5 tips for training your small business employees

Part of being an effective leader is having great management skills. A great leader is not just someone who can inspire a team with their hopes and dreams, it’s someone who can effectively manage themselves and their team to accomplish the day-to-day tasks that help bring their vision to life.

Be a great manager with these five strategies:

1. Reflect and determine where you want to improve

Take a step back and reflect on your own areas of strengths and weaknesses, and this will enable you to be more effective in leading your team. A critical element of reflection is having the opportunity to receive feedback from your team about your own performance as a manager and leader, and the suggestions they provide to improve your performance.Nobody is perfect and there are always opportunities for continuous improvement both for yourself and your team.

Take the time to brainstorm and think about the areas you would like to develop and improve. This will then help you outline a plan to help you reach these goals. A team will respect a manager who is not complacent about their own skill set, is committed to their own development, and strives for constant improvement and change. This is a great way to build faith and trust with your team, and reinforce your commitment to the development of yourself and your team.

2. Perfect your balancing act

This leads to our second point of perfecting the balancing act. Before a manager can effectively manage a team, a manager needs to learn how to manage their own workload efficiently. Strong time-management skills are key to leading by example with your team. Perfecting the balancing act requires prioritisation, the ability to delegate tasks and knowing when to say ‘no’. To help you prioritise, you should make a list of tasks that need immediate attention whilst unimportant tasks can be pushed back to the following day. Daily to-do lists, planners and notebooks will help you feel more on top of your workload, which will help you avoid unneeded stress and missed deadlines. This isn’t rocket science, but getting into the habit takes practice and finding the system that works for you is critical.

When your current workload is overwhelming you, delegate tasks to your team, remember to take into account their own skillsets and work capacity. Lastly, it’s common for people to overestimate their capacity, thus taking on more tasks than they can handle. This is very easy to do and as good managers, we have to be aware of our own tendencies to do this and accept that sometimes it is better to say ‘not now’, rather than take on too much and not achieve to the expectations required. All these simple tips will help you perfect your balancing act. Rather than be seen as frazzled and unorganised, you will be setting a great example for your team.

3. Listen to your team

Fostering an environment of open communication and encouraging your team to share their thoughts and opinions is key to managing a high performing team. One of the biggest complaints of employees in the workplace is that they don’t feel heard, which can lead to unhappy and unmotivated teams. Providing opportunities and taking the time to listen to your team will allow them to feel valued and facilitate a stronger collaborative working environment. It is important to remember that you will experience times when team members don’t always agree with you or decisions that have been made, and this should be encouraged and not silenced. The opportunities for teams to question, seek clarification or put forward alternative points of view are key elements to enable teams to thrive and develop. Open dialogue and opportunities to achieve mutually beneficial conclusions, reinforces the acknowledgement and appreciation of all team members. These opportunities to connect with your team can be achieved in a number of ways, including scheduling one-on-one meetings, informal team catch ups, or even a more structured feedback system.

4. Deal with employee problems sooner rather than later

An important element of being an effective manager is your ability to deal with conflict and difficult situations. Facing it in a timely manner, rather than avoiding it is critical in situations where there may be an underperforming or inappropriate employee. It is important that the manager addresses the issues to ensure that the situation does not have a negative impact on the morale of the whole team. Remember, planning and preparing is important for addressing the issue in an appropriate way.

You may need to schedule a one-on-one meeting with the team member to raise the concern with them and provide them the opportunity to present their perspective. This will enable you to evaluate the situation based on the information you have received and develop the best plan of approach. There will be a range of options that you can utilise to resolve the issues depending on your organisational policies and procedures, and the sooner this process is commenced - the more effective it will be for all involved. Dealing with workplace conflict and issues in an efficient way will not only help with the smooth running of the organisation, but you will be seen as a respected, proactive and fair manager.

5. Share the vision and motivate your employees

When communicating the vision with your team, it is important to include them as part of the process. Whilst not everyone may fully agree or be aligned with the same vision, it is important that you provide the opportunities to share the vision and what it means for the organisation. Sharing this with the team and providing opportunities for the team to contribute to bringing the vision to life will generate a higher level of respect and acceptance, and hopefully shape a shared commitment for the team to achieve the day-to-day expectations.