Being the boss is one of the top five challenges cited by small business owners. Below are five simple leadership qualities entrepreneurs can embrace to be a better “boss” and better manage their employees.
1. Be genuinely interested in your employees.
You need to have a sincere curiosity for the people working for you and how you can serve them better. I’ve started several businesses, and the truth is that the life of an entrepreneur is very stressful. The average net margin of a company in the U.S. is between 5 percent and 8 percent, meaning 5 to 8 cents of profit for each dollar. Most employees don’t understand this, and they probably shouldn’t. It’s better to turn the tables around, and try to understand their world and priorities.
2. Let employees know how they’re doing.
Quantify what success is for your employees so that they know whether they’re winning or losing. People have an inherent need to know when they’re doing well. People want to know if they’re doing well in life or not. It’s part of human nature. It’s always a good idea to have very specific goals for employees and to have deadlines in place.
3. Take your management responsibilities seriously.
Effective management is a discipline and a skill. In fact, being a “good boss” is a totally separate job from the rest of your day-to-day responsibilities as an entrepreneur. Think of it as a craft. You need to seriously work at it in order to perform the role effectively.
4. Work with compatible people.
It’s important to know when it's not a good fit between you and the person you’re managing. There does need to be a level of chemistry between people who work well together. The worst thing you can do as a boss is to dislike the employees you manage. People know when you don’t like them, and they will not perform for you. If you run into this situation with an employee who is talented, try to find a way for that person to interface with someone else at the company directly.
5. Remember: Employees don’t own the business, you do.
You, as the business owner, have the most to gain or lose. Therefore, you are naturally going to care more than your employees do about the success of the company. You’re probably going to out-work them as well. It’s not that they are lazy; they are simply less incentivized than you are. Make sure that your expectations are realistic. And it’s not realistic for employees to be as invested in the company’s success as an employer.