Chapter 4: Managing Others
How well you are able to manage other people will determine whether or not your business is successful. This includes finding the right place for yourself in the company’s actions and for hiring employees. Choosing employees who are capable, competent, compatible, committed and who fit into your company’s culture will ensure that the day to day aspects of your company are taken care of. Preparing yourself for the challenges of becoming a boss will help make sure that you are able to lead the company to success. But truly successful leaders don’t rely purely on their own skills and characteristics. Instead they surround themselves with experts.
Surrounding Yourself with Experts
Experts are people who know more about a specific aspect of a business than you do. It is stupid to try to manage every aspect of the business yourself, as it is to try to claim that you are the most qualified person to do so. The best thing you can do to ensure that the vast majority of the management decisions made are positive and correct is to surround yourself with experts.
31-Free up your time.
Every decision your business management team makes takes time and effort to create. You need to carefully consider all of the pros and cons and how a particular decision will affect your company and its bottom line. The more you rely on experts to help you with this research the more time you will have to run the other parts of your company.
32- Choose niche-specific experts.
The purpose of hiring experts is to use the knowledge and skills of other people to accomplish certain tasks better than you could on your own. Therefore it makes sense to choose experts in very specific niches. For example, one of your managers could be an expert in finances, while another is a marketing genius. This way you don’t have to be a master of either of these things to excel in them.
33- Recognize your own weaknesses.
The best way to hire the best experts is to understand where you need the expertise of other people. This means you must have an understanding of where your knowledge is the weakest.
34- Choose experts to fulfill your business’s overall vision.
If you are able to find niche-specific experts that all buy into the same overall vision for the company then odds are your company will see sustained growth.
Being a Positive Leader
Being a leader is difficult and it requires many traits and skills. The most important of these is a positive attitude. Your mental attitude will determine how you experience every aspect of your life, including how you run your business. It will also have a tremendous influence on how you act as a leader and how well you are able to influence your employees. Even though maintaining a positive attitude on a daily basis can be a tricky thing to do, it is one of the most important aspects of being a good leader and it will have many positive effects on your business.
35- Smile a lot.
One of the simplest ways to maintain a positive mental attitude on a daily basis is simply to smile a lot around the office. When you smile it causes other people to smile and generally displays a happy and positive attitude that others will emulate.
36- Find good things to say to other people.
People like compliments and the simple act of saying something nice to someone can go a long way towards changing their attitude and their performance. The more you work to find nice things to say about people the easier it will be to come up with things.
37- A positive attitude will increase productivity.
Happy workers are productive workers. The happier and more adjusted your employees are the harder they will work and the more productive your
company will be.
38- You don’t need to be unrealistically upbeat.
Maintaining your positive attitude day in and day out can be very difficult, especially when the stresses and strains of everyday life get in the way. Your employees will look to you during the tough times and act the way you do. If you are positive and upbeat they will be too. That being said you don’t need to be unrealistically upbeat all of the time, or else you may seem fake. Even in the most trying of times a simple change in perception or recognition of something positive can make a world of difference.
39- Focus on only the things that you can change.
Again, it doesn’t make sense to try to change things that are beyond your control. Focus on altering only the things that are within your power to change and work on how you perceive the things you cannot change.
40- Give credit where credit is due.
One of the best things that you can do to create a positive working environment is to give credit to your employees when it is due. No one can do it all themselves, so when the company is doing well it is because of the hard work of all of the employees. Giving credit when it is deserved will increase worker morale and encourage them to keep up the good work.
41- Whenever possible give credit in front of others.
When you do give an employee credit for their hard work, try to say positive things to them in front of other employees and even customers. This increases the praise for the employee and portrays a positive attitude for other people to see. It also increases the image that you are indeed a positive leader.
42- Empower your employees by allowing them to make their own decisions.
You chose to hire your employees because of their various skills and traits. Now is the time to empower them to do their jobs by trusting them to make their own decisions. Believe that they are doing their best to help the company achieve its goals and let them do their job.
43- Don’t second-guess your employees decisions.
Even if a specific decision turns out to be a wrong one it is never a good idea to second-guess it. No one likes to be second-guessed and it will ruin the trust you have built up with your employees. Instead of constantly securitizing your worker’s decisions, hear them out. Ask why they made a particular decision under the circumstances and use it as a training opportunity.
44- Deal with any problems directly and honestly.
The best way to deal with any problems with your employees is to be both direct and honest. You don’t need to crush someone’s spirits, nor do you have to pad them with compliments or sugar coat it for them. Direct honesty will get you far more respect and it will help you to more effectively deal with the problem.
45- Never reprimand an employee in front of others.
Sometimes being a boss means that you have to ‘be the bad guy’ and reprimand an employee. In addition to being direct and honest with your reprimands, be sure to do them in private. Your employee will respect that and it will help to keep the office attitude positive.
46- Do nice things for your employees sometimes.
Actions definitely speak louder than words. Every now and then show your workers that you really do appreciate them by doing something nice for them. Just going the extra mile occasionally can make a world of difference.
Understanding Where Conflict Comes From
Whenever you create a group of people and have them work together conflict can happen. Conflict is never a good thing in a professional work environment. It can negatively impact your team’s morale and productivity and therefore, your bottom line. One of the best things that you can do as a leader is to understand where such conflict comes from. Once you understand its source you can go about getting rid of it.
47- Conflict doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
Of course conflict is bad for business, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the worst thing is the world. Conflict can challenge how people think and create new ideas once it is resolved. Once a conflict between two people is dealt with and overcome, the level of trust and respect between those two people is often increased.
48- A lack of conflict can represent complacency.
The right amount of workplace conflict means that the company is growing and thinking. A total lack of conflict can mean complacency.
49- Identify the underlying cause of conflict.
The best way to identify the underlying cause of conflict in your office is to be direct and honest with your employees. Ask them questions. Be prepared to deal with the problem immediately.
50- Focus on the positive aspects of conflict.
You know that positives like more trust and respect can come out of resolved conflicts, so do your best to focus on these potential positives when dealing with your employees and their problems.
51- Allow employees to settle their own problems without your intervention.
It is your job to intervene when an employee is mistreating another worker or failing to do their job properly, but you as the boss do not necessarily have to get involved with every employee dispute. In many cases the best course of action is to allow the employees to settle their own problems. Let your workers know that a professional work environment is necessary and while they don’t have to be friends, they do have to be professionals.
52- Get to know your employees in order to understand where conflict comes from.
There is a lot to know about your employees. You should take the time and spend the effort to really get to know your workers, including their strengths
and their weaknesses. This will help you to understand the source of most types of conflict that arises around them and will give you the answers to solving the problem.
Developing your listening skills is one of the most important things you can do to become a good leader and boss. Your employees are a valuable part of your organization and they deserve to be heard. Not only will taking the time to really listen to your workers improve their morale and how they think of you as a boss, but it will also help you to better understand what is really going on at your business. Listening can also open new doors and ideas, which will increase productivity.
53- Let people finishing talking before you begin to speak.
This is a simple yet effective way to improve your listening skills. Simply let the person finish their point before you intervene. Try not to think about objections to their points while they are talking and don’t assume you know what they are going to say before they say it.
54- Acknowledge the other person’s points.
You don’t have to agree with their points, but you should at least acknowledge that you understand them. Repeat the person’s main concerns in your own words after they have finished speaking in order to acknowledge that you have truly heard and understood them.
55- Sometimes just listening can be enough.
In some cases you may not have to take any action to resolve the person’s problem. Sometimes simply listening to their problems and acknowledging that you understand can be enough. Hearing out an employee can often help them feel empowered and significant, which may end up fixing the problem on its own.
56- Let your employees know that you are available.
Being a good listener also means making sure that people know that you are accessible. Make sure that your employees know that you are willing to listen to them when necessary and that you are available to do so.
57- Remember that your employees are people.
It is always a good idea to remember that your employees are people and that they will have bad days and problems of their own. Of course it is the employee’s responsibility to deal with their own personal issues outside of work, but it never hurts to remember that they are indeed humans. Your employees are not just cogs in your business’s wheel- they are actually the heart and soul of your company and deserve to be treated as such.