5 Tips for Hands-On Leadership
Get these tips from SCORE on leading a successful team.
- Be there. Entrepreneurs warn that a successful business can slip when an owner is not there at least part of every day, keeping in touch with how things are going.
- Set an example for working hard. One wholesale bakery owner sometimes sleeps on the couch in his office so he can be there when the early shift comes in at 4 a.m.
- Don’t confuse “hands-on” managing with micro-management. Set objectives and offer guidance, but don’t make employees do every little thing your way. Gauge what they do by the results.
- Understand your business down to the last detail. The founder of a toy-store chain visits the stores and spends time doing each job (selling, clerking, etc.) and observing customers’ reactions.
- Stay in touch with “stakeholders”—including customers, employees and suppliers.
5 Tips for Renewing Yourself as a Leader
Check out these tips from SCORE on keeping yourself open to new ideas.
- Take a time-out each day. Put a “Gone Thinking” sign on your door and don’t let anyone disturb you.
- Pursue hobbies and interests outside your business. They’ll provide relaxation and may inspire creative ideas that you can feed back into the business.
- Take a vacation or a sabbatical. (But first, make sure you leave the company in good hands!)
- Spend time with your family. Kids provide a refreshing perspective.
- Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never did—learn to build a house, or take a course in acting.
5 Tips on Cultivating Confident Employees
Motivating employees and creating confident employees is an important component of your company’s success. Get these quick tips from SCORE on how to develop confident employees for your small business.
- Ask them to be responsible for progressively larger projects.
- Use them as examples (in their presence) when describing to others how to do something.
- Give them feedback at various times during a project—not just at its completion.
- Send a note of praise to them or better still, to their direct boss.
- Ask for their opinions and advice on matters not necessarily related to their normal duties.
5 Tips on Effective Leadership
Get these tips from SCORE on how to lead your team of employees. The success of your small business may depend on it.
- Communicate clearly and routinely. Lay out your company goals and principles in a mission statement and keep sharing your vision with your employees.
- Involve employees in setting objectives. Give them feedback on how they are progressing toward meeting those targets.
- Give your people authority, then hold them accountable. But don’t go after them personally when things go wrong. Find out first if the process is at fault.
- Be accountable yourself. Install an advisory board or executive team to help you make good strategic decisions and give you feedback on your own performance.
- Be trustworthy and extend trust to your employees. That will help you earn their loyalty and strengthen your company.
5 Tips on Exemplary Leadership
Get these tips from SCORE for leading by example and inspiring your employees to think outside the box.
- Give employees their freedom. Communicate the goals and let them figure out how to reach those goals. They want control over their working lives.
- Create an environment that encourages energy and spirit. That leads to happy customers.
- Strive to help employees feel that when they have accomplished the business’s goals, they have also accomplished their own personal goals.
- Create a sense of meaningful purpose. Most workers want to feel they are engaged in something “larger than themselves.”
- Recognize that leadership means responsibility and stewardship. “Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles, or money,” says management thinker Peter F. Drucker.
5 Tips on Creating an Innovative Environment
Creativity can set your small business apart from the competition. Check out these five tips from SCORE how to foster an atmosphere of innovation in your company.
- Show your employees that you think of innovation as an ongoing process. Some ideas will work and many won’t. Keep experimenting.
- Listen, listen, listen. Innovation is a collaborative process.
- Be open to “accidents,” the unexpected connections that spark new ideas. Inspiration comes from everywhere—often from outside your own field.
- Draw on your own employees—they know the company’s problems and goals best. This is probably one time you don’t need outside consultants.
- Be patient. Creativity can’t be hurried.
5 Tips on Empowering Your Employees
Giving your small business’s employees responsibility and praise helps empower them to achieve results. Get these tips from SCORE on helping your employees feel like a part of the bigger picture.
- Organize an orientation session; answer the most frequently asked questions and walk employees through solving problems common to your business.
- Provide employees with the history behind procedures and policies. Background is essential for good decision making.
- Furnish the necessary resources. Whether it is a list of your contacts or where to find appropriate forms, give your employees the opportunity to succeed.
- Teach employees where to turn when they can’t solve a problem; always going to the president should not be the solution.
- Learn to delegate. Delegating tasks will build confidence and teach employees the necessary steps to follow in your business.
5 Tips on Knowing When You’re Getting Stale
To be successful, your small business must embrace change and new ideas. Get these tips from SCORE to learn if you’re getting burned out and losing momentum.
- If you’ve been running your business 10 years or more, it’s probably time for fresh leadership. Consider bumping yourself up to chairman and getting a new CEO.
- Recognize that fatigue and boredom are signs you’ve been at the helm too long.
- Answer honestly: Are you resistant to new ideas and risks? It so, you may be impeding your company’s progress.
- Ask yourself if you are still growing and learning. If not, that’s another sign of personal stagnation as a leader.
- If you think you’re becoming too set in your views, surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking.
5 Tips on Managing Yourself
Get these tips from SCORE to help you learn how to manage yourself along with your small business
- Recognize when you’ve outrun your abilities. When one entrepreneur saw that her skills were not adequate to manage her company, she hired a president to handle day-to-day operations.
- Get a CEO coach. Skilled consultants can help you learn how to take your company to the next level. SCORE can help.
- Open yourself to being transformed. Listen, really listen, to employees. Let go of old notions of leadership (managing by fear, for example).
- Be self-aware. Many business owners say self-awareness is essential to understanding what leadership style works for you.
- Be a servant leader. Consider it your responsibility to serve employees and customers.
5 Tips on Teaching Employees to “Own” Their Work
Get these tips from SCORE on helping your employees feel invested in the success of your small business
- Include them in long- and short-term planning efforts.
- Ask for their input on projects for which they are held responsible.
- Include them on top-level discussions, conferences and meetings when appropriate.
- Allow them to byline the work they wrote or to speak at the presentation they helped prepare.
- Help them to become more vested in the work by asking for their opinion. Ask what, if anything, should be done to make the next project easier.