Be a better boss: tips on leadership for SME's

By KMC Human Resources

24 Oct 2016

When setting out in business, few people do it because they are great bosses and can’t wait to have a team of employees to lead.

By Karen Credie, KMCHR.

In fact for many, being a leader is simply a by-product of being successful in a particular field of expertise and therefore having a growing business that requires staff.

For this reason, directors of SMEs don’t always have the strongest leadership skills at the outset. Whilst picking up some of the traits of being a good boss along the way, few directors have had much or any training in leadership style and delivery.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to developing your skills as a boss.

Leading vs managing

Being a manager and being a leader are two very different things and whilst businesses often have plenty of managers, there is commonly a lack of leadership. Being a leader involves having the ability to make change in an organisation, gain the trust and dedication of staff and being able to inspire each and every one of them to take action and perform to their best ability.

To be a better boss, it is important to recognise the distinction between management and leadership and ensure that you, and any other senior staff you consider ‘leaders’ in your company, are living up to the title.

Lead by example

Having a set of goals or values stuck to the wall and actually seeing that these become part of a company’s culture are very different. Whilst having defined goals that are visible to staff is better than having these locked away in your own head, bringing them into people’s daily activities can be an uphill struggle. One way to start the process is to embrace them into your day to day actions.

If you want staff to treat every customer as an individual, you need to do the same with both your staff and customers. If creating harmony and respect between employees is important to you, you need to actively show that you treat staff and other stakeholders in this way.

There is little point dedicating time and energy to creating company values if you yourself are unable to stick to them. In any case, if you cannot follow the values you create, employees will soon see that these are disingenuous and naturally revert back to their own methods.

Don’t go it alone

It can be very lonely at the top. Company directors are often faced with several issues to address and problems to fix on a daily basis; so much so that it can leave little time to focus on the workload in front of them, let alone self-development.

A good leader knows when they are out of their depth and has the ability to foster help from others. Don’t try to do everything yourself; delegate within your team or to external companies to try and create more time to spend on the business and the people in it. If it’s the managing of people you struggle with, consider bringing in the expertise of an outsourced HR consultant. Companies such as KMC HR can either act on behalf of a business as their HR function, or be brought in to coach managers on a variety of skills.]

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