Most business owners don’t prepare for having to manage people, but it comes with the territory when it comes to business. You may have spent forever on getting your finances in order, researching the best suppliers and developing a killer marketing plan, but entrepreneurs very rarely practice being a good boss. To be a good boss you must learn how to be a good leader. Without a good leader at the head of a business, the employees may not work to the best standards. Here are a few keys to becoming a good leader and getting the most out of your business.
When first starting a business, you may be tempted to do everything by yourself. After all, who else is capable of doing it as perfectly as you? However, if you hire employees, that’s what they’re there for. You have to pass on the work you know others can do. That way, you have more free time to devote to other aspects of the business. The more free time you have, the easier it will be for you to drive the business forward. Delegation is a risk because the standard of work you receive back may not always be what you’re looking for, but that’s how employees learn. Don’t be afraid to delegate just because the results may not be perfect the first time.
What are your employees working towards? If your employees don’t have any goals, they don’t have any direction or drive. You need to give your employees something to strive for. Set achievable goals for your team of employees and get them working together to achieve the business initiative. Keep an eye on their progress and continue to nudge them in the right direction. As an employer, you don’t need to be looking over their shoulders every few seconds, but you do need to make sure they’re working to provide your clients with the things they need within the time frame that you’ve promised or sooner.
A mission statement is something that can provide your employees with motivation and your customers with peace of mind. It’s something that can sum up your business’s entire mission. Take a look at this website and read through their mission for an example – http://www.constructiontrailerspecialists.com/trailers/end-dumps. Make sure your mission statement is visible to your employees. You may want to put it on the wall in your office so employees can read it as they walk through to their desks.
They say communication is key to any relationship, and the same goes for employers and employees. You may find that you don’t always have the time to update your employees on every aspect of the business, but keeping them informed of as much as you can as often as you can will help you to develop closer relationships. If your employees don’t come to you with problems because they believe you won’t listen or won’t be interested, you may find that your business runs poorly because they don’t have the knowledge they need. It’s also important that your employees know what you know so the business can compete with others in the industry and win.
To be a good leader, you have to be around people. It’s no good locking yourself in your office and hoping your business and employees will tend to themselves. Go and sit with your employees at lunchtime or chat with them over a coffee during breaks. We sometimes get so absorbed in our deadlines or working hard to achieve things that we forget the most important thing is the people around us. If an employee asks for five minutes of your time, make it a priority instead of putting it on the to-do list.
Praise Over Discipline
Bosses that punish their workers for not reaching goals learn the hard way. People react much better when they’re praised for good work, rather than when they’re reprimanded for poor work. Maya Angelou once said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ The same principle can be applied to business. People tend to prefer memories of feeling good to memories of feeling bad. Make your employees feel good about the work they’re doing and you’re sure to reach your goals.
Don’t Take Short Cuts
Most leaders are natural problem solvers. However, that can often mean that you’re willing to take a shortcut in order to solve the problem quickly. When it comes to business, there are no short cuts. Take a look at this article for avoiding short cuts – https://www.talkdesk.com/blog/5-shortcuts-to-avoid-in-your-small-business. You need to be okay with having to take the long way around. Taking the scenic route means you’re doing everything you can to ensure you have a long-term solution to a problem. You’ll also find that the long way, as frustrating as it can be at times, is often the way that teaches you the most. Taking a short-cut could mean you miss out on gathering vital information that propels your business to the next stage.
Take a Break
Strong leaders know how much they’re able to take before breaking point. There may be deadlines piling up and people wanting your time, but if you’re burning the candle at both ends, it won’t be long before you’re burnt out. As a leader, you have a lot of people depending on you. That being said, you need to look after yourself so they get the best out of you. Make sure you take the holidays every worker is entitled to per year, and set aside time for yourself to step away from the computer every day.
Part of being a leader is being the one responsible for encouraging relationships within the workplace. If your employees get on well, it will be easier for them to work as a team. Employees who don’t get on well will find it difficult to complete tasks and may not enjoy their working environments. One way to encourage a good relationship between employees is team building activities. For example, taking the whole team out for a paintballing session. You could also run competitions within the office to encourage a healthy amount of competitive spirit.
It may seem like team bonding is better left up to the team, but every team will look towards its leader for an example. Teams that work hard to make sure a business is running at its best, deserve to play hard to blow off some steam. If you’re willing to have fun with your employees at the appropriate times, they’ll start to view you as more approachable.
Good leaders are fully aware that they don’t know everything. They’re willing to take suggestions and willing to admit when they’re wrong. To be a good leader, you need to keep learning. Whether you’re learning about the latest products and services in the industry, gaining skills to use new tools online or you’re brushing up on your people skills, it’s important to always be open to new ways of working. The leader that believes they know everything and needs no help from anyone will undoubtedly fail.
Encourage a Relaxed Environment
Employees that come to work stressed about deadlines or in fear of not pleasing their superiors will inevitably either produce poor quality work or they’ll end up leaving. It’s important that your employees meet their deadlines but it’s also important that they have the freedom to produce top quality work. You should also make sure that they know they have access to help when they need it. Whether it’s a quick question via email or they need to brush up on what they’ve already been trained, employees that know they have the support of their leaders are far more likely to succeed.
Just because an employee is beneath you in the business, doesn’t mean he/she won’t have better ideas than you. Leaders who refuse to listen to others because they think they have all the answers, usually take a lot longer to find innovative ways of working. If you’re smart, you’ll hire people with vision and motivation. If your employees are good at thinking outside the box, you may want to listen to their ideas. After all, your employees are often closer to your customers than you are, so it’s more likely they’ll be able to solve your customer’s problems quicker than you do. For a business to survive, it needs to sell problem solvers. You must always find products for your customers, rather than customers for your products.
Being a leader isn’t easy. In fact, it can feel downright lonely at times. However, there is a lot of satisfaction to get from it when you do it right. Remember that people should come before business, and if you look after people first, they’ll look after you. Most importantly, don’t try and do it all on your own. Seek advice from others and it will earn you heaps more respect.
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