Don’t let the numbers fool you.
Even if there are only a few employees in your small business, leadership should be treated like a big deal.
Without the structures of a big corporation to hide behind, small business owners are always under the microscope and it’s vital that they display positive leadership if they want their company to succeed.
But where should owners start?
Set Clear Goals & Communicate Them
As the captain of this business ship, you want your crew to sleep well at night knowing they’re on their way to a clear destination. Effective small business leadership is about having those established goals.
Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, explains how he achieved success as a leader because they “had three big ideas at Amazon that [they] stuck with for 18 years [ … ]: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
Small business owners need to be just as steadfast as Bezos when it comes to communicating to all employees the big picture goals of the company.
Through manifestos, mission statements, and even daily verbal reminders, business owners can communicate short-term and long-term goals effectively.
Find the Right Mentors
As the article “Expert Interview Series: Gary Bizzo About Small Business Leadership” points out, “small business owners often lack the resources of large companies [and] don’t have advisors or sounding boards.” To make up for this missing support, leaders need to find mentors.
Mentorship should be a two-way street and mutually beneficial for both parties.
In order to get the most out of it, they should have the same level of interest and trust in the fit.
Small business owners may even find mentors in the form of peers, other business owners that have a bit more experience and can help steer you in the right direction.
Listen to Your Employees
Being an effective small business leader isn’t about being an all-powerful, unapproachable force in your employees’ eyes.
Effective leaders will make sure to both listen to employees’ suggestions and infer information based on the nonverbal communications.
Gretchen Fox, co-founder of a social strategy and training agency, explained in Forbes that leaders often have a blind spot in running their business because all too often, employees are afraid to be brutally honest with their bosses.
Because of this, small business owners should take the time to try and read between the lines and inquire whenever they pick up on those nonverbal cues of criticism.
Trust in Delegation
Businesses are not a one-woman or one-man show.
While you may be a knowledgeable, talented person who is capable of completing nearly every task in your business, confident leaders know they must delegate.
This is especially important to keep in mind if you hope to scale your business to be bigger or even global someday. Rather than micro-manage, owners should get in the habit of trusting that they’ve made the right hires and that their employees can complete assignments.
Small business leaders should take a page out of Bezos’, Fox’s, and Bizzo’s book.
By effectively communicating attainable company goals, knowing who to ask for help, and trusting the talents of your employees, business owners can lead their companies to new heights.
About the Author: Kristin Livingstone writes on a variety of topics including small business and leadership.