Are you a good manager?
Once you take on staff, you are a manager – and for your business to succeed, you need to be a good one.
But the biggest problem can often be getting owners to recognise their management style is a problem, says Perth business coach Paul Roach.
Poor management skills are a “massive” problem for SMEs, Roach says, with owners wasting time and undermining staff by micro-managing.
“I see business owners looking to find fault with employees. They’re almost sitting back, pointing the finger at what they don’t do. But a lot of business owners don’t step back and see what they’re doing,” he says.
In other cases, trying too hard to be a “good manager” can be the problem.
Roach once coached the owner of a WA plumbing business who required his on-road teams to meet at head office each morning and afternoon to “check in”.
He believed it was good for morale, but it resulted in hours of lost productivity, with staff needlessly shuttling to the office twice a day for unproductive meetings.
Good management can often be about getting out of the way and letting staff do their job. Although the vital key here is that you have sufficient training and structures in place to ensure they have a clear understanding of their roles and expectations.
Staff need to understand your business ethos and goals to be invested in your company, rather than just employed by it.
It is important to seek feedback. Are there any changes they believe would make their role more efficient or productive? They may have insights you have overlooked.
If you are concerned, here’s three simple ways to boost your management skills:
1. Get a mentor
Roach is a big believer in business owners educating themselves. “I find a lot of the learning to be a good manager or leader comes from finding a good mentor you can relate to,” he says. You may find a mentor through local business networks, or you may follow a well-known business leader online.
Management courses abound. CCIWA regularly runs management and leadership courses.
3. Listen and read
Books, podcasts and blogs are all invaluable sources of information. “If you read a book and you pick up one good thing then apply it to your business, fantastic, you can have a better business,’’ Roach says. Podcasts, in particularly, are time efficient. Listen while you work out, or drive.