Chances are, you run a small business because you had a great idea, are passionate about a product or service or have a great deal of experience in a particular industry. Whether you started your company for these or other reasons, there’s a good chance it’s not necessarily because you are an expert in management. Too often, small businesses suffer from inadequate management simply because owners’ skills lie elsewhere. This can be costly if it begins to affect employee morale and retention. The key to effective management is to understand that it is a skill like any other, and you can learn to do it in a way that gets the best out of your employees.
There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. There has been a huge amount written about how to be a good manager and these resources have much in common with the habits of being a successful learner in a classroom setting. Books, blog, podcasts, seminars, online classes, in-person classes and video lectures are just a few of the resources out there that can help you improve. Check out a few, see what points pop up again and again, and find a style that speaks to you. This takes some time, but it really is one of the best ways to get started on a good management path because many, many people have been here before you and analyzed how it is done. Having this foundation also means you’ll be able to recognize good and bad management techniques in others–and if you identify some other good management candidates among your staff, you can turn the job over to them and step back.
Have the Right Tools
Once you have the basics down, there are plenty of tools that can help you manage more effectively. The kind that you need will depend a lot on the nature of your business. For example, there are some great tools that can help you with general tasks, like tracking performance and setting actionable goals. Then there are others that are more industry specific. For example, in the fleet management world, keeping up with regulations and making sure that your employees do too is critical. An ELD compliance solution can track driving time to prevent hours of service violations. This keeps your fleet compliant. Do some research and talk to others in your industry about the tools they use and which ones have been the most useful for them.
Relationship building is an important managerial skill. You should be able to identify strong employees and mentor them. However, this need to build more meaningful professional relationships is a different type of relationship building than you might have encountered in other walks of life. You’ll need to walk a line between being friendly and supportive of your employees and being a friend. This can feel like a fine line, but it can be difficult to work in a position above someone if your personal relationship has become more casual. You should also work on building trust with your employees. This does not always necessarily mean being the bearer of good news. Instead, you should try to learn to be as transparent and honest with them as possible.