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here are no shortcuts to success, and the same is true if you're trying to become an effective small business leader. You want to be a boss that simultaneously nurtures and challenges your employees, as this will both keep them happy and help them attain success. Keep reading to find out what it takes to become an effective small business leader.  Symbiosis is a relationship between two organisms that is beneficial to both. And understanding this concept is essential to business leaders looking to bring out the best of their employees.  We live in an ever-changing professional environment where the needs of employees matter. It's no longer good enough to have a workplace where every employee adjusts to a rigid leadership style. This shift is happening because different personality types respond to different leadership techniques.  A study found that millennials are more likely to stay at their jobs for over two years in more flexible work environments. Many factors go into creating a flexible work environment, including effective leadership. And there's no better way to be effective as a leader than finding ways to put your employees in the best position to thrive.

An Effective Small Business Leader Sets Goals

For a company to progress, each employee needs to feel like they're moving forward. Additionally, it's important they feel like they're growing in the workplace. By setting goals for your employees, you're putting them in an excellent position to grow professionally.  

A good leader identifies what each worker's talents are, and finds ways to help them develop these talents. Such a leader also helps them discover new talents. Because of these factors, your goals for employees should be a combination of tangible achievements to aim for, as well as new skills to learn.   When you sync up an employee's talents with your company's goals, everyone wins. And the best leaders have the vision to set individual goals that lead to overall organizational milestones.

Communication Makes a World of Difference

If you're hoping to be a successful small business leader, you must learn how to communicate well with your employees. One of the most common problems that slow businesses down is poor communication. This issue happens when workers don't have all the information they need to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.  Similarly, it's crucial for your employees' happiness that their voices are being heard. Maintain an open and honest channel of communication with them. It's best to communicate with them in person, so arrange to have weekly meetings where you sit down with each employee for half an hour (at least).   In these meetings, listen to any concerns they have, and deal with them as swiftly as possible. Their success is your success, so find out if there are any ways you can make their job easier. Be willing to take feedback, and be flexible enough to adjust your leadership style if it's going to improve your employees' performances.

Offer Employees Constructive Feedback

Even the best employees are not going to knock it out of the park every day. If they are lagging in some way, use your knowledge and experience to lift them. Criticism can be a good thing that leads to professional growth. But the key is to offer constructive feedback that challenges your employees and helps them level up.  When giving them feedback, be specific by mentioning elements of their performance and behavior that aren't working. After telling employees what needs to change, provide them with advice on ways they can adjust their approach to better suit your expectations. The third part of this conversation is letting your workers know you want them to succeed, and this is the reason you are offering criticism.  So to sum it up, constructive feedback works best when you identify a problem, offer possible solutions, and remind employees that you believe in their abilities.

Don't Give Employees Orders. Teach Them

Being a good leader is not about dictating orders to your workers so they all cave to your way of doing things. Instead, it's about being a good coach for them.  Teach employees new skills and techniques to assist them in their jobs. By showing them how to use the tools and technologies you have learned, you are setting the tone for a more collaborative and cooperative work environment. Employees will get better at making important decisions on their own, providing them with trust in their abilities to do their jobs well.  

Small business

Similarly, encourage more autonomy in your workers once the training wheels come off. When they start getting better at their jobs, give them more freedom to innovate. Every team member has plenty to offer, and they may eventually identify new, better ways of doing things. And if this is the case, be open to new ideas that may improve how effective and efficient your business is.  After all, every great teacher hopes their students will one day surpass the teacher's own ability.

Appreciate Their Efforts, Celebrate Their Successes

Constructive criticism is integral to the success of your employees and your business, and positive feedback is just as valuable. When an employee reaches a milestone, be vocal about it. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts, and tell them how much their achievements mean to the company.  If a worker is reaching the goals you set out for them, it's a sign that you're a good leader. It also shows your employees believe in their abilities enough to step up and perform at a high level. They are growing as professionals, and your business is reaping the rewards.   Research finds that 43% of people are more motivated when they feel appreciated, while 79% of employees say part of why they quit their jobs is because they’re not appreciated. These figures show that positive feedback goes a long way towards retaining good employees and encouraging them to perform.  Remember, success is a concerted effort that requires moving parts that operate in harmony to achieve a common goal. And the success of your business is based on how well your employees perform, which is dependent on how good of a leader you are.  Foster a symbiotic relationship with your employees, and watch your business bloom.

The Takeaway

To become an effective leader, you must find a balance between nurturing and challenging your workers. There is no way of immediately telling what this balance will look like as it varies from person to person. And that’s your goal as a good leader - to find what that balance is for each person. Once you do find it, maintain it with open communication, constructive criticism, and positive feedback.

September 13, 2019
Company Culture & Management

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