When it comes to running a small business, you quickly realize that micromanagement isn’t always the smartest decision for managing your workforce.. Real leadership involves trust – in yourself and in the individuals you pick to be part of your team. Encouraging independence, while providing an open and collaborative work environment, encourages buy-in from your team. By letting your employees build leadership skills and make important decisions on their own, you can help them develop a sense of ownership and commitment to your company’s goals and values, while also increasing their satisfaction, improving productivity, and promoting loyalty, confidence, and ambition.  


Delegate Responsibilities 

Being on the front line for all of your customer’s needs can often keep you from focusing on growing your business and developing long-term strategies for success. Delegating some of the decisions to your staff allows you to build your business and turn your attention to other matters while trusted personnel handle your business’s daily operations. Before handing off responsibilities to your team, make sure you’ve provided all the appropriate training so that your employees can make judgments that conform to your overall goals. Communication is critical when it comes to delegating tasks, so deadlines and benchmarks should be clear and concise. Allow for different work styles and provide consistent feedback and assistance. Ultimately, successful delegation depends upon how well you’ve vetted your employees to ensure they have the right talents and capabilities to handle whatever comes their way. Entrusting your staff to do some of the heavy lifting demonstrates that you trust their judgment – and that trust will go a long way toward building a cohesive and effective workforce.  


Learning from Mistakes 

Do your employees feel confident making mistakes? Like learning to ski or ride a bike, there can be no progress without setbacks. When you delegate responsibilities, you communicate to your staff that you trust their judgment, so make sure you allow room for error. Set guidelines and establish clear boundaries, but don’t depend on rigid requirements or inflexible rules. Give staff the room to fail, because small setbacks can sometimes lead to big breakthroughs. Keep the spirit of innovation and risk-taking alive, and let your staff reach new heights in innovation and productivity.  


Communicating Your Vision 

It’s important to make sure everyone on your staff has a clear vision of your business goals and values. What guides your decision making? How do you define success? When you mark a clear path, you make it easy for employees to follow your lead. Start out by following through on your own promises, while demanding accountability from everyone at your company, from the file clerk to the VP. Maintain an open-door policy, and allow team members to ask questions, discuss issues, and provide both negative and positive feedback. Encourage your staff to be open with each other, and encourage discussion between departments so conflicts can be quickly and easily resolved.   


Building Trust 

As a small-business owner, creating a culture of trust extends beyond your staff to your customers. Employees who trust the leadership of the company they work for are more likely to operate at their highest potential. A dedicated and determined workforce is an invaluable asset to any small business. When you convey confidence in your team’s ability to make the right decisions, you set your business on a path to success. 


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