The Do’s and Don’ts of Small Business Leadership

Are you a good leader? Effective leaders are the magic ingredient for successful businesses and teams. They set a tone for employees to follow and help guide the organization toward its goals. However, you can be both highly driven and highly empathetic and still not be an effective leader. Luckily, effective leadership is a skill you can learn and improve.

Follow these do’s and don’ts to discover how to become an effective leader in your small business.

Don’t Micromanage

Micromanagement is one of the top reasons employees resign. It stifles productivity, frustrates employees, and decreases potential growth in your business. Small business owners typically work alone initially before hiring staff members. This can make it difficult to let things go and accept the fact that they don’t have to continue wearing multiple hats in their organization. But when an employee is hired, the purpose is to decrease your personal workload. Micromanaging simply adds more work for you to do.

Signs you’re a micromanager:

  • High employee turnover rates

  • Needs to be CC’d on every email

  • Asks for updates after every task

  • Never satisfied with work deliverables

  • Performs a task even though it’s already been delegated

Do Remove Obstacles Then Get Out of the Way

Instead of micromanaging, trust that your employees can do the job they were hired to do and in doing so, you are also trusting that you made the right decision in hiring them. You want to encourage employees to work independently and remove any challenges that get in their way of successfully completing their tasks.

As an effective leader, your ability to recognize and predict setbacks will be essential to maintaining productivity. This doesn’t mean giving the impression that you have all the answers. Instead, it means seeing where your employees’ strengths are, the challenges they might face, and helping them function at their best. Allowing your team members the latitude to operate without your direct oversight can also teach them to problem solve on their own.

Don’t Play Favorites

Studies show that 56% of the time a boss already has a favorite in mind for a promotion and 96% of the time that promotion will go to the favorite. The problem with favoritism is that you are making biased business decisions that could ultimately stunt your growth. Showing favoritism also hurts employee morale and can cover up serious issues like sexual harassment and discrimination.

In our experience at HR Tailormade, having vital systems in place helps our clients to curb undue favoritism. Outsourcing HR services helps them with employee conduct, hiring the right people, and dealing with harassment/discrimination in the workplace. Establishing these practices helps you focus on the success and growth of your business by growing the best teams.

You might be showing favoritism if you:

  • Laugh and joke with one employee(s) more than others

  • Let mistakes pass for particular employees

  • Unfairly allocate larger budgets to particular departments

  • Offer additional coaching or advice during projects to some team members vs others

  • Promote a person without the appropriate level of experience

Do Help People Excel Professionally

Favoritism might be an aspect of your personality or the belief that some employees are more valuable than others. The truth is, while all employees won’t have the same skillset or drive to excel, all can be valuable assets to your organization. This is why it’s so important to hire well.

Good leaders recognize their employees' strengths and pave a way for their professional/career success. Though the days are gone when everyone stays in a job for over 20 years, focusing on your employees’ professional development creates loyalty. Your team members feel inherently valued and recognized, making it far less likely that they will leave your business.

Don’t Be Indecisive

Indecisiveness undermines your efforts to make an income and grow your business. When you’re indecisive, your employees don’t know if they can trust your direction and leadership. This forces them to make decisions of their own without adequate knowledge. Without proper guidance, a lack of accurate decision-making eventually leads to employee burnout, inconsistent results, and revenue losses.

You might be an indecisive leader if you:

  • Treat every scenario the same regardless of size and importance

  • Constantly need more information and reassurance before making a choice

  • Experience high levels of stress when the pressure to decide is on

  • Let someone else make the last call

  • Refuse to fire a problem employee

  • Are constantly swayed by strong opinions

Do Learn to Set the Vision and Give Guidance

Effective leaders know where their business is going and how to get there. They are able to communicate the organization's goals and vision to their employees and monitor the results accordingly.

When everyone is on the same page, employees feel more capable of performing the jobs they were hired for. This reduces burnout and turnover and increases your likelihood of success.

Become more decisive by listening to assumptions but making decisions based on likely outcomes and facts. Know what your overall goals are for your business and set measurement benchmarks to ensure you’re on the right track.

Leadership Is a Learned Skill

Though people have traits that make them natural leaders, effective leadership is a learned skill. You have to navigate various personalities, business challenges and opportunities, and learn to constantly readjust the course. At HR Tailormade, we help small business owners become more effective leaders by building better human resource systems. Whether you have 5 employees or 500, we create a team vision that constantly aligns with your changing needs. Learn more about what we offer here.