Mastering Leadership: Top Tips for New Business Owners to Empower and Guide Their Teams to Success
Unlocking the potential of your workforce — expert tips for new business owners to foster productivity and triumph.
Starting a new business is an exciting journey, but it comes with many challenges. One of the most important tasks for any new business owner is learning how to effectively lead and manage employees. At ChamberofCommerce.org, we frequently work with entrepreneurs who are eager to get their businesses off the ground but need guidance on the leadership side.
In this article, we’ll provide tips for new business owners on how to start strong by setting their employees up for productivity and success.
Set clear expectations upfront
When bringing on new hires, don’t just hand them a job description and leave them to figure things out. Take time to explain your vision for the company, their role, and what success looks like. Clarify how their performance will be measured and share any metrics you’ll use to track progress. Define not only the required daily tasks but the overall goals and results you expect them to achieve in their position.
Providing clear expectations from day one equips employees to stay focused. It also makes managing performance easier down the road, as you’ll have predefined standards to reference in feedback discussions.
Create opportunities for input
Employees who feel heard and valued are more engaged at work. While the business founder naturally has the final say on major decisions, create opportunities for staff to share ideas and provide input.
You might hold periodic brainstorming sessions to collect innovative ideas for improving processes or services. Or send out anonymous surveys asking what’s working well and what could be better. Employees on the front lines often recognize issues or notice customer needs that those in leadership roles miss. Gaining their perspectives leads to better-informed decisions.
Help employees understand how their role contributes
Micromanaging is demotivating. For optimal productivity, employees need some autonomy in carrying out their responsibilities. But be sure they understand how their individual role ladders up to broader company goals.
Explain how the tasks they complete each day, whether it’s developing products or serving customers, contribute to the success of the business as a whole. This helps them feel invested in the work rather than just going through the motions.
Check in regularly to provide feedback
Don’t just evaluate performance during formal annual reviews. Consistent feedback is key for productivity, as it allows you to reinforce positive progress and promptly address any issues.
Schedule weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with individual employees. Discuss what they’ve accomplished and any challenges faced recently. Recognize their wins and contributions. Then share constructive input on areas for improvement.
Effective feedback frameworks are critical, as a recent survey found 83% of employees have an annoying coworker. Top complaints included laziness, arrogance and excessive chatter, which regular check-ins can address. Regular check-ins also show employees you’re invested in their growth and make mid-course corrections easier.
Support Work-life balance
Burnout is bad for business. While occasional overtime may be needed during busy periods, take care not to drive employees into the ground.
Monitor workloads across your team. If someone constantly seems overwhelmed, bring in help or shift assignments. Make sure staff take meal breaks and use vacation time. Model healthy work-life integration in your own schedule as the founder.
Supporting employees’ physical and mental well-being through work-life balance policies leads to higher and more sustainable performance over time.
Balancing employee needs is key, as one report found that professionals dislike overused workplace terms like “new normal” and excessive perks like company swag. With data showing annoyances are common, minimizing them boosts engagement.
Starting a business while effectively managing a team is no small feat. But setting clear expectations, soliciting input, providing feedback and supporting work-life balance places employees on the path to productivity. With engaged and empowered staff behind your vision, you’ll be well on your way to business success.
This article was produced by the team at ChamberofCommerce.org, your go-to resource for tips, guides, and reviews to help small businesses succeed.