Leadership is a crucial skill to develop when you own a small business. Oftentimes small business owners feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and it can show in their management tendencies. Instead of trusting the people they hired to get the job done, they micromanage and obsess about getting everything perfect, often to the detriment of the overall mission.
Out of fear and frustration well-meaning business owners can doom their businesses just by being an accidentally bad boss. Fortunately, leadership skills are skills you can develop with a little work and practice, and developing those skills will lead you to a better business in the long run.
Toxic workplace culture is one of the main things people cite when they leave a job, and turnover is a very costly thing for a small business. The stress of owning a small business can turn you into a toxic boss if you aren’t cautious. Nearly two thirds of people have left a job because of a bad boss and 77% of people who currently have a bad boss plan to leave their jobs within the next year. Bad bosses are self-absorbed, selfish, and rude, and it’s easy to become this way totally by accident when you are running a small business.
Good leaders are often described as honest, supportive, and communicative, and 94% of workers with good managers feel passionate about their jobs. If you are running a small business, don’t you want people working for you who feel passionate about their jobs? Cultivating that passion in others starts with cultivating leadership skills within yourself.
Having good management skills is foundational for any business, but whether you cultivate those skills further into leadership skills or let them degrade into bad boss skills is all in how you work it. Hire people who have different skills from you and who you can trust, and then get out of their way and let them do their jobs.
Keep an eye out on the bigger picture but let your employees manage the smaller picture stuff. When an employee comes to you with a problem, work together to find a solution instead of trying to cast blame and punish.
Focus on maintaining relationships and growing networks so that you are always able to help others when needed—they might return the favor when you need it. Allow your workers to be themselves and take an interest in their lives outside of work.