Too often we work with businesses with the “Do as I say, not as I do.” management mentality. And time and time again we see these practices fail to embrace the any of the progressive changes we try to implement. The reason sounds simple when you say it out loud… But management must start at the top.
Small business owners typically specialize in the industry in which they work, and not often enough are they able to transfer that expertise into managing their employees. Managing culture is one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners, and with an increasingly youthful and diverse workforce, those that fail to improve and expand their management toolkit will face increasing difficulty staying competitive.
Walk the Walk
One of the most straightforward ways to improve your management skills is simply to expect the same out of yourself as you expect from your employees. A perfect example of this is generating customer reviews (see our
not so groundbreaking post on Asking for the Review from 2012). Frequently we see our clients express to the staff the importance of excellent customer service and asking for the subsequent sharing of the customer’s experience, only to see the business owner not ask yourself not just what are my employees doing for me, but what am I doing for my employeessupport that tenet by his or her own actions. Something as simple as a smile, handshake, and a thank you to your customers can help, yet to often we overlook this.
The simple point is, as a small business owner, you must ask yourself not just what are my employees doing for me, but what am I doing for my employees.
Say It Out Loud
Creating and fostering a particular culture requires first determining what the culture ought to be. Are you committed to customer service? Are you committed to delivering exceptional value? Are you committed to being the most knowledgable? Before you can manage corporate culture, you must first define what the culture is. So take some time to put pen to paper and lay out your goals and tenets for the culture you want to foster.
After articulating the type of culture you expect of your business, you need to be it’s number one cheerleader.