Being a small business leader can be overwhelming. Putting out fires while wearing multiple hats leaves little time for leaders to work on their professional development. A recent article from Inc. shares some simple things you can do to be a better leader. Here are some of our favorites. Don’t try to do them all at once. That is a recipe for burnout. Instead, try picking just one to focus on each week.
Develop your skills– Pick one skill you would really like to improve and create a plan to make that happen. Maybe you would really like to be better at public speaking, or conflict management, or having difficult conversations. There are lots of free resources available.
Admit when you are wrong– This allows your peers and employees to trust you. They will also be more willing to come to you when they make a mistake.
Learn how to spot talent– Recruiting great people is the key to running a successful company. Take a look at some of your best employees. What characteristics do they share? Fine-tune your ideal employee profile for your key positions to help you find the very best fit. Check out our Recruiting Toolkit for more ideas.
Give credit where its due– Don’t take credit for the work of others. Allow others to be the hero when they came up with a great idea or did a majority of the work.
Be a mentor, not a preacher– Guide your employees rather than telling them exactly what to do. Avoid micromanaging and generously delegate. This will help your employees advance and grow in their careers.
Invest in people– You want employees who are happy, engaged and loyal. To accomplish this, you have to be willing to invest both time and money in your improving employees’ experience at your organization. Looking for ideas? Our experienced Human Resources team can help.
Give freedom and be flexible– Give space for your employees to work at their best. This will require you to be a little flexible and allow some freedoms for employees to determine how they do their best work.
Be quick to praise– When someone does a great job, let them know immediately. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of only providing negative feedback. Focus on providing genuine, positive feedback to employees regularly. Check out our Employee Recognition Toolkit for some ideas.
Get out of your office– Come in early to get a head start on your early morning tasks so you can mingle with employees as they arrive for the day. This will make you a more approachable and accessible leader.
Have fun– Take opportunities to have a little fun with your employees. Recognize that these individuals spend a majority of their waking hours at your organization and may need some time to let loose and have some fun. Some ideas that work great this time of year include an indoor snowball fight, an ugly sweater competition, cookie decorating or a soup cook-off.
Hold people accountable– Clearly define your expectations and hold people accountable if they don’t meet them. Holding people accountable will help your company meet its goals. It also demonstrates to employees that you value hard work. Don’t let those who miss deadlines or show up late to meetings get away with it.
Give trust to earn trust– If you want your employees to trust you, you will need to show that you trust them as well. Make sure your employees know you have confidence in their abilities.
Show compassion and care– Remember that your employees are human. They have lives outside of work that will sometimes have an impact on their energy and emotions. Try to find ways to balance their needs and the company’s goals.
Lead with passion– Explain to your employees what motivates you to get out of bed each morning. Help them understand where your passion for what you do comes from. This will be contagious.
Share these ideas with your leadership team. Ask each of them to focus on one item each week for the next three months. Hold each other accountable for reporting on the area being worked on and how that is going. Then when the three months is up, take a moment evaluate how far the team has come in that time.
If you give this a try, we’d love to know how it works for your organization. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.