of your team continually meet and exceed your expectations, while others constantly need direction and perform to the most minimum standards? They look for ways to improve, are full of great ideas and enthusiastic about being part of your team. Small businesses need employees who regularly demonstrate entrepreneurial characteristics and work habits that take the company to a higher level. What does an entrepreneurial employee look like? Here are the qualities they demonstrate.

Able to deal with risk – make progress towards goals and make decisions even when lacking all the information. They are not afraid to make wrong decisions, and if they do, learn from them and move on.

Results-oriented – take ownership to get tasks done; “can do” people who demonstrate common sense in decisions and actions. They are able to resolve problems that often divert or distract others and see alternatives to roadblocks.

Display energy and enthusiasm – consistently generate higher-than-expected output with limited supervision. They are able to motivate themselves and are good at establishing priorities. They are not clock-watchers and do what’s required to finish their tasks.

Desire to grow – constantly looking for ways to grow skills and experience. They are willing to accept higher levels of responsibility than the norm and act as strong role models in the company, training and coaching others.

Strong team players – recognize how their role contributes to the overall success of the organization, accept accountability and ownership for areas of responsibility and expect the same of others.

Ability to multi-task – flexible and able to accept new duties, assignments and responsibilities. They can perform more than one role when required and are willing to dig in and do routine work tasks that others put off.

Improvement-oriented – willing to challenge existing procedures and systems in a constructive way. They suggest improvements frequently and encourage others to do the same. They are willing to accept constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve their performance.

Imagine if everyone who worked for you demonstrated these qualities! Here’s how you can create a business culture that encourages and develops an entrepreneurial spirit.

  1. Look for an entrepreneurial attitude when hiring. Ask questions of potential employees that give you a picture of whether they have these qualities. Anyone can be trained to do a specific task, but someone with an entrepreneurial attitude will continue to surprise you with what they can accomplish in your business.
  2. Teach your team what it means to be an entrepreneurial employee. Let your team know you want to establish an environment where those things are valued and rewarded. Teach them what means to demonstrate them specifically – in your company.
  3. Reward those who excel in these areas. Provide incentives for those who regularly exhibit entrepreneurial characteristics. Acknowledge and reward them in front of the team and encourage others to follow suit.
  4. Build these expectations into your performance evaluations. Make them measurable elements of your team’s performance evaluation. It establishes these qualities as an important part of your company’s values and the culture you want to build, as well as demonstrates how they are connected to greater opportunities within your company.
  5. Demonstrate those qualities yourself. Leading by example is the best way to help your team see and understand what you expect and how it makes a difference in your company.

If you’re looking for a positive way to re-energize your team, nurture and grow entrepreneurial characteristics in your employees. They will be more invested in your success and those who embrace it will keep you at the top of your game. Their enthusiasm will be infectious to other team members and you’ll develop a dynamic culture that will help you create business success.