Written by: Jane Parmel, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I confess – I am a recovering burned-out business owner.
I always gave everything my all and was brought up to know that it was a great thing to be a “Jane of all trades”, if you will – I was told that people will always look to you for help and you should be ready for everything. So, you paid attention, studied, learned what you did not know, and offered help when you could. Google search has made many of us geniuses, but there is nothing like speaking with someone who has “been there, done that” – it is reassuring in a way, to know that someone may have questioned what you question and was able to get through whatever with a bit of advice.
I read a post by Gifford Thomas on the Leadership First blog: "Some people think a leader should have a complete set of skills, characteristics, and abilities to handle any problem, challenge, or opportunity that comes along. This myth of the "complete leader" can cause stress and frustration for leaders and their teams."
I found this to be funny as I have been reading more and more about how, as a small business owner, you are expected to wear many hats, jump in when necessary, handle every fire that arises, but it's not generally the best thing. The industry I was involved in for over twenty years had one motto – “Never say ‘No, we don’t do that’ – tell your customer, ‘Let me get back to you with a price.’” I can tell you firsthand, and as a witness to several other businesses I have been involved with – it doesn’t work!
Can you do all those things? Possibly. But SHOULD you? Maybe the deeper analysis here should be a big maybe – but only if you have a team to work on those things collectively.
Success is measured in many ways when you are in business. Here are a few things to consider when you are looking for business success and avoiding a crash and burn for yourself:
1. Be clear about your company’s vision and the purpose for your company’s existence.
Make sure you know what you expect people to be saying about your business when the job is done and you are out of the room. An ounce of direction is worth a pound of a good recommendation from your client. Fulfilling your company’s stated promise by all your employees is vital.
2. Two-way communication with your staff is key.
The actor Tom Hardy said, "I was raised to treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO." Find out the “why’s” and the “where’s” for the journey that your staff members have for themselves. When there is a foundation of trust and interest, people will tend to be more open and willing to share. In larger companies, middle managers are key in this role.
3. Don’t micromanage.
Set out tasks, clearly defined, from beginning to end. There should be clear parameters that the work should stay within and the expected outcome or results just as defined. Let them do their jobs! Follow-up on the part of middle management or upper management is essential. And LISTEN to the comments that staff comes to you with when they are discussing their work.
4. Embrace feedback.
Listen and silent are spelled with the same letters. Hear what they say, accept suggestions, take things into consideration. Then make changes and tweaks to your plan or task accordingly.
5. Have empathy.
In the big picture, remember that this is a person’s job – not their life. You may feel that it is your life and that is a choice you made. But feeling like you are part of something bigger, part of a team – great leaders acknowledge that their team is the backbone of the company. Companies have been made and broken because employees either have disdain for their job or a love of the company they hold dear.
An empathetic leader who understands where each of the staff is in their journey helps to foster open channels of communication and lessens the chance of micromanaging, creates an environment for resilient and strong teams, and can succeed with the concept of power in numbers.
Want to get further? Build a team that you can trust AND can trust YOU, the leader!
Jane Parmel, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jane Parmel, the creator of "The Profit Project," helps women to powerfully transform their businesses by up-leveling their money mindset, signature system, and pricing to recognize their value and create a more profitable business through authentic marketing and efficient operations. She makes your bottom line the high point of your business! Jane is also the NY Global Business Connector for the Women Speakers Association, hosting events connecting women with resources to amplify their role as a “Phenomenal Message Maker” – clarifying their message, increasing their visibility, and growing their audience.