- On January 30, 2017
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Effective leadership will earn you the respect and loyalty of the people with whom you work, whether they are employees, consultants or contractors to whom you outsource. To be effective you need to work to your strengths and surround yourself with a team that complement your skills and that of your business.
The success of your business is driven by the people within it so you need to demonstrate commitment and investment in your staff. When you have the right people who have the skills, knowledge and raw talent that you need within your business to provide the capacity for growth, it will run effectively and profitably – even in your absence!
As a small business owner, you need to be proactive in leading the people around you – getting it wrong is not an option. Getting it right will give you:
- Time to focus on what you do best – the reason you set up business in the first place
- A loyal, motivated and highly productive team with each individual working to their strengths
- Effective recruitment and retention of staff to contain selection and training costs
- A reputation for consistently exceptional customer service
- Open and shared communication that has everyone on board
Clarity of vision
To effectively lead a team you need to have a clear vision of where you want to take your business. Too many owner-managers keep their business vision a secret for fear of failure, or even success! If your team don’t know where you want to head, how will they be able to help you get there? You will most likely find yourselves frustrated that they don’t share your motivation and excitement about the business. Start talking to them and you will inspire them into action! It’s important that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them on a day to day basis, and, more importantly, what you expect and hope from the business.
Once you have clear direction, you can draw up an organization chart of positions with specific responsibilities for each including measurable expected results, quality standards and what authority you are delegating. The following headings may help you in writing a job description for each post; job title and purpose, key responsibilities and tasks within timescales.
People appointed to take on the role, be they employees or an outside resource, can then be held accountable for their actions, so long as they have the skills, training and raw talent to achieve the results you are seeking from them.
Identify their strengths
Core to all of the above, is to be sure you have identified the potential of each member of the team to ensure they are working to their strengths. If you already have team members on board, it may mean some shifting of responsibilities to maximise productivity and inspire confidence in their ability to do their best.
Once you know the strengths of your team, you will feel much more able to ‘let go’ knowing the job will be completed on time and to the high standards you and your clients expect. By delegating effectively, you will have more time to do what you do best rather than trying to be jack of all trades.
Keep them engaged (in a recession…)
Keeping your staff engaged, particularly at a time when financial incentives are few and far between, can be tough, but if we all look to play to our strengths, I truly believe that the innate satisfaction from our work will go a long way to maintaining loyalty and achieving top performance from each individual.
Too many managers waste time and energy trying to get their staff to improve what is labelled as a weakness, rather than focusing their effort, energy and time on getting them to do more of what they do best – their strengths.
As a manager in both the private and public sector, I focused on getting my immediate team to do what they did best and I loved the challenge of persuading managers to draw up job roles with the staff to ensure that each team member also do what they did best. I would hear comments like, ‘well it is only fair that everyone has to do the same’. What is fair about getting someone to do a task they find a struggle when another team member loves it? If an individual is unhappy in their job they are not going to give their best performance which will inevitably undermine business performance.
Recognition and praise for great results
Whatever job you have, if you are doing what you enjoy – you will want to do more of it because you know you are good at it and you get great results! Great results attract recognition and praise. The secret is to know what recognition your staff want – and it’s not always financial. Recognition and praise builds confidence, feeds healthy egos and is a source of motivation. Team members will know you value their contribution and you will earn their loyalty in these challenging times.
Listen to your team
Give every individual regular opportunity to provide feedback on their role within the business. Here are some ways that you can get them talking.
- Ask them to help you conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on the business to help focus on your strengths and identify areas for growth
- Encourage all of your team members to find their voice so they feel able to actively participate in decision making
- Be sensitive to the needs of others and how they may interpret what you have to say.
Your people are your most valuable asset – invest the time in team building and watch them become as excited about your business as you are!