Why Leadership Strategy Matters in Small Business

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

The decision to hire employees means your business has reached the phase where it’s no longer feasible to do everything yourself. It also signals a crossroad, a point at which continued success hinges on your ability to manage and motivate other people. Yielding some control over daily decisions and operations can be difficult, yet rewarding. Learning to build a team presents another challenge along the path to increased revenue and profits. A skillful and speedy embrace of your new role will determine whether the next step moves the company forward or sets it back. Consider the following managerial methods as you take on the positions of coach and teammate.

Delegation

A common phrase heard in the workplace is “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” While that sentiment may hold some validity, it becomes unrealistic to follow when you’ve acquired multiple accounts. The daily duties you encountered as a startup have now grown considerably. To continue to do what you do best, handing over responsibilities to team members becomes paramount. Delegation has a synergistic effect on your business. It builds employee trust while allowing you to focus on your strengths, such as sales and client relations. While you’re out filling the pipeline, the balance of the team tends to accounting, operations, and customer service functions. The autonomy you’ve granted to the back-office personnel fosters a sense of commitment in those individuals, and that commitment often results in employee pride and integrity, which helps ensure a smooth and efficient process flow.

Recognition

You offer your employees a comfortable salary, generous benefits, and a perk or two, but you may refrain from giving them a pat on the back for a job well done. When a worker puts in extra time and effort to meet deadlines and serve customers, sometimes wages and retirement contributions aren’t enough to reward top performers. Often, those valued employees who drive growth seek rewards beyond money or group insurance. Quite simply, employees like to know they are appreciated. Recognize when a team member goes above and beyond. Send out a group email, highlighting achievements and accomplishments. Those types of communications build morale. The granting of titles often creates employee self-esteem. In your small business, where policies may be flexible, elevating account executives to senior status, for instance, may mean as much to certain employees as a salary increase.

Compensation

You can construct a cohesive unit and let members know where they stand, but also realize that financial incentives go a long way toward keeping employees happy. To attract key personnel, you must offer competitive salaries and design a compensation plan that keeps them in their seats. Bonuses and merit-based wage increases give workers something to strive for while spurring productivity that can boost your top line. Leadership need not be complicated. Implement these basic principles and be consistent in their application. Tried and true strategies for employee engagement set a solid foundation for your current and future labor force, and position you as a business owner for whom people will want to work.

References & Resources

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