Being a boss does not come naturally to every business owner. You may have started out as a solopreneur and never expected your company to grow beyond a handful of employees. Or you may have come up through the ranks of an existing operation and now you’re the one in charge. Regardless of how you got here, you need to be as efficient and effective as possible in order to keep your business growing.
We’re not talking about managing the day-to-day administrative details or becoming an expert in everything from cash flow strategies to HR. Running your business like a boss begins with thinking like a boss and bringing a leadership mindset to the table. Whether you’re new to the job or want to improve your performance, the observance of National Boss’s Day on Monday is an ideal time to consider a few fundamental strategies you can implement to win the respect of your team and instill confidence in your customers.
Think big picture.
Being the boss means thinking bigger about your business. In order to keep your focus on the big picture, you need to get out of the weeds. Many business owners will happily delegate tasks they aren’t good at. Effective bosses are not afraid to hand off critical business responsibilities such as accounting and marketing. They know that doing so will allow them to get more done as well as foster a competent and confident workforce.
Step back and let problems work their way up your management chain before they reach you. This will empower your employees to make more day-to-day decisions. Once a task is assigned, allow the employee or team to complete it without micromanaging. Step in only when it’s clear that they truly need support or direction.
It’s equally important to ask for help when you need it. Some bosses think they have to know everything, but admitting you don’t have all the answers is likely to be viewed by others as a sign of strength.
Have a backup plan.
When it comes to running your business, you can never be too prepared. As the boss, it’s your responsibility to build backups into every part of your business. Consider the situations that are likely to have the greatest impact and determine how you will respond to them. What will you do if a senior staff person quits or gets ill? What is your plan if a key vendor goes out of business? What happens if your website hosting company can’t handle a huge spike in traffic resulting from a new marketing campaign? Avoid becoming complacent so you won’t get caught off guard. Constantly thinking about worst-case scenarios and how you are going to be ready to deal with them will help ensure that your business can surmount even the biggest obstacles.
Beef up your communication skills.
Business owners typically deal with staff at all levels of their organizations. The best bosses find ways to stay connected and engaged with full-time, part-time, and remote employees. Today this means using tools ranging from face-to-face meetings and video conferencing to cloud-based project management and collaboration platforms.
Regardless of how high-tech a vehicle you use, success lies in following some basic communication strategies. Perhaps the most important is making yourself available to your employees and welcoming their input. Having an “open door” policy doesn’t mean your door is literally always open. What matters is that your people know they can come to you with issues or suggestions and you will be willing to listen.
Connected bosses also keep their employees well informed. This involves consistently providing updates on company news, policies, and procedures as well as incorporating regular feedback into your workplace operations. In addition to formal evaluations, give positive feedback during meetings or while you walk around the office. Meet with staff for a few minutes each week to discuss their projects and progress. Telling your employees how they’re doing throughout the year will help keep them motivated and committed to contributing to your company’s success.
As a boss, it is vital that you treat everyone fairly. Start by giving credit where it’s due. Acknowledge and applaud employees for a job well done. When others give you praise, take the long view and position your company’s accomplishments as a group effort. Be careful to avoid showing favoritism. This can backfire by de-motivating other workers as well as your star employees. When it comes to resolving issues with your staff, don’t be tempted to jump to conclusions based off of hearsay. Fairly assess situations based on the facts before you decide what actions to take.
Earning the respect of your employees requires maintaining a high degree of flexibility. In a nutshell, this means being open to new ideas and ways of doing things. You may need to make an exception to a company policy in order to avoid losing a valued staff member or be willing to test your team’s ideas for streamlining processes or improving products. If you want to boost the success of your business, you need to have the support and loyalty of your staff. Involving them in major decisions relating to the business will go a long way towards making them feel valued.
Running your business like a boss involves being confident, flexible, fair, and honest. You will have plenty of tough decisions to make, but leading by example and doing your job well will help you gain the respect and trust that are vital to achieving business success.
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