When you run your own business you learn to become good, or at least proficient, in a great number of things.
You might not have had too much experience at accounts before you set up on your own but learning the basics is more of a necessity than ever if it means you’re able to keep on top of your financial performance.
The same might be true of your management techniques. If you do employ people you’ll quickly learn on the job how to determine the best management style for your business
But if you’re new to the role of management then there are some key skills you’re going to have to identify and develop in your role very quickly. In this blog, we take a look at ten skills every manager needs to get the best out their staff.
1 Change Perspective
You’ve probably been an employee and line managed at some stage. Cast your mind back and remember what that was like for you. Did you have a boss who got you, who encouraged and supported you in your role or did you have someone remote, uninterested and not willing to back you up when things got difficult?
Though, as a manager, you have your goals to meet and your work to get done, you can also see things from your employee’s point of view and put yourself in their shoes to get the best out of them.
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2 Recognise Individuality
Some of your team will thrive on clear orders with regular check-ins and enjoy the structure of their working life. For others, the chance to think more freely and perhaps work remotely is going to suit their lifestyle and approach that much better.
Your team are individuals and their strengths and skills come in different packages. Trying to force a square peg into a round hole won’t work, so take some time to get to know your staff as individuals and learn to play to their strengths to get the best results.
3 Accept Honest Feedback
Gone are the days where appraisals were a one-sided process handed down by managers. Now you can expect or should implement a 360-degree performance appraisal.
Be warned though, if you ask for honest feedback you’re going to get honest feedback. If you do find your team has issues with a certain style of management then be prepared to act on that feedback and make some changes, in the same way you would expect your staff to do so too.
4 Fight for Your Team
There’s nothing more discouraging for an employee than being thrown under the bus by a manager. If your team makes mistakes then part of your role as the manager is to own those mistakes and apologise for them if necessary.
Deal with the individual privately but when you’re talking to customers, suppliers or other senior management members be the team player you should be and take the flak. Your team will thank you, your peers will respect you and you’ll be seen as a loyal and trusted boss.
5 Take Responsibility for Your Career
You might spend a lot of time managing and encouraging other people to be the best that they can be in their roles but you also have a career and you should not neglect that fact.
Take time to plot your next moves and talk to your own line manager to see how that can happen. If you run your own company then you might be looking at corporate rather than personal goals. It’s important to give yourself time to focus on your business as a whole and not just on HR issues, despite your team being your greatest asset.
6 Develop the Skills You Lack
Are you a great communicator? Do you know how your team’s software works and how to troubleshoot it if there’s a problem? You might not necessarily have all the hard or soft skills that an effective manager requires but that doesn’t mean you should ignore those holes.
Take responsibility in getting yourself trained up. Put yourself through courses that are going to teach and develop your missing skill set and learn more about yourself in the process. Your team will thank you for it.
7 Progress Your Team Individually
If you want to continue to get the best from your team then help them to develop and grow in their own careers. Be open to training and encouraging when it comes to their career progression. A better qualified, experienced workforce is great for your customer and great for your personal PR.
Allowing your staff to train will foster greater loyalty to your business and result in a lower turnover of staff in general.
8 Encourage Collaborative Working
Being part of a team means you get to work closely with others, making projects more manageable and fostering good working relationships. Make this process easier by providing software such as Trello that will allow project work to run more smoothly.
Don’t hold your team back with sub-standard software and tech, be forward thinking for a more proficient, effective workforce.
9 Encourage a Life Outside the Office
It may not be appropriate for you to go out with your team after work on a Friday, after all that’s the time they get to moan about work and let off a little steam. However, encouraging a life outside the office has its advantages. The worker who is trying to impress you by putting in long hours will soon burn out so let them know the importance of balance.
You might also want to organise some community-based activities or encourage your staff to take time off to help at a charity on a monthly basis. This is more than your CSR offering, this is showing your team that your business is interested in more than just profits.
10 Lead by Example
Finally, show your team how you would like your working culture to function by leading by example. Keep hours that are reasonable and encourage your staff to do the same. Make staff aware they have support if needed and demonstrate that by taking care of your own health and well being.
Encourage their desire to grow professionally by attending workshops and courses and allow staff to do the same. Be the leader that you would like your team members to eventually grow into. Think about preparing the next generation of leaders, loyal to your business and highly capable of running your departments.
Being the boss can be a tough road. There are bound to be bumps along the way and not everyone possesses people and management skills, just because they happen to employ people.
If you have a dedicated HR department then the majority of your staff interactions will take place through them but if you’re out on your own then picking up these management skills pretty quickly is going to become a priority.
Leadership by example is the take away here. Those traits that you want to draw out from your staff need to come from you first. That loyalty, that desire to learn and to listen to others, getting the best out of people and retaining your own career goals – this all comes from you first and foremost.
Nurture a team that has the skills that you do and your business is going to grow and grow. Invest time and money in the most important aspect of your business and it will be a move you’ll never regret.