The secret of a great small business team

Small business leadership and management

The best leaders aspire to make those under them greater than themselves.

Poor managers are fearful that those they manage may someday outshine themselves.

If you want to achieve great success, you need to be the first type of leader I described. The reason is simple and I’ll give it to you in the form of a question:

Would you like your company to someday be led by individuals who know more and are more competent than even yourself?

When you have a team that can push your business further than you have been able to develop it, is when you can begin to step back somewhat from the day-to-day operations. And, if you can achieve this by the time you’re considering retirement, you are in the ideal position to enjoy profits from a business that is humming along. Or if you want to sell your business, having a team of talented managers busy taking it to the next level will boost your sales price.

Check your attitude

The first step is to do a gut check with yourself to be sure that you aren’t the kind of person who harbors envy at the achievements of others. The next step is to be sure that others in leadership positions on your team are the kind of people who encourage others to realize their full potential.

This means that much of your job and the job of other leaders in your small business – at least when it comes to working with one another – is to be a coach and an encourager. And, you need to learn to take satisfaction from being a great coach.

Have you ever noticed that the most successful coaches at the highest levels of sports weren’t the greatest players during their careers? In fact, more often than not, the greatest players do not make the best coaches. They fail to understand why others can’t play the game as well as they did.

You aren’t the best marketer

Let’s transfer that to the business world. The greatest managers in business, then, would be those who are able to get the most from their employees. They needn’t be the greatest marketer in the company, or the greatest software engineer in the company. They need to be able to make each marketing professional the best that he or she can be. They need to be able to spur software engineers on to doing the best work they are capable of.

These qualities must be engrained in your company culture. Too often employees see the potential for promotion and growth within a company as a zero-sum game; when another person is promoted above them, their chances go away. You need to let people know that when the best people are doing the best work in the positions for which they are best suited, opportunities will be created across the board.

So make a commitment to root out envy and in its place establish a culture of encouragement and support. And don’t forget that your leadership by example is the best way to spread this attitude.