Stepping into a role as a business owner with employees is not as easy as it sounds. It is now your job to motivate employees to do their best, make tough decisions about day-to-day operations, and guide the company to a successful future. It can feel like you need to be an expert in everything. Here is where you start. Follow these 10 best practices in business management so you can lead your team members.
1. Engage Your Employees
Studies have found that 68% of employees are disengaged in their work. This means they don't care whether the company succeeds or if they gain the approval of senior leadership. These employees put a drain on the company and limit your potential for growth. If you are looking to break out of the mold as a leader, consider engaging your employees. Find out what motivates them and what drives their career goals. By keeping them excited about their work, you can drive your business successfully.
2. Adopt Flexible Work Policies
Your employees want to be treated like adults. If you respect them, they will respect you. More companies are opting for flexible work policies so employees can choose their hours within the workday and even work remotely. For example, one employee could decide to work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days.
Look at your organization to see which policies could be more flexible. A few small changes to increase the freedom your employees have could make their work-lives better and improve productivity. Plus, it means you will spend less time managing processes and employee hours.
3. Lead by Example
Leading is less about telling your employees what to do and more about guiding them through their work. If you show your team members how hard you work and that you care about what you do then your work ethic might be contagious.
Not only should you lead by example to motivate your team members, but you can also do it to train them. Give your staff opportunities to lead or to learn new skills through you. They will appreciate the growth opportunities and you can develop a more resilient staff.
4. Develop an Open Management Style
An open management style means that your team members feel free to come to you with questions and concerns. It means that you are open to new ideas and ways of doing things that your employees bring up. This shows that you are a tool to help them get their work done better, rather than an enforcer trying to maintain the status quo.
Embracing an open management style can start with keeping your door open or letting your employees know that you are available if they need you. You show that you have an open leadership style by implementing ideas based on what your employees think is best and considering various options before making a decision. This empowers your team to choose the best options possible.
5. Reward Achievement
It only takes a few minutes to reward your employees, but this can have a major impact on their performance. Send a quick email thanking someone for their work or take a department out to lunch to reward them for reaching a goal. This shows that you notice not just the problems and flaws within a team, but the good work that your top employees do as well.
6. Focus on Alignment
Oftentimes, companies come up with a few key business objectives and expect management to present these ideas down the line of the company. Somewhere along the way, these ideas get lost. As a business owner, you can determine how your company's objectives turn into actions. You can maintain alignment throughout the company so even the newest entry-level employees can follow these plans.
7. Communicate a Clear Mission and Strategy
Why should your employees work hard? Why should they care about their work? One of the most important management practices is to convey the company mission and keep your team members focused on the big picture.
Without a clear mission and strategy, your employees are likely to flounder and lose motivation. They may become disengaged and consider leaving your company. Make your staff excited about the work they have to do and the impact they can make on your industry.
8. Hold Regular Check-In Meetings
Regular meetings can help you listen as well as talk with your team members. They give your employees a space to address concerns and present ideas. For example, one of your employees may have an idea for how your company can offer better customer service. If you don't set aside time to listen to these ideas, they will never come to light. These meetings can also be used to build trust in your leadership ability with your staff.
9. Maintain a Culture of Innovation
Let your employees try new things and explore new ideas! Innovating is all about testing and exploring what is possible. Companies that create a culture of innovation can show how dedicated they are to staying up-to-date on modern trends.
When employees work in an innovative workplace, they feel comfortable coming to you with problems. They find solutions and ask your permission to try them. The burden slides off of you as a manager because you don't have to solve the problems on your own. Everyone benefits.
10. Set Clear Benchmarks for Improvement
Your team can't improve if they don't know what you expect from them. By setting clear benchmarks with key performance indicators (KPIs) your employees can work toward clear goals. Plus, if every team takes small steps for improvement, then the company as a whole will continue to perform better. This is relevant from major corporations that have thrived for decades to small businesses that just opened this year.
There's a saying in business that employees don't leave jobs, they leave managers. This means that team members might like what they do, but a bad manager can drive them away from a company. However, by following these best practices in management, you can avoid this dreaded turnover and create a team of staff members who thrive together.