Management is not an innate skill, and if you’re a self-motivated entrepreneur with great ideas, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you’ll be naturally disposed to leading your team. But don’t let this strike worry in your heart. There are ways to learn and improve, after all: It can pay off to take the time to assess your management skills, particularly as you might have found yourself in authority via something of a whirlwind ride from launching your startup. Even if you’re doing a pretty good job, everyone is an individual and there are bound to be elements of your management game that could improve with a little polishing.
Indeed, the first trick of great management is always seeking to be a better leader. Not only is it essential that your business be led with boldness, humility and creativity, but your crew needs a good example to follow. If you’re always striving for better, chances are they will too. Have you initiated some kind of assessment or feedback process to ensure you’re staying on top of your game? Do you have your eye out for seminars and workshops that can fill in the gaps in your experience? You should be looking out for these elements and applying these principles to your staff.
And it’s that staff of uniquely talented characters who form the fabric of your organization that you need to listen to most closely. If you don’t feel you have the trust of your team, it’s a strong indication you’re still struggling as a leader. But this trust can be won with application: Motivate and inspire your team rather than ordering and disciplining them. And be ready to listen nonjudgmentally when they have a problem. It is far more likely they’ll approach you to resolve a situation that will improve the business’s prospects if you’ve fostered this kind of environment.
If these feel like the kind of lessons you need to start putting into practice, start with this flowchart, which can help you figure out step by step what kind of a boss you are and how to go about improving your leadership style.