When the small business owner who started as a one-person operation has achieved enough growth to hire additional staff, that small business owner has become, for better or worse, a manager.
As a one-person operation, a small business owner needed to have a gung-ho attitude in order to achieve business success. While the gung-ho attitude probably persists with company growth, that success now has to be tempered with a change in the way they personally do business – especially as a manager.
There are a few different types of managers, but we’re going to just mention three of them, the:
- Autocrat/Control Freak who makes all the decisions because they are the boss, or because they have little faith in their staff;
- Democratic who trusts his employees enough to get feedback and ideas from them, and then actually makes decisions based on that;
- Laissez-faire/Hands-off manager who prefers to let staff make their own decisions to solve issues, because there is a great amount of trust, or because the boss is too lazy to actually manage.
Each type of manager style has its own plusses and minuses, and each can work depending upon the actual work done or the skill level of the employees.
However, since we are dealing with a small business—very rarely is effective management achieved from the get-go—there are many things an effective manager, regardless of type, should do.
Here are 7 tips a small business owner should do to become an effective (or more effective) manager:
1) Set an example
This is in regards to behaviour. Should the small business owner not want the employees to curse or be messy, then neither should the boss, aka the manager. The same goes for punctuality, clothing, or anything else you can think of. Regardless of the workplace, be it Rogers Communications or the neighbourhood Joe’s Garage, the boss sets the bar as far as leadership goes. While no one should ever set a low bar, be wary about setting the bar too high. Not every employee may be capable of living up to too lofty a set of standards. Perhaps get feedback from an outside source to determine if the expected standards are too low, too high, or just right.
To be an effective manager, you must reward or discourage behaviours when they appear, treating everyone equally. This means that should someone mess-up, you treat that person the same way you would anyone else at the company. And the same goes with positive rewards. If you decide to reward an employee with free tickets to a sporting event, ensure you provide a similar-valued reward the next time another employee earns it. Fair is fair, after all.
When you’ve been the one-person show running your small business and recent success allows you to hire employees, a proper manager has to learn how to delegate some of the responsibilities – and not just the crappy ones. As long as your staff has been properly trained, they can do more than take out the garbage at the end of the workday to alleviate your own drudgery. If taught properly, they can do the ordering on your behalf, or handle in-store sales. It does depend on why you wanted to hire more staff, but as long as you train them in the aspects you want help with, there is no reason not to delegate responsibilities to them. While you should trust your employees, you should be mindful that the employees should also earn that trust. When they do – delegate.
4) Be open
Yes, you may have been used to doing things your way and making all the decisions, but you should also consider that others on your team are keen to contribute their own ideas or have opinions on your ideas. That latter one can be contentious for many a business manager. The most important thing to understand is that sometimes other people can have a good idea that is completely different from your own. Rather than be jealous or wonder if they are planning on starting up their own rival business, be proud, and acknowledge the idea, and if practical, put it in play. Don’t take their idea as your own, either. Give credit where credit is due.
If you have a plan of action and want your employees to execute it, an effective manager ensures that everything is discussed clearly and accurately. But even if your plans have been communicated, you can avoid mistakes by ensuring all members of your team understand it by giving them a physical copy of their own to read. Not everyone hears everything in a meeting, regardless of how clear and concise you are. People zone out sometimes. Not every person has the same ability to focus. Provide a copy of the plan of action to staff during a meeting, and then discuss it with them. Some people are visual. Some like examples. Some will take in what they hear. But everyone is better at one form over the other, and not everyone is the same as you, the manager.
6) Show gratitude
If you would like to increase worker productivity, and perhaps have your employees stick around after you have spent all that time training them, consider showing gratitude. An effective manager should always show their appreciation to their staff for a job well done. This also extends to manners. Starting with a well-intentioned “good morning”, to a simple “thanks” after someone refills your coffee or holds a door open for you, or a “thank-you” even if it was them simply doing their job. You’d be surprised at how something as simple as manners and gratitude can go a long way at keeping your employees happy. Conversely, the reputation of the manager goes up, and can not only boost loyalty or motivation, but offering gratitude can also increase productivity.
7) Digital Marketing
While we have discussed physical and emotional ways a small business owner can become a more effective manager, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention an aspect of a digital way to increase business success. Digital marketing is any type of marketing effort that uses the internet or electronic device. The effective manager can better achieve company success if they utilize SEO (search engine optimization), social media, email and more, to connect with customers, both current and prospective.
Based in Toronto, with team members across North America, Strider can help local businesses initiate and maintain effective marketing strategies. Check out Strider’s Value SEO plans, or contact us for a personalized recommendation.