Leadership and Communication Tips
Barry Moltz has applied his decades of entrepreneurial experience to help businesses of all sizes get “unstuck” and growing again. His books include “Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success,” and “BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World.” In this month’s Expert Tips, Barry offers some thoughts on how small business owners can lead—and succeed—by example.
Communicating with employees can become more difficult as a small business grows. What’s the key to preserving a sense of collaboration and teamwork as more people come on board?
Communication is the most important thing in a business. It’s becoming a bigger issue as more people work remotely and rarely see each other. Still, you have to make time for phone, video, and in-person communication to keep everyone fully engaged.
A conundrum for many small business owners is sharing/confirming bad news or troubling trends out of fear that the best employees will leave. How can they safeguard sensitive information about the company, yet retain employees’ respect and loyalty?
Withholding information is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. With so many information resources and ways to access them, you have to assume that nothing is really secret anymore. So share as much as you can, and remember that employees appreciate honesty, and the opportunity to help. Get them involved in finding a solution.
What can small business owners do to keep their motivation strategies relevant and effective?
It goes back to communication. Good people stay when their motivators match the company’s. If they get out of balance, the person leaves or is fired. That’s why frequent performance evaluations are so important. You and the employee can share perceptions of his/her progress, see how well they match up with each other’s expectations, and where adjustments may be necessary. Ideally, this discussion should take place every quarter, not once a year.
Can a SCORE small business mentor be an effective resource in helping address leadership/motivation issues?
You can never go wrong with getting an expert perspective from someone outside the business. A SCORE mentor will help take a fresh look at known issues and perhaps bring new ones to light. Along with assuring the owner that he or she is not alone in facing them, the mentor can also offer resources for dealing with these issues.
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