Leadership in a small business is absolutely essential. There is no bureaucratic safety net in small business such as can be found in corporate environments. For this reason, every small business manager must learn to become the best leader he or she can be. These eight strategies will help you become a better leader.
1. Live the vision
Think about every corporate bureaucrat with whom you’ve ever done business. Quite simply, corporations create visions and mission statements to align the entire infrastructure around a certain set of goals created by upper management. You are in control of this set of goals in your business. Therefore, creating and living a vision (speak it, act according to it, etc.) will create more business unity and consistency in your work environment. Leadership is a natural by-product of vision.
If vision is your set of goals, strategy is your plan for achieving them. A leader without strategy or vision is not effective no matter how well people adhere to his instructions. Adhere to strategies when coaching employees in your small business.
3. Manage the management
Micromanagement is one of the most destructive forces in a business. Employees are hired because they are competent enough to handle a position. If they’re not, replace them. If they are, allow them to make decisions in their personal work environments. Allowing employees to take care of their own problems while leading the entire business to its goals will result in more effective leadership.
4. Use benchmarks
A big part of the management process is to monitor results of strategies and make adjustments if necessary. Leadership is no exception. Benchmark the performance of units under your leadership to make sure that they are performing well, and if they are your leadership style is improving.
5. Integrity and trust
Quite frankly, employees respond to quality characteristics in leaders. If you bring a sense of integrity in your leadership and coaching style, your employees will trust you. And as every business owner knows, trusting employees provide quality results.
There is a certain amount of leeway that good leaders can use while maintaining strategies. A good leader is able to recognise and use this flexibility to his or her advantage. Think about the new car salesman trying to make a sale – if his manager gives him leeway, he may make the sale. If not, the buyers may get fed up with them having to always “ask the supervisor”.
7. Give credit where its due
If the last century of business research has taught us anything, it’s that positive reinforcement is crucial to employee development. Provide coaching to employees and honour them when they perform well. Remember, some employees will respond well to praise and others to pay.
8. Understand your place on the space-time continuum
Good leaders remain relevant. When a member of management understands the vision and direction of the business, the direction of his or her department and the general attitude of his or her employees, then they can make powerful leadership decisions.