So many business people end up in charge of staff, not because they have the experience or training, but because the company that they are part of has grown and it’s just been expected of them.
Some business owners that I know started their companies from their garage or home but now those organisations bring in millions of pounds and employ tens to hundreds of staff.
So what does it take to be a good boss and leader?
In my last blog I talked a lot about staff welfare and its importance to get the best from your staff. The way you communicate with employees really matters. The content of your verbal and written communications matters. Your attitude, your tone of voice, your timing and your body language all matter. Staff will either be motivated, inspired and encouraged or they will be made to feel a failure, vulnerable and alienated by your words.
Let your staff have their say and really listen to their suggestions and needs. Discussions should always be open and honest with managers and staff.
Employ the right staff, with the right skills, then empower them to do what you employed them for – don’t micromanage! I have had some awful bosses that were just waiting for people to mess up slightly and then would make them feel so worthless and awful, when there really was no need. Everyone makes mistakes and that’s OK. Teach your employees to learn from the mistakes and move on. Encourage learning rather than a fear of making mistakes. This helps employees to be more inventive and creative without the worry of being in trouble if it does not work out. Whilst you should point out mistakes made by staff members, don’t forget to own up when you make them yourself.
Get to know your staff. Who their spouse is, do they have children, how old and how many, what are their hobbies and passions, what are their backgrounds? Ray Williams said “Develop strong interpersonal relationships at work, so employees have some meaning attached to the work they are doing”. Having the knowledge of what drives your staff should make it easier for you to get the best out of them. Know what their career aspirations are and help them get there if possible, by further training.
Staff days out or evenings out are a great way to really get to know your employees, and is great for team building and making staff feel valued. Hanging out with their boss should not undermine the respect they have for you, its always business as usual when back in the office.
Deal with employee disagreements and complaints as soon as possible. Don’t let things fester and get out of control as it will affect productivity and profitability.
With a smaller company it is important that people feel involved and part of a team. The company should be a place of integrity, trust and respect where everyone is treated fairly and equally.
Make sure you have a business mission and core values and are not just focussing on profit. You need to also communicate this effectively to your employees. I will talk more about company values and culture in my next blog.
Keep learning! Always be seeking advice and working your brain cells. You must know what skills you are lacking and you should try to learn about these wherever possible, or employ someone to tackle these tasks for you. Also you need to keep up to date of current trends and shifts in your industry and market and share this knowledge with your teams.
One thing at a time! Many company owners and managers try to expand and develop the businesses in too many ways, all at once. This can only result in chaos and failure. Yes you should have a business plan with action points BUT only attempt to do one task at a time. Tasha Eurich stated “Give yourself the greatest chance of victory by developing one thing at a time. It is far better to make progress in one area than to make little or none in five”.
Monitor your business performance closely and reward staff against agreed objectives being met. It’s a great way to make them want to work more productively.
Have the courage to relinquish some control to get the best out of employees. Delegate so you can get on with taking the business forward. Have a positive attitude. Be patient and empathetic. Lead by example.
And finally, be the kind of boss, you would like to have, if you worked for someone else. That way you won’t go far wrong. Always be courteous and thank staff every day when they leave. This one simple thing makes a huge difference.
The trouble is we are often not very good at evaluating our selves or our businesses, and aren’t very aware of how we affect others.
If you would like any help with making sure you are a great person to work for, and your staff stay loyal to you and are with you for a long time, then please get in contact. Either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07784 611399 or take a look around the website