The characteristics of effective small business managers

Your small business is booming, and before you know it, you’re at the head of a small team of eager employees. How do you manage your employees effectively? Here are some top tips for effective small business management.

Planning and organization

Planning and organization are two very important traits that small business managers possess. Set both short term and long term goals for the company and plan how your company will achieve them. As well, punctuality and time management skills are a must.

If you were told to set an example for siblings as a child, business is no different! Model to your employees the characteristics that you’d like them to have. For instance, showing up late for a board meeting and not remembering the topics to be discussed can set an unwanted tone, and can cause your employees to lose respect for you. Demonstrate superior planning skills not only to your staff and team, but also to clients and suppliers by always being properly prepared and up to date.

Controlling and monitoring

Controlling and monitoring the processes within your organization are very important. If you’re not overseeing company activities and making sure that they’re done properly and effectively, who is? Be sure to monitor results and compare alternatives constantly. You should always be looking for areas of improvement and finding ways to make that improvement happen. Compare performance with your previous predictions and with competitors and industry standards. Revise goals and objectives and measure how well they’re being accomplished.

Controlling is an ongoing process that’s closely linked with the planning process. You should not only control and monitor your business’ processes, but also the people that it involves – staff, suppliers and customers. Collect feedback on your company’s performance from these people so you can identify areas where control should be improved.  If you’re unable to monitor daily activities yourself, consider hiring an additional supervisor whenever possible to assist with the controlling responsibilities.


Successful leaders are teachers, learners and visionaries. Your employees will look up to you for motivation, guidance and also as a model for their own performance.

Effective leaders have strong ethical standards and emotional stability. Stress and frustration are just part of the entrepreneurial life, so it’s important to be able to deal with issues effectively – without flying off the handle or taking things personally. Leaders are practical and logical even in stressful situations, so decisions are made rationally. These decisions must also be made in confidence, with little need for approval from others.

As a leader in your company, you must have high standards for yourself and for others and recognize the potential of your team. You should always strive to do your best, and should encourage your team members to do the same. You want your employees to be satisfied with the jobs and their workplace – try to make them feel good about themselves and their work. Enthusiasm is contagious – be energetic and passionate about your work  and you’ll encourage staff to be the same way.

Being thick-skinned and confident are other important characteristics. Learn to take criticism well, and show assertiveness in your attitudes on the job to help you gain respect and motivate others. However, don’t hog all of the leadership – delegate tasks and responsibilities when required. This proves you recognize the value of your team and the superior results that teamwork can often produce. Show maturity in your daily activities by putting your own recognition secondary to that of your employees and company. We know this business is your baby, but without happy and productive employees, you might find you won’t have any business at all.

Think strategically and always consider what’s best for your company as a whole, instead of your own personal preferences. Your colleagues should be able to rely on your planning skills and trust that arrangements and preparations will be performed effectively. You should be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and view situations from multiple viewpoints to gain a clear understanding. Sound like a superhero yet? You can definitely get close to being one. In order to be the best leader you can be, work hard to improve and strengthen these skills so that you can effectively motivate and lead your team.

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What makes a great small business leader?

In a recent blog post, we presented a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking of starting a small business. One of those questions was related to leadership in small business. What answer did you give to that question? What qualities does a strong leader of a small business possess? As providers of comprehensive small business training, we know that good leadership is just as important to an entrepreneur’s success as a good accountant or an exit strategy.

A small business leader has – and shares – a strong vision

The sign of a strong small business leader is a strong vision, both when you start a business and during its lifecycle. As a small business owner, you are the one responsible for setting the direction in which you want to grow. The life of an entrepreneur is hectic, but a clear vision gives your small business some stability. If your business has employees, it’s critical that you share your vision with them – it allows them to take pride in where they work and demonstrates that you’re a leader who knows their stuff.

Effective small business leadership is done so by example

So you have a strong vision and a great business model – but effective leadership doesn’t end there. Great small business leaders really walk the talk, demonstrating to others just how they embody their business’ values, mission and principles. As the leader in your small business, inspire others through your actions, not just your words.

Great small business leaders recognize the potential of their team

How motivated and inspired do you think your employees would be if they weren’t allowed to ask questions or present concerns? What opinion would they hold of you as a leader? Great small business leaders understand that good ideas can come from many sources. Encourage your employees to approach you with concerns or ideas, and really listen to them. Delegate tasks to your team members – this one’s hard for some entrepreneurs, but it’s vital. If you have executives or managers, invest in business training courses to help them build their skills. These actions will prove that you’re a small business leader who recognizes the value of your team.

A strong small business leader is ethical and stable

Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, which then means bearing a fair amount of stress. However, as a good small business leader, you must be able to deal with any issue without letting the stress get the better of you. Great small business leaders also possess strong ethical standards and expect their employees to meet these standards as well. Strong ethical standards and emotional stability prove to others that you are a leader who is fully in control of your business.

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