To run a great start-up business, you need a lot of qualities; tenacity, communication skills, vision and drive. You’re used to having to convince the world about the unique genius of your product or service – from securing seed funding, to bringing great suppliers on board, and even through to recruiting great team members when you start to expand. What you may not be quite so great at is the people management aspect of growing your team, especially if it’s something you haven’t had much experience with previously. Being a great manager is a skill of its own, and it can make the difference between being trapped in a costly and demoralising cycle of constant recruitment, or having committed, happy employees who want to grow the business alongside you. The good news is that being a great manager is a skill which can easily be learnt, and it turns out there are a handful of basic qualities you need to cultivate in order to do it right.
Be Upfront With Your Employees
A great connection can’t be built without one vital ingredient: trust. Your employees will never fully invest in you as a leader if you try and spin the facts, avoid giving bad news or dealing with unpleasant truths, or sugarcoat things. All of those actions imply an lack of respect for those who work for you, whether that’s intended or not. Most of us are searching for authenticity in the figures who guide us, so being direct and honest, even when it’s hard, is always the best policy. In this way, you create an office culture of honesty and respect that runs both ways, and that is a far healthier environment to work in that will ultimate benefit your business. Misunderstandings and speculation waste time, erode trust and damage productivity, so don’t let them be a part of your set up. As the manager you set the culture, so make it a positive, honest one.
Learn To Display Maturity
This can be a big ask, because we don’t always have the self-awareness to realise when we are bringing less than mature behaviour to the table. In creating the vision and values of your company, you have had an opportunity to align those with your personal values. Your objective now needs to be to embody those values – you’re no longer allowed to gripe to those at a lower level or indulge in gossip. Stop trying to be everyone’s friend and focus on being their leader instead. Whether you are breaking the news of redundancies or simply managing holiday requests, you must always be professional, as this is the only way to keep the respect of those who work for you.
Have Meaningful Conversations
Whilst you do need to uphold company policy, don’t become a machine that just spouts off lines from the on-boarding manual. Prioritise meaningful and regular communication with your employees and you can prevent a lot of problems from taking root. Schedule in regular one to one’s with those you manage and make them important – don’t bump them every time something comes up. Think of it as a time investment in your workforce.
Nip Problems In The Bud
Often when bad issues blossom in a business, it’s something which could have been avoided if the problem had been heard and sorted out at an earlier stage. You may need some extra training yourself on how to manage conflict in the workplace. No one likes to do it, but it’s absolutely essential within effective leadership.
Learn To Delegate
This can be a particular problem for those who have built their business up from scratch and are taking on staff for the first time. It’s essential to have the confidence to let people do the job you’ve employed them for. As hard as it can be to learn to delegate when the business has been your baby, you must give your employees freedom and accountability in order for them to buy in to the business and care about its success.