In a Corporate it’s just so much easier managing people than as a Small Business Owner. I have done both and although I enjoy Leading & Managing (and I think most would consider me quite adept at this), one thing I have really come to grips with is that how it’s way different out for yourself compared to being a cog in the machine at a big Corporate.
This article I would like to dedicate to two amazing people – Michael Mourad (Pace Pallet Services) and Ciaran Keating (East Software). Both these characters are Technical / Process Thinkers and we have had many great conversations about getting the most out of people and suppliers.
Ciaran and I were speaking tonight at our meeting and I was reflecting on some amazing lessons I got straight from Michael Mourad on the topic. In his older life, he held some quite large management roles managing a great number of White & Blue Collar workers! A tough gig in my book and he knows his stuff.
As for me, I was very lucky before I got washed up to have some great Senior Roles Managing. After I lost the farm, I had no staff at all (hit to the ego x x) – but as I got my own business going and in my Regional Leader role at 4Networking – I would be looking after at least 30 x part-time volunteer staff these days as well as the 6 suppliers I use in my business.
Ciaran and I were reflecting about the Management of Suppliers and People. Ciaran in his addition to his own business is a fine Group Leader looking after 4Networking Bella Vista (Sydney) and he I think is a very fair manager.
Where Ciaran, Michael & myself have spoken is to the art of managing people and getting the most out of them. Reality is that as a Corporate you are protected by processes, you got Human Resource Managers and there is usually a very clear structure to everything. So if someone plays up, it’s easy to get them back on track – and there is a clear standard.
OK – now back to Small Business & Reality! No Human Resources Manager next to you, often minimal processes and those suppliers you have? Their costs are coming out of your Bank Account. As a Small Business Owner this to me just takes it all to that next level on intensity. Leading and Management becomes harder, more ambiguous and more personal! You get it wrong, IT COSTS YOU! But you get it right IT MAKES YOU AWESOME MONEY!
After reflecting on amazing conversations with Michael & Ciaran – I have put together my own 10 x Tips for Leading & Management as a Small Business Owner. So here goes Edward Zia Marketing Mentoring – playing Human Resource Manager (barely):
1) Clear Expectations: Critical that they know and agree with what you expect. Saves big issues later and even an email can help.
2) Regular Communication: Small Business is SO FAST moving, so you got to keep up so everyone knows what is going on.
3) Independent Thinking: Small Business – you must think on your feet and be open to chance and build processes on the run at times. So it’s great you have staff which are allowed to be independent and apply their own thinking.
4) Great Fit: Make sure you are working with the right Staff, Contractors or Suppliers. If not – ouch!
5) Firm but Fair: If they make a mistake, great and show them. If they make it twice – get firmer and help them overcome it. If they do it three times, feel free to “Lose It” – but once things are great then be reasonable and nice!
6) Refer to them and support them: If someone does a great job, pay them nicely and try and help refer to them! It’s all win / win.
7) Admit your mistakes: If you stuff up, just say it! NEVER EVER duck shove or blame people for things you stuff up.
8) Always improve: Eye on the ball and keep on the case.
9) Measure Results: You can’t always put numbers on everything, but keep an eye on outputs and tweak as need be.
10) Lead as well as Manage: Leading is beyond telling someone to do, make sure you are doing your best to use the role / work to support their needs beyond finances. Everyone loves knowing they are making a difference and advancing their lives!
I am sure my awesome Human Resource friends Karen Hillen, Karen Aldridge & Chris Dunwell are shaking their heads at me right now going “Gees Ed – stick to Marketing Please!” And perhaps I should! These are more tips from my own practical “Manager” and “Business Owner” viewpoint. I hope they help inspire you and keep up the great work!
Edward Zia – “Outstanding & Brilliant” Marketing Mentor and “Try-Hard” HR Manager! x x