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Small businesses – 5 tips for managing successful teams


So you are a small business with a few staff. Everyone seems to get on with each other and does their job and you don’t need to worry about how staff are doing. Really?

How would you know if something wasn’t right? More importantly what should you do about it?

1 Be interested

You might not ever see if someone is struggling after all they aren’t going to shout it from the roof tops. But in smaller teams people are more visible, people can get overloaded and exhibit presenteeism (in normal speak – overworking on a regular basis). It builds pressure and resentment and many are afraid to show what they feel for fear of looking less in control.

It’s key to be there for your staff, be visible and be around, check in with staff regularly and be clear with them on what you want from them.

2 Give feedback

It’s good to get a steer from your boss how things are going - whether good or bad feedback. It keeps things in check and your staff know you are not just leaving them to flounder.

3 Support

Make sure you have their back and their interests at heart. If your staff know you are there for them and you support them then they will be there for you and will try their best to achieve what you need from them.

4 Be a good active listener

If you listen to what someone is saying to you, the best way to know you have it right and for them to know you listened properly, is to paraphrase it back to them. “so if I hear you correctly, what you mean is” or “let me see if I’m clear, you mean…….” Make sure you are both clear what is being said before you move on. Dismissing what is being said or not attending to it properly will create barriers and miscommunication.

The biggest reason people leave their jobs is not because of their company it’s because of their immediate manager. That relationship is crucial

So you also need to be able to respond in the right way with credibility, empathy and in a measured way. That way you build the right relationship based on trust and understanding of the other person.

5 Visibility at all levels as often as necessary

Staff need help for many reasons on a daily basis especially in small businesses but won’t always ask. Whether an MD, line managers or an HR person make sure you are visible and available to your line reports. This will stop productivity falling off when someone can’t get an answer to a problem. Or they don’t want to carry on because of a confused message. Or an issue has developed that needs attention. Having the conversations with managers or staff straight away will correct the situation before it escalates and shows you are supportive and on the ball in your business

6 Be Alert to signs

If your staff are struggling, you will see it in different ways and not all at once.   Performance issues, fewer decisions made instead of taking ownership, behavioural changes, low confidence, more animated conversations or people not talking at all, perhaps some verbal discontent.

As an organisation grows it will change and change is scary and unsettling for people, leaving some feeling out of their depth, requiring guidance and support. Temperature check your people to see how they are feeling.

These all add up to developing TRUST

Caroline Knight - J Konsult HR



Added: 12 May 2016 12:47

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