5 Ways to Be a Better Manager (Even If You're a Small Biz Owner)

If you’re a business owner, you may realize that managing staff and running a business aren’t the same thing. While you may be great at balancing the books and bringing in new business, you may be lacking people skills that make you a good boss. If that’s the case, here are some tips to help you out.

1. Listen. If you tend towards an “in and out” managing strategy, you may not take the time to sit down and listen to what your employees have to say. Whether it’s a complaint about another worker or a suggestion about how you might be more efficient if you changed something in your operations, you can learn a lot when you actually listen. The added benefit is that your employees will begin to trust you better if you show that you really care what they have to say.

2. Communicate. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But make it a point to be more and more transparent in your operations. Planning to acquire another company? Let your staff know before you do, and address any concerns they may have about the purchase. Work to meet with all of your staff at least once a month or quarter. Break it down into departmental meetings if your company is big enough to warrant it. Be a man or woman of your word, and always make sure that your employees know what your word stands for.

3. Appreciate. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to show the people who work for you how much you appreciate all their hard work. Send an email or handwritten card to select employees every week or month, and pinpoint something they’ve done that goes beyond the call of the job. During the holidays (and on their birthdays too), send a handwritten card and gift or bonus. But remember that more than money or a gift, your word of praise is worth gold.

4. Learn. You can’t become a better manager in a bubble. Read blogs and web content with tips like these to improve. Attend seminars and webinars to teach you management strategies. Never assume you’re done learning how to improve your leadership skills.

5. Ask. It’s important for you to know how you’re doing in terms of managing, so ask your staff. Make sure they feel safe in giving you honest feedback. This can be difficult. Explain what you’re trying to do with a particular strategy, and ask for input on whether it’s reaching your intended goal or not.

Small business owners can be good bosses, but it takes work. Dedicate yourself to be the kind of boss you’d like to have.

Photo: Stock.xchng user arte_ram. Royalty free.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as MashableSmall Business TrendsFutureSimple, BizLaunch andLead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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