Running a small business demands excellent people skills, so that you meet all your goals in those precarious early stages of growth.

Here’s how to harness these important leadership skills.

Running a small business demands excellent people skills, so that you meet all your goals in those precarious early stages of growth, says emotional intelligence courses CEO and lead presenter Chris Golis.

“The Australian mining industry has a saying that there are two types of managers: those who build a mine and those who operate a mine. Very few managers can do both,” says Golis.

SMEs need to inspire unrelenting focus within their team to achieve their tasks, complete projects and minimise cash outflow, he says.

While management styles might be constantly shifting and evolving, overall being tuned in to the people you’re hiring, and the types of relationship you form, will help ensure capital is not wasted on foolish opportunities and systems are put in place to minimise risk, says Golis.

Share your vision to establish trust

Gathering once a year to talk about performance and outcomes does nothing to encourage collaboration or open communication.

“The key is to have regular weekly meetings where the last week’s progress against objectives is reviewed and new objectives are set for the week,” says Golis. A structured method will produce a plan of action that will most effectively meet your organisational goals.

You also need to have a separate quarterly meeting where you measure your progress against your three strategic objectives for the year and the budget: “I prefer to run budgets on a six-monthly cycle.”

If you can have daily conversations with people and chat about their tasks you’ll be facilitating a useful exchange of ideas to provide direction.

Understand who you’re hiring

When it comes to hiring employees, what’s the number-one characteristic you should look for? In order to build solid connections with your team members, Golis recommends a decent profiling system to help manage each team member individually, and so that you better recognise and can assist with problems such as depression.

A profiling tool will help you observe and intervene when necessary. It will also allow you to recognise and manage corporate bullies and corporate psychopaths, says Golis.

“If you mistakenly employ either of these toxic individuals you can destroy your business.”

If you don’t feel you have a high emotional intelligence (EQ), profiling systems like the Humm-Wadsworth temperament model helps psychologists classify people in terms of the ‘big five’ personality traits – agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness and openness to experience.

These insights can help you assess your individual team members, as well as inform your own basis for self-reflection making you a far more effective leader, says Golis.

That way you are able to detect what drives the behaviour of others, and are better prepared to lead.


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