As an entrepreneur leading a small or medium enterprise (SME), you have a tall order to manage each day: from leading your team to setting an example and crafting a strong culture that systematically grows your business. There are many things that already make you a good leader but it stands to reason that strong leaders keep growing. So what can you do to extend yourself and be an improved SME leader?
1. Attend even more carefully to your team’s needs
Consider the idea that in a business of 10 people, one staff member actually makes up 10% of your manpower. This idea helps you better conceptualise how valuable each and every team member is to the sustainability of your business. Making it incredibly important to optimise their individual experiences.
Rather than making assumptions about how your staff feel about their work experiences, try asking them. This might be done anonymously through a survey, management meetings or periodic one-on-ones. The important thing is to foster a culture of openness and communication.
Added to this, it is important to consider if your team has been equipped with whatever they need to do a good job. This needs to be considered on an individual and team level. You should consider if there are policies in place which foster a good work-life balance and whether you have strong rewards programs in place. Further to this, do you thank your staff for work done well? All these are simple yet important considerations to help your team feel more valued and empowered.2. Clearly communicate your vision
When you conceptualised your business, you probably had a very strong vision in place. But have you communicated these ideas and plans to your team? It is crucial that these ideas don’t remain only in your own mind. Your team is made up of individual minds who will make your vision a reality. Not only does this matter on a practical level, but conceptually, you need your team to buy into your ideas and share your passion for the projects that lie ahead.
With this in mind, it's important to host workshops and think tanks, creating opportunities to think together about the bigger picture and what needs to happen in order to bring these plans to fruition. Harnessing staff buy-in is enormously important and can make the difference between having a team that comes to work to simply get a job done and inspiring a team who feels motivated and passionate because they are authentically contributing to something greater than themselves.
3. Focus inwards
SME owners can become so overwhelmed with the day-to-day dealings of running a business, that they may neglect their own needs and well-being. So it is vital that business owners pause and consider their own needs and work on self-development. This may start with simply dedicating time on your calendar to reading, doing a course or putting yourself into therapy to really investigate what you want for yourself and why. Remember that if you don’t look after your own needs, you are in danger of neglecting the people around you. So start with yourself and you may instinctively begin applying this consideration within your company culture and beyond.
The bottom line
A sign of a strong leader is that you never stop learning and are always open to tweaks. This often begins with an outlook and paying careful attention to the people around you. With these 3 steps you will be in a stronger position as a leader and in turn, your business will be poised for growth and a strong sustainable outlook.