So, you’re a Director of your own Company and it’s growing thanks to all your hard work. But, you’re now taking on staff and need to know how to manage them effectively.
For some entrepreneurs, management and leadership skills come easily, but the majority of us will need some help in the transition to being the boss.
Here we have pulled together some Leadership Tips for Entrepreneurs on how to lead your team.
The people you employ will be your greatest asset but also your biggest cost. The way you recruit, manage, promote and reward your staff has a direct effect on their productivity and so your own profitability and effectiveness.
A confident, experienced Manager is key to a successful business. Your staff will be the ones who embody your Company’s Mission and Goals. Managers who are inexperienced, ignore policies that are in place for the benefit of the business, fail to learn from their mistakes and set precedents that are not appropriate, may damage the business as it grows, with expensive consequences.
Examples of costly mistakes that Entrepreneurs can make:
• Lacking the skills and/or knowledge they need to run the business and lacking self-awareness
• Having no knowledge of what their staff do
• Recruiting the wrong people
• Doing too much themselves (micro-managing rather than delegating)
• Not having anyone to bounce ideas off or measure their performance by
• Implementing a new vision or strategy without involving the people who will be affected
• Handling difficult situations with staff ineffectively
• Not giving honest performance feedback against measurable and attainable objectives.
However, effective Company Directors have these characteristics:
• They value people and hire and/or talk to smart people
• They are able to have 2-way, frequent, effective communication with their team.
• They are able to create an environment in which staff are empowered to take charge of their jobs and have a passion for your business
• They demonstrate leadership and clear direction
• They place the customer at the heart of everything.
One of the most common mistakes that new and inexperienced Company Director’s can make is to be TOO friendly with their staff.
Most people want to be seen as friendly and approachable to the people they manage, but there will be times when you need to make tough decisions about your staff – some staff will take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.
Of course you should socialise with your staff – employees will appreciate a friendly boss and be more satisfied in their job – but you need to get the balance right between being a friend and being their boss. Friends go out together and gossip and complain about the boss and there is no room for their manager in these kind of relationships.
A boss who tries to be an equal part of the team and is more concerned about the relationship rather than results will inevitably make poor decisions which will affect the company’s bottom line:
- If your staff view you as ‘one of the gang’ they will stop respecting your judgement (see David Brent’s infamous dance in The Office).
- They may lose motivation to do their job well – they do not need to impress their ‘friend’ as a friend wouldn’t give them a bad review or not give them a pay rise.
- You may find it impossible to give them constructive feedback or be unable to hold them accountable for bad work or poor practices (and this can damage client relationships).
- Be a role model – staff will not perform well if they do not see you doing the same; your staff will feel more empowered when their leader is reliable, trustworthy, honest and capable. Your staff need to understand why you are doing something and where they fit into this and what’s in it for them.
- The boundaries between friendship and inappropriate relationships can be very blurry. If you are friendlier to some employees than to others this can result in other employees feeling left and out and believing you have favourites. This breeds resentment in the other employees and an unwillingness to give maximum effort to the job and it also produces conflict between the staff. This can lead to accusations of favouritism, bullying, discrimination or harassment (against the Manager, in relation to their terms of employment; access to training, promotion or benefits; or any detriment or dismissal they suffer). You can read more about discrimination here (the UK’s Equality laws apply to all organisations regardless of size) and about bullying below.
- Can you make the leap from drunken friend on a Friday night to inspiring Leader on a Monday?
- You could jeopardise your relationship with any Co-Directors, if staff believe you will support them when they have done something wrong and your Co-Directors do not agree with your way of handling the situation; or if you feel unable to control/discipline staff and you and your Co-Directors are usable to present a united front.
- The bottom line is that all Employees, including Company Director’s, can damage a company’s reputation and can be liable for this. Ordinary workers have a basic obligation to act with trust and loyalty towards their Employers.