Managing Your People as a Small Business Owner

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January 13, 2019
small business
small business

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Many small business owners feel so overwhelmed with the tasks on their to do list that at some point they take the leap into employing others, yet, often as a result of now having to manage a team they tend to find themselves being more distracted and overwhelmed by the needs of managing the team – as not only do they have to deal with interpersonal disputes, motivation issues, and absences… they also have to provide a powerful and positive role model in terms of being a leader.

At times, this can feel incredibly overwhelming, in the sense that it can be a lot of pressure on you to have to manage people whilst also running a business. If you’re a manage within a large business, then there’s  pressure, but it’s not quite the same as it’s less personal – you don’t have so much riding on it, whereas, when it’s your business things feel deeply personal and what could have once been shaken off as a HR dispute, now feels like a personal attack and insult on your business.

Therefore, it’s important to retain a sense of professional detachment whilst remaining friendly and keeping rapport with your team.  It can be a tough balancing act, and there’s a reason many people outsource HR issues and labour management to companies such as, yet it is something you can achieve, it just takes a little time.  But wait, you don’t have time… right?

Here are three tips to helping you manage your people as a small business owner:


There’s always a fine line between being a leader and a dictator – nobody likes dictators that bark orders, yet people do like to be led… they appreciate the certainty that comes from strong leadership and are happy to play their role within your company – presuming they feel empowered and autonomous within their area of influence.

It can be a difficult balancing act, as a common mistake is to treat everyone as a friend, rather than an employee.  You therefore need to view yourself as the captain of the ship – in the sense that captain’s unapologetically give orders to their crew; and whilst it’s important to be civil and respectful, rather than tyrannical like a pirate, it’s equally important you assert your authority.


Whilst you want to be the captain of the ship, you don’t want to micromanage people – it’s important you allow people to focus on their task and feel autonomous within their particular area of expertise; be that anything from online marketing to cleaning – you want to empower your staff to use their initiative rather than trap them into the corner with micromanaging.


The best approach is to ensure that you are working in collaboration with your team, in the sense that you want to assert hierarchy but at the same time share a sense of common purpose and team spirit.  You don’t want it to be a tug of war between your team and you – or interpersonally within the team.