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The characteristics of effective small business managers

By Samantha Garner | May 26, 2012

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.

Leadership

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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