Growth is something we all want for our business, of course it is! But if we aren’t prepared for it, this dream scenario can quickly become a bit of a nightmare for you at the top of it all!
Relationships in business are founded on trust.
As the leader of a small business, you will have a team of people who (hopefully) you feel able to rely on.
So, as you expand and take on more staff it makes sense that you would look to these people to take on management roles, in order to pass on their expert knowledge.
After all, you can’t be everywhere, however much you may want to be!
So now you have multiple managers with multiple teams of their own…great!
Yet, if you aren’t careful, you may have more problems that you started with.
Here we shall look at some of those main problems:
The Message gets lost
Key to your business is its message, its ethos. This is what, not only your customers, but also your teams, have to buy in to for you to be successful.
As your business expands, however, this message can become a bit like a game of Chinese Whispers.
As it gets further from you the lines of communication can become stretched, they become less effective, and with it, your message can become muddied, or even lost.
Then, all that you have spent so much time trying to implement can start to breakdown.
The wrong kind of leader
As I touched on earlier, as your business develops, you will need leaders to step up and take on these expanding teams. Obviously, hiring from within seems like the clear decision.
But this is one of the pitfalls that can damage your growing business if you get it wrong.
Sadly, being an expert in a field doesn’t always make someone a great leader. Having all the appropriate knowledge doesn’t always mean they know how to pass it on.
It’s kind of the opposite of the old “those who can’t do, teach” adage, or if you’re more of a sports fan, “good players don’t always make good coaches”.
What Can Happen?
Obviously, no one case is the same, but there is a client I worked with recently that was in just this sort of position.
Their IT company was growing quite rapidly, and they needed leaders for the new teams they were having to employ.
They started to ask current trusted staff to step up.
First, they set one of their original team members, an expert in their previous role, up as a leader, but they weren’t too comfortable in the position.
They were nervous and lacked confidence in leading a team, and thus, the message broke down, the team was ineffective, and they struggled to maintain the business ethos and results.
The second leader they sourced from within had similar issues, except, they disliked the idea of managing so much that they left the company. That meant that they lost a key member of staff as well as a potential leader.
Finally, they turned to external sources for a new manager, only one of their requirements for the position was that it had to be filled by someone with good IT skills and experience.
This sounds like it should make sense, but you must look at the role they are being brought in to perform. They are going to be a team leader, a manager, not an IT specialist, so do they really need that experience? Maybe some, but not the only thing they needed.
What to do?
What is really important is to be able to provide your teams with the confidence and capability to step up into the kinds of management positions.
You can’t be afraid to bring in people from outside your business either.
Managers are there to do exactly that, manage! And experience goes a long way to obtaining that confidence that good leaders require.
But growing your leaders from within, if done properly and with care, is an excellent option.
Those people love your business, like working there and know all the little foibles. So, they are best placed to be bought into your ethos.
So, if you want to grow those wonderful team members into leaders, you need to do something different. You need to develop their skills – soft skills, confidence, communication and leadership mindset.
They need to be able to Think, Be and Do as a leader does.
So, as long as you support their growth, then they are perfectly capable of learning those new skills.
And you will need to change the way you think and behave too!
You will need to be able to trust them, let them grow new wings and you will have to let go a bit so that they can feel the responsibility and start making bigger decisions, without relying on you.
If all that sounds lovely but a little scary or worrying, or you are asking yourself – yes, but how do I do that, then all you need is someone to support your business in that transition.
Maybe it’s time to book a call with me and we can have a chat about where you can take your business, and where we can help you grow you, grow your leadership team to grow your business.
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