Common Leadership Mistakes to Watch Out for in Your Small Business – Susan Ranford

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As the head of your business, you are the leader that everyone turns to. You might be a brilliant entrepreneur or chef, but you might not have every skill you need to run a business. Even the best business leaders need extra help to do their taxes, hire employees, or track their finances.

Like any skill, leadership is something that must be learned. By avoiding the worst leadership mistakes, you can set up your business for success. Here are some mistakes you should be watching out for:

Being Afraid Your Employees Are Better Than You

No one is able to do everything. At some point, you have to hire employees and delegate tasks. When you hire people, you need to hire the best staff members. Unfortunately, this is not what happens at every business. Some entrepreneurs are afraid that their employees will eclipse them. They want to be the most talented worker, so they deliberately hire people who are not a threat.

Sometimes, this problem is more insidious. An entrepreneur hires an amazing employee, but they micromanage everything that the employee does. In some cases, the entrepreneur deliberately avoids giving them tasks where the employee could get all of the glory. All of these actions are major mistakes. You need to hire the best people possible and give them a chance to shine. Better staff members ultimately mean that your business will ultimately earn more money.

Micromanaging Excessively

You cannot do everything. You have to train your employees to take on more tasks. Some employers end up micromanaging everything that their employees do. This is stressful for you, but it also makes it harder for your employees to do good work. To stop hovering over employees, consider using a project management tool. You can still see what your employees are doing–but you won’t be watching their every move.

If you don’t change, your employees may become afraid of making suggestions because their suggestion is not “your” way. At the very least, you will spend countless hours reviewing work that was already done fairly well. When it comes to running a business, you have to find a careful balance between being too hands-off and micromanaging.

Forgetting to Motivate, Train and Reward Your Employees

For your employees to do their best, they have to be trained properly. When an employee first starts, you have an opportunity to train them according to your vision. Once the employee has worked at the company for several months, they will naturally be resistant to change. If you try to retrain them, they may respond angrily or with frustration.

No one wants to be told that they are doing things the wrong way. Your best choice is to train them properly from day one. Your employees spend countless hours working for you each year. When someone puts a lot of effort into their job, they need to be rewarded for it. Even a small bonus will make employers feel appreciated.

If your business cannot afford a bonus or treating the employees to lunch, you can still recognize their efforts verbally or with a card. Showing your gratitude will make the employees feel appreciated and motivate them to do even better.

Throughout this process, you should be continually motivating your employees. Doing the same job every day can get tedious. Great leaders are people who are able to motivate others and rally people around a common cause.

Not Securing Your Network

For your business to function effectively, it needs to be protected. This includes human resource techniques, insurance, and other types of protection. Unfortunately, many people forget that their data is one of the biggest sources of security risks. By using a disaster recovery tool, you can protect your data from being hacked. Once the software is in place, you can focus on other security needs.

Speaking More Than You Listen

Good communicators are able to listen as much as they speak. If you are always talking, you will never be able to hear new ideas or spot potential problems. You hired talented, intelligent staff members. While you are also talented, it is always a good idea to get as much insight and creativity as possible.

Your employees may have ideas about ways to improve your profits or make the company more efficient. For example, it isn’t a bad idea to automate some of your employees tedious work. If your company sends out a lot of invoices, try using electronic billing instead. This way–the employees have more free time to do more meaningful work. If you make it a point to listen to them, you will be able to hear these ideas and put them to use.

Forgetting to Put Profit First

You want to create an amazing work environment, so you have coffee machines and baked goods for your employees. You want to create innovative products, so you invest heavily in research that will hopefully pay off in the future. Throughout the year, your company donates to charities to make the world a better place.

These are all great things to do, but it is extremely easy to lose sight of the one main goal of any business: profit. Your employees will not have a job for long if the business does not turn a profit. You owe it to everyone to make profits a priority.

Learn and Move Forward

Good leaders learn from the mistakes that other people make. By learning how to be a good leader, you can boost the success of your company. If you are afraid to take risks or change–you are hurting your company more than helping it. Mistakes are bound to happen in your life no matter what–just try make the best choices and take steps in the right direction.