Many small businesses start out as one-person operations, but over time it often becomes necessary to recruit employees to enable the business to grow. While business owners might have a wealth of industry knowledge, great marketing skills, or the ability to spot new sales opportunities, there is nothing to say that they will be great at managing people. This can lead to a lack of productivity in a team as well as low motivation and even conflict, so it is vital that all small business owners work on their people management and leadership skills. If you are running a small business and want to improve your team management skills, this guide will outline some key factors to keep in mind.
If you do not understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a manager, you will not be able to take the necessary steps to improve. Some people, for example, are great at motivating others but not so effective when it comes to setting clear targets or providing constructive criticism. You also need to be able to motivate yourself and pick yourself up during difficult times before you can do so for others.
Work on your leadership skills
While it is true that some people possess natural qualities that mean leadership comes more easily, everyone can develop their leadership skills with leadership development training. Professional leadership consultants can work with you to identify your weaknesses and provide practical tools that you can use in your business to achieve maximum results.
Be open to new ideas
It is not uncommon for businesses to carry on in the same for years and years because it is the way they have always operated. However, just because the business is ticking along, it does not mean that you should not investigate and consider new ideas. Your employees are often the people closest to the day-to-day running of the business and therefore have the clearest perception as to how things could be improved. Create a culture of openness and innovation so that staff feel comfortable putting their ideas forward and listen to them when they bring a potential problem to your attention.
Value your employees and their goals
While your vision for your business will take up much of your attention, it is essential that you do not forget that your employees are individuals with their own personal lives and professional goals. If you want to retain a motivated workforce, you need to invest in their development and show that you care about their long-term plans.
Keep lines of communication open
Set up regular meetings with your staff when they can talk to you about their worries, concerns, or ambitions, and take steps to help where you can. You can use these one-to-one sessions as a chance to provide feedback on their performance and identify where they can develop. Employees are often much more engaged and motivated when they understand and feel part of the company’s mission, so try to involve the team in key decisions where possible.