Running a local business can put a great deal of pressure on the business owner.  Being able to provide strong leadership is even an important ingredient in marketing to your local customers, because most small business owners are personally connected to their brands. We are pleased to bring you today a guest post by Amy Fowler, from Performance1, a leadership development consultancy from the UK. 

Reaching the top of their profession might be the pinnacle for many bosses, but the real achievements can be seen in how effective they are as leaders to their staff.  Becoming a great and effective boss isn’t an easy process, and can involve a lot of investment in time and training to get it right.  But with a little know-how it can be achieved, and here are some tips to get you started.

Communication

Quite simply, if you aren’t a competent communicator then you’ll never make a great boss.  It’s absolutely vital to hone your communication skills at all levels, so that you can seem approachable to your members of staff.

Sitting in an office behind a closed door and never taking an active interest in what your workers are doing will lead to resentment and lack of motivation amongst your team, so get out on the shop floor, talk to people and let them know you’re available if they need any help.

Listen up

A great boss also needs to learn to listen.  If a colleague has an interesting idea for a new product or a new way of doing things, then you should take the time to listen to what they have to say.

Listen to what other team members have to say about what customers think, how their work environment could be improved, or more efficient ways of operating.  Giving the impression that you are open to suggestions will make your workers feel more able to talk to you about any issues or concerns that they might have.

Give feedback

It’s essential that your workers know how they are getting on with their tasks and projects, so any decent boss should dish out feedback at regular intervals.  If staff don’t know how they are doing or what their boss thinks of their work, then it can lead to a lack of focus and interest in the task at hand.

As part of the feedback process, ensure that you give your workers praise for the efforts that they make.  Giving praise can boost morale and productivity in a workforce, and it doesn’t cost anything to give!

Training

An effective boss should take an active interest in each member of staff’s development.  Whilst it might not always be feasible to send staff on expensive training courses, managers should still try and make an effort to understand how each staff member would like to progress in their role and what training needs they might need.

In fact, if you identify a shortfall in a particular skill with a number of staff, it can work out reasonably cost-effective to get a trainer to come in and teach these vital skill sets.

Managers should think about their own training needs, too.  Being an effective boss requires investment in skills and new ways of thinking, so regularly re-evaluating their knowledge in executive coaching or leadership development, for example, can be undertaken to keep knowledge up to date.

Recognise skill sets

Good leaders will make an effort to get to know each individual worker and understand which their best assets to the company are.  By recognising an individual’s strengths, a manager can assign tasks that fit their skill sets accordingly.  Workers will feel more motivated and encouraged if they feel that their manager takes an active interest in areas that they excel at most.

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Guest piece written for Performance 1, by A. Fowler. Find out more about leadership development by clicking here or visiting the Performance 1 Facebook page.