“People want to be part of courageous companies. They want to follow leaders who are willing to show their cards and ask for help.”— Misti Burmeister

With the start of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) looming, most business leaders are fretting about the financial impact of being forced to spend more on health care coverage for employees. If you’re a business owner, you’re probably wondering how you will keep the lights on and doors open while also paying high premiums to cover your team.

Many executives are dealing with the added expense by either reducing employees’ hours or shifting employees into contracting roles. I am sure there are many other creative ways to avoid or lighten this financial burden, but there might be other options.

While many leaders are looking for ways to avoid the increased HR costs, few are recognizing one of the biggest benefits of this challenge – shared irritation.

While hundreds of articles have been published on the importance of authenticity and vulnerability, I’m surprised how few leaders capitalize on stressors like the ACA to strengthen their teams … and their businesses.

When faced with this clear and present challenge (fear of financial loss or even bankruptcy due to rising health care costs), few leaders are capitalizing on the opportunity to ask their teams for help. Why?

They don’t see the opportunity!

Most are too busy watching their own backs to realize that they should be showing their cards – openly discussing their fears and explaining the situation. Doing so increases trust, retention, collaboration, and of course, the bottom line. Being upfront with your team about challenges also gives them the opportunity to help out – to offer ideas and solutions that could lighten your proverbial load.

This kind of vulnerability takes courage, and it creates connection. When you share your problems with your team and make them part of the solution (instead of just cutting their hours and leaving them to fear the worst), they will get creative and passionate about helping you find the right course of action.

They’ll come up with ideas you never considered and will be even more committed to the success of your company. Why? Because you will have proven that you’re committed to them.

Far beyond simply getting creative ideas that will benefit everyone, these sorts of conversations are at the heart of attracting passionate, loyal and dedicated team players.

People want to be part of courageous companies. They want to follow leaders who are willing to show their cards and ask for help. So what are you waiting for?

Join the Conversation: Ask your team for their ideas about how to deal with the ACA, or other challenges you’re facing, and share the best suggestions here.

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

Misti on Google+