This post by guest blogger David Graham appears as part of our series Small Business 500

tips for small businessIn a world of tighter deadlines, greater expectations, and the constant pressure to increase profit, how does a leader keep their team engaged while still keeping the company out of the red? There has been plenty of dialogue on what makes for an ideal leader in 2012, but here are five of the most actionable items that will give your small business the edge.

1. Develop a solid onboarding process

Good training starts from the moment an employee steps off the elevator on day one. Solid onboarding is critical, followed by continual support for the acquisition of new skills. The most effective leader encourages and nurtures personal growth while also helping each team member set goals. 

2. Tailor motivation to each employee

What motivates one person can be vastly different from what motivates another. Getting to know each employee and understanding their passions will help leaders understand how to reward them. For extra bang for your buck, take special note of an employee’s personal achievements; we all want to be valued and appreciated for our individual qualities.

3. Encourage employee retention through team building

Once you’ve got an amazing, highly motivated staff, how are you going to boost their level of engagement to retain them long term? Team building and company off-sites are terrific mechanisms to instill company loyalty and strengthen the bonds between co-workers. Connecting on a personal level will also build cohesiveness between team members that will serve them well in times of stress.  

4. Stop supervising, start coaching

Successful leaders have realized that there is a fundamental difference between supervising and coaching. To begin this shift, leaders should take a long hard look at themselves as role models – your team takes the majority of its cues from your actions, so model the behaviour you want it to emulate. Also, consider the art of collaboration and find ways to include your team in the decision-making process. Players are more likely to exceed your expectations if they “buy in” and feel like their voices are being heard.

5. Lead through laughter

At a very basic level, we want to be around people that makes us laugh and who give us the license to be ourselves, flaws and all. Great leaders know how to make light of a situation and share a laugh while still maintaining a high level of professionalism with their team. Leadership infused with humour inspires a positive corporate culture, which in turn builds productivity

small-business-leadership DAVID GRAHAM is a Training and Motivational Coach and Founder of EDGE 3. EDGE 3 specializes in high energy, interactive training programs for organizations who demand their players to be passionate, knowledgeable and articulate about their brand. 

 

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