Do your employees seek you out for guidance, feel inspired when you lead a meeting or keep a respectful distance when you enter the office? Do your customers make repeat purchases, have a positive impression of your brand or post negative feedback about your business?
Just as there are many personalities in the world, there are also many types of small business management styles. As a small business owner, your approach to employees and customers sets the tone for the way you and your business are perceived.
Less than half of all U.S. employees have a “great deal of trust” in company leadership. Understanding your business personality helps you to be a stellar boss, a better leader, maximize your business strengths and adapt your style based on various situations and the types of employees that work for you. Here are a few common small business leadership styles – which one most closely represents you?
There are different approaches to achieving business goals, each with benefits and room for improvement. Take a closer look to see which leadership style best fits you.
The Pace Setter
Pace Setters are enthusiastic go-getters who set the bar high for themselves and their employees. Always ready for a challenge, they lead by example in a highly energetic way and expect all team members to complete tasks quickly and accurately. To ensure their business is always moving forward, Pace Setters create detailed goals for themselves and the team and constantly measure progress. They take pride in being one step ahead of every deadline – and the competition.
Upside: Inspires energetic professionals who thrive on achieving goals.
Flipside: Some employees may become over-stressed and burned out.
Do-It-Yourselfers are hands-on personalities who like to see tasks through from start to finish. They are self-motivated, enjoy working alone and are often introverts. With a clear idea of how things should be done, they take pride in their work and prefer personal action over delegating to team members. Do-It-Yourselfers have a strong sense of independence, require little direction or encouragement and like to deal directly with vendors and customers. No job is “above them” and they hold themselves accountable.
Upside: Works well independently and is perfect for a business with few employees.
Flipside: Some employees may feel excluded; business leader may lose “big picture” business focus.
The Hands-Off Leader
Hands-Off Leaders trust their team members and tend to take a step back while watching the business day unfold. They allow employees to make decisions and encourage them to celebrate victories, learn from mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. Delegating authority, they spend more time on top-level business management. They monitor team progress and offer input as needed. Hands-Off Leaders are good team builders and look for employees who are motivated and self-reliant.
Upside: Encourages employee growth and development
Flipside: Some employees may underachieve or overstep their authority
Inspirations focus on the team rather than themselves. They look for the best in people and motivate team members with encouraging words and by example. They will never ask an employee to do something they would not do themselves. They believe in the brand mission and see obstacles as opportunities for growth. With an infectious positive attitude, they are quick to give credit and provide guidance as necessary. Employees who believe in the mission will follow this leader and are inspired to always deliver their best.
Upside: Boosts morale and inspires confidence.
Flipside: Some cynical employees may feel uninspired.
Visionaries have innovative ideas for their business and employees. Combining business instincts with definitive data to make decisions, they think differently and are not afraid to create new paths to achieve objectives. Often seeing opportunities others don’t, they take a big-picture view of their business’s future and are not deterred by day-to-day details. Well-organized and prepared, they ultimately rely on their gut for decision making, aren’t afraid to take risks and encourage team members to follow their lead.
Upside: Build strong teams with employees who share the same vision.
Flipside: Some employees may not understand or believe in the vision.
You probably see elements of your business style in multiple categories as different situations sometimes call for a variety of small business management styles. However, staying as consistent as possible helps employees and customers know what to expect from you and your business and helps you maintain a successful course.