Efficiently managing a business is not an ability everyone possesses. Being a good leader, for example, requires being able to establish and clearly communicate a vision. A good manager knows how to help a business grow by demonstrating strong management skills when it comes to day-to-day activities, and making strategic improvements to the values established by the leader.
Your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur or business owner is to develop new skills to help you become both a good leader and a good manger—two instrumental roles in the building a solid foundation for a business.
Inspired by Henry Mintzberg’s book, Simply Managing – What Managers Do – and Can Do Better, I have put together a list of my observations and tips on how to develop these two important roles. I have personally put them into practice since I first started out in business.
It’s possible that your business plan, whether developed solely by you or in collaboration with your partners, will not be 100% fulfilled due to some missteps along the way. Expect the unexpected and find solutions to resolve and overcome these inevitable challenges.
Know the strengths and weaknesses of the people you work with
Whether they’re collaborators, employees, partners, etc., you must get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the people you surround yourself with. Knowing and understanding the profile of your business’ key players will help you communicate better, which in turn will encourage your team to work towards the same goals as you. As far as my business goes, I quickly understood that the members of my team were extremely talented and strong-willed! Knowing each and every one of them on a personal level has helped me be a better manager, all while allowing them to take on important roles within the company.
Step back and delegate
In order to be a good manger and see to it that your business grows, you need to accept the fact that you can’t do it all on your own. Concentrate on the things that will help you fulfill your company’s vision. To do so, it is important that you train someone to fulfill a certain role or handle certain tasks so that you can find the time to push your project further. Keeping a calm demeanour will not only inspire that person to feel confident in their new role, it’ll give them the chance to excel at it.
Be involved in your company’s day-to-day activities
If you want to make informed decisions, you need to stay plugged in to what’s happening at your company every single day. You can keep your ear to the ground through key people and ask them for status reports on a regular basis. You could even get your information by setting up a private online community via your company’s intranet, for example.
Share your experience with other leaders and managers
Nowadays, there are several ways (mentoring, collaborative learning groups, etc.) to exchange ideas with other leaders and managers who are in the same boat as you. It’s an excellent way to move forward and break any feelings of isolation you might sometimes experience as an entrepreneur.
Think for yourself
Your team and your network are getting bigger. Sometimes, you might find your decision-making influenced by other people. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with bouncing ideas off others, but always keep in mind that, at the end of the day, it’s your job to properly assess the situation and filter the input you’ve received from your entourage. That way, you’ll be able to move forward in the right direction, all the while not wasting time correcting mistakes and misunderstandings along the way. Also remind yourself that you can’t please everyone and the decisions you make and your actions mustn’t go against the grain of the values that you want to project.
Assess yourself regularly
It’s paramount that you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yourself inside and out allows you to surround yourself with people (employees, partners, collaborators, etc.) that complement you and help you grow your business. Moreover, being aware of mistakes made in the past, using them to make yourself better and finding a silver lining in them allows you to reach your goals.
Accept that the most interesting ideas are often those of others
You must develop your listening skills and accept the fact that you don’t always have the best ideas. For my MacQuébec project, for example, the best ideas don’t all come from me! They also come from people who actively host the web community.
What about you? Has any advice stuck with you and helped you grow as a leader and manager?
If so, I’d like to know more about it. Please leave me a comment with your story!