Are you part of the team, or do you lead it? For small businesses with a small staff, the answer is often “both.” That becomes a challenge when aspects of one role come into conflict with the other. Being a member of the team can make it awkward to take charge. But as long as you sign the checks, it’s important to maintain your identity as the leader, even when you’re also a hands-on member of the team. Here are three tips to help you wear both hats more effectively.
- Balance visibility and blending in
“We know that leaders need to be seen by followers—from formal presentations and announcements, to a crisis, to simple ‘managing by walking around,'” writes Brian Evje for Time Business. “The less-obvious occasions, however, are easily overlooked. They can be lost opportunities, or powerful expressions of leadership.” Bearing unpopular news and mediating disputes are occasions when it should be clear who is in charge, but at the same time, great leaders also know how to blend into the team. In the case of mediation or training, you need to make it clear that even though you are the leader, the issue at hand is more critical. Take a step back to make sure that your staff and team understands that they can bring you issues and challenges and get a real solution for them.
- Set the sense of purpose
A common sense of purpose is the core of any team. Clearly setting and maintaining that mission marks you as the leader, even while you’re working elbow-to-elbow with employees. Regardless of business type, your company’s purpose can and should be articulated to the team. Sell machine parts? Then you and your team are helping your customers to keep their equipment running. The receptionist at an insurance company helps protect people from financial catastrophe. Always take the time to clarify the big-picture importance of what your people – and make it a habit to teach them that importance from their first day on the job. This will help them to stay focused and committed, even when the demands are great.
- Be right or be wrong, but be in charge
As a business owner, you are a leader. As a result, you are expected to be right most of the time, but occasionally, guess what? You’ll be wrong. You need to own that and make sure that your team understands that you are human and, on occasion, will make mistakes.
Is there a “right” way to be wrong? Yes! Do your homework on the subjects and stay on top of the facts in any given area, but acknowledge that you don’t need to be an expert on a subject, that’s why you hire experts. As one famous restaurant owner once said to his Executive Chef, “I don’t need to know how to cook the steak, I just need to know how YOU cook the steak!” Manage your team’s expectations, show respect, and be happy you learned something on the (rare) occasion you’re wrong.
Each of these points is about creating and leading a team and balancing both leadership skills and your ability to be a team player.
New Life Tax Resolution is here for you.
Need a Team to solve a Federal or state tax controversy? Give me a call: Patrick LeClaire at 407-287-6638. I will make every effort to solve your issues. If you choose to go solo, point you in the right direction.