5 Signs You Need to Change Your Small Business Management Style

You may have started your own business to get out from under the thumb of a bad manager. Who can blame you?

So whether you hire subcontractors for various projects or work with a small staff, it’s up to you to lead, inspire and get out of everyone’s way. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

When I was in the corporate world, I worked for a wide variety of bosses. Some were power-hungry individuals who scared off good employees, while others truly wanted what was best for the company and his or her employees. From some of my bosses I learned that a boss with little to no management skills can lower a company’s productivity and increase the staff’s blood pressure. Yet through another boss I learned that strong management skills can take a company to new levels.

There are a few ways to figure out whether or not you’re doing a good job of managing others.

You delegate a task and then take care of it yourself. It’s called micromanaging and it doesn’t work. Sure, you’ll finish the tasks on everyone else’s list, but not the ones on your list. Alternative: If you’re going to ask someone to handle something, let him or her do his or her job. A good follow-up system will make sure others meet your deadlines.

You give a deadline for the project but don’t follow up. Eventually your staff or subcontractors will figure out that you’re not going to bother to check on whether or not they’ve handled a project. At some point they’ll question why they should bother doing the work. Alternative: Give delegated tasks a deadline date so you train others to finish tasks on the date you need them. Then follow up to make sure the tasks are completed.

You give vague descriptions of what you want someone to do and then expect others to read your mind. This is something I had to learn how to do when I had a corporate assistant. I thought that my directions were clear, but the end result wasn’t even close to what I had asked for. I finally figured out that the breakdown was on my end. Alternative: When you delegate, make sure that the person you’ve delegated to understands what you want him or her to do.

You assign a task without a deadline and then go ballistic when the task isn’t completed immediately. Alternative: If you want something finished at a specific time, make it clear up front.

You keep changing your mind. Alternative: give someone clear direction and then move on. Otherwise you’ll be a Teeter Totter.

Managing others isn’t easy. Admitting to yourself that your management style may not be working can be even more challenging.