I’ll be the first to admit – I’ve made countless leadership mistakes throughout my career. As a person who’s owned loads of businesses and managed hundreds of people, mistakes are bound to happen. But the sign of a true leader is learning from them, and growing from them.
As a small business owner, you want to grow your company and see it flourish. If you are going to stay on in a leadership position, rather than relegating that role to someone specifically hired for it, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities to fail as a leader.
Many business owners are amazing as founders, but they are terrible as managers and leaders. If you’re one of these people, it may be better to recognize this early and step down now, rather than letting your company suffer for it. Your place in the business may be as a silent partner, or it may be time to sell your start-up and move on to the next new business venture.
On the other hand, you may have what it takes to be a great leader, but you just need a little bit of guidance through the pitfalls. So, here are some common mistakes that small business owners make and how to avoid them
Hiring the First Person in the Door
Launching a new business venture is not easy, and there’s a lot of pressure to get up and running quickly. A lot of business owners make the mistake of hiring one of the very first candidates they meet. It’s understandable; you’re under a lot of pressure, and you think something like, “This person meets most of my criteria and can start tomorrow. Am I really going to find someone better before tomorrow?”
Well, you might not find someone better before tomorrow, but you might very well find someone better before next week or the week after that. So, especially in the beginning, as your company is just getting its footing, and your staff are just getting into the groove of things, take a little extra time and really consider all of your candidates. Don’t hire anyone who’s almost good enough. Don’t settle for mediocre talent. Instead, wait just a little bit longer and find the best talent in your area.
Failing To Delegate
What is your job? If you can’t answer that question simply and quickly, you have a problem. If you’re constantly switching modes – between sales, management, development, etc. – it’s past time to do some delegating. If you don’t, you’re going to spread yourself too thin, and all of your tasks will suffer.
Instead, focus on the parts of your job that you really excel at. Are you the face of your company? Do you personally meet with new clients? Then you need to focus on this and delegate managerial duties to someone else in your company.
If you find that your time is best spent leading your crew, then it’s time to hire some account managers and sales staff while you focus on developing your team. It’s really up to you what you delegate; that’s why you’re the boss.
Not Communicating Enough
You may have a great vision for your company and where it’s going, but does your team know that? Do the people you work with and who work for you have a good idea of where they stand in the greater scheme of things?
It’s very easy to get caught up in closing with clients, managing daily tasks, and keeping everything running, but you absolutely need to make the time to communicate with your employees. Let them know what they’re doing right and how it affects the overall arch of the company’s trajectory. Keep them updated on what’s going on in the organization as a whole.
If you hire only people you’re excited to work with, delegate tasks and jobs appropriately, and keep in communication with your employees, you’ll be on your way to being a fantastic leader of a successful business.