The success of your business does not have much to do with how you "do" the work. Instead, it hinges almost entirely on how you manage your team.

For many business owners and managers, leadership skills were learned on the job. They were never properly taught how to manage. So this is what you need to know.

#1. Recruiting and managing staff well leads to a great team, great staff morale, great productivity and profitability, and a great lifestyle for yourself with little stress.

#2. Even with you hire the right recruits, if they are managed poorly, you will have poor staff morale, poor productivity and profits, and a poor lifestyle with lots of stress.

Poor management of your team will see you constantly dragged back in to put out fires and work on the urgent and important. You might think this is common sense, but it's easier said than done.

Good management is one of the hardest things to do, and when it is done poorly it can cause irrefutable damage to so many people around you—staff, clients and customers, suppliers and shareholders.

#3. It is absolutely critical that you place effort on training your staff and managing them well.

As a manager or owner, "doing" the work is not your job, even if you enjoy it. You need to find a way to enjoy people and enjoy being a manager. Management training can help with this, and you should get as much of it as you can. 

Doing the work is easy. Managing staff is an art and a very difficult skill. But if you want to be successful you have to learn to manage people. 

How to be a good leader

A good leader plays the "ball" and not the "man". Don't blame or judge your team (playing the man). Instead, focus on finding a solution to the problem (playing the ball).

If you are unsure, then spend lots of time with your team without blaming or judging. You cannot go wrong by overreaching and spending too much time with them. Most problems occur due to spending too little time.

And if you're ever unsure or tackling a particularly challenging problem, ask for help from other leaders in your support network.

Having difficult conversations 

As a leader of your team, you can and should confront situations and have those difficult conversations. Don't shy away from problems, or they will fester and grow into bigger problems.

Remember that "confront" is not the same as being "confrontational". Having a difficult conversation is made easier by focusing on fixing the problem and not blaming or judging the person.

Try it. Next time one of your staff makes a mistake (no facial expressions), just focus on fixing the problem. No blaming or judging.

Being "confrontational" is blaming the person and arguing over pride, ego and "being right" rather, than what is the "right solution".

If you have a manager who cannot confront situations and have difficult conversations, then they should not be a manager. Leaders who shy away from difficult conversations will find that things fall apart around them. They will find themselves constantly surrounded by problems.

Typically, if they spent the same time finding solutions as they spent blaming someone else, problems would not appear to follow them around. Blaming the person just creates more problems.

Find a solution and the problem goes away. Constantly finding solutions will mean that you are never surrounded by problems.

Managing isn't for everyone

Most people believe they can be a manager. This is not the case. And the same goes for some current managers.

If it's not in their nature, you should move them out of a leadership role. Otherwise, they will do damage to people around them and your business. 

If you find you have to keep fixing up problems for someone, then they are in the wrong seat. As the leader, you need to put them in the right seat, with the right training, so that they will be happier, and things are much better for everyone. 

Few people are outright bad, but many are in the wrong seat. When people are in the right seat, they are great. 

Grinders should stay at grinding. Minders should stay at managing and not grinding. Finders should stay in their lane.

Keep everyone in their lane and bring complementary skills together, working as a team, and watch things just work, like the synergistic magic of music in harmony.

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Ed Chan is the Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Chan & Naylor. Ed started Chan & Naylor from a small home office in Sydney and has grown it into a National Financial Services Organisation with offices in most capital cities around Australia, servicing more than 6,000 clients.

In 2018 Ed Co-Founded WIZE Mentoring, a mentoring network for accountants who want to know how to successfully grow their firm and have it run without them.


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