Managing an office can easily be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a small business owner. Handling your own issues is one thing. Galvanizing a group of strangers into a strong team is quite another. These simple tricks can help you overcome this challenge:
A lot of things in a small business revolve around numbers. At times, it can feel like you’re reducing everything to a measurable metrics. That’s OK, but only to a point. When you’re dealing with people, you have to strike a balance between calculating and human.
Often, it’s a matter of appropriateness. When your employee asks for bereavement leave, you should be human and empathize with him. When you’re figuring out how to assign staff to account for his absence, look at performance ratings to determine who can cover his responsibilities.
Accept Good Advice
You will never be expected to know everything. Employees that do are making a terrible mistake. Don’t be ashamed when there’s something about your small business that eludes you, or if you’re having trouble making a decision, ask for help. If you’re doing something outside your skill set, ask an expert in the company.
This is important for two reasons. First, showing people that you’re fallible and need advice at times makes you seem more human and thus more relatable. Secondly, asking employees for advice when appropriate can make them feel important and valued, increasing their company loyalty.
Never Forget How Valuable Your Team Is
When things are going well, it’s easy to forget how you got there. Since it’s your small business, born for your ideas, you can easily slip into the belief that you’re responsible for everything because you make the decisions. But a making a successful small business requires more than smart decisions. It requires team that can execute your plans well.
Vision is not enough, and remembering that can remind you how valuable your team is. Don’t mistreat them or try to look for ways to get them on the cheap. Treat them with the respect you deserve.
Motivate Employees By Setting Unified Goals
It’s easier to motivate employees when you can show them that they’re working towards the same goals. Each employee feels like they’re part of something bigger, that they’re part of a team. While this seems like a small thing, it can have a tremendous impact on morale and performance.
Fortunately, achieving this is relatively simple – show them what the company’s current goals are, and how they’re each contributing to it. Get specific. The more specific you are with how someone is contributing, the more aware they will be of their place in the company.
One of the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner is maintaining control of your team. If you can’t control your team, you can’t lead them. They will do their own thing or worse, be directly insubordinate. It’s rare, but it happens, and it can spell doom for your authority at the office.
How you do this depends entirely on your management style. Some leaders are so supportive that opposing them feels like a sin, while others work with the stick more than the carrot. Whatever option you choose, make sure it’s positive and fits your company culture.
Manage Employee Burnout
It is possible to push your team to the point where they will burn out. The cost for this management mistake can be severe, from high turnover rates to an overall decrease in performance. Dealing with this is a matter of prevention rather than cure.
Get ahead of this. If you can automate something, do so. This will reduce the load your employees have to carry while increasing productivity. Make sure there’s enough room for everyone so they don’t feel cramped and stressed. Let them take vacations so they can disconnect, relax, and recover from the job.
Set Clear and Measurable Performance Goals
Nothing dissuades great performance from your employees quite like vague performance goals. If they don’t know what they’re working towards or if they’re working towards a subjective value, they can’t focus their efforts. They’ll inevitably stumble, and that’s bad for your small business.
When you set a performance goal, make it measurable. Don’t tell them to “perform better”. Tell them how many sales they need to hit next month, or how many clients they need to call. Keep things objective.
Maintain a Regular Performance Review Schedule
One-on-one coaching is the best tool you have when you want to improve employee performance. These sessions allow you to not only right the course should the employee need correction, but they’re an opportunity to show your support. However, they can’t be done randomly. They must be done regularly to maximize their effectiveness.
Make sure to stay positive when it comes to reinforcement. Berating employees for mistakes rarely does anyone any good. Focus on improving their performance rather than getting shots in.
Most management issues don’t pop-up out of nowhere. If you’re paying attention, usually you can see them coming a mile away. For example, a high-turnover rate suggests that there’s something wrong, either in your hiring process, your management strategy, or both.
Track employee-related metrics and pay attention to any dips or flat-lines. The moment you see a pattern, examine any and all office related variables to see if you can nip a crisis in the bud.
Find Ways to Engage Them With Each Other
It’s no surprise that people who work with friends tend to be happier. The problem you face is making sure that they don’t form into cliques or groups that are to the detriment of the company. The solution here is to mix up who people meet and interact with.
Hosting events, for example, can give employees the opportunity to mingle. A night at the bar is a good start, but that can’t be your only event. Sometimes, you’ll want to host contests. Have employees give in suggestions for events so you can get an idea of what people want.
Managing your small business is a difficult task, but it’s one you can’t leave to anyone else. Your management strategy will form the foundation of your company’s overall practices. Future managers will be trained based on what you use and learn, so it’s best to get as much of it right as possible.