3 Tips to Develop Better Leadership and Management Skills

Author: Fundbox Team | November 5, 2014

Your business is booming… you’re busier than ever, and you feel confident about your clients and your work. With all this extra work to be done, you’re thinking about hiring someone to come in and help during crunch time. But you hesitate – and not because you don’t have the cash flow. You pause because, while some people are born natural leaders, but many people feel they are not. It’s one of those things you learn from experience; managing others requires emotional intelligence and a bit of strategy. If you’re thinking of taking on new employees to help drive your business, read on for some strategic tips.

Leadership 101: Know What You Want

When accepting the task of leading or managing people it pays to know exactly what you want or expect from that person. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how often we ask for help, and get something different from what we expected. Fortunately, you can avoid this by being prepared.

If you don’t know how long a project is going to take, ask. If you think you know how long a project will take, make sure that timeline is clear. Then, make sure you have all the information you think your new employee will need to get started. Of course, not everything works out as planned and no project is ever perfect, but with some simple planning you can start off in a way that drives employee success.

Leadership 101: Know What Employees Expect From Youi am your boss

One good thing to ask when looking for a new hire is what that person expects from you. Just as there are several different management styles, there are several different work styles. Some people may be more collaborative and look to you for approval, while others feel like they can take a project and run with it. Some may be looking to you to learn skills and that’s fine, as long as you understand what your employees need or want from you.

Not surprisingly, this can help your business retain candidates who are more qualified, more satisfied, and more diligent in their work. By explaining exactly what you expect of them, and asking what they expect of you, you give your employees the sense that they matter to the business, and that they can make an impact.

Leadership 101: Inspire Belief

Chances are, you’ve had a leader – whether a school coach, a professor, or an employer – who ruled through fear and not through the belief that a team succeeds together. It’s not that these nightmare leaders don’t want you to succeed, it’s that they are often more concerned about looking good or hitting numbers than managing well. These are the people who point fingers rather than looking for ways to solve problems. They talk more than they listen, they very rarely take suggestions, and they’re the first to throw someone under the bus when things don’t work out well.

These are leaders who don’t inspire belief; belief they know what they’re doing, they care about their team’s success, and that the goal is actually obtainable. And the good news is this: this kind of management style is easily avoidable.

You may be the one who makes the ultimate decision, but encourage an open-door policy where your employees are welcome to bring ideas and suggestions to you. Don’t worry about failure as much as you worry about what your team has learned when you fail. Don’t hold “post-mortems” on projects, hold retrospectives that allow your team to highlight both what worked and what didn’t, in a positive way. And remember, sometimes employee development is more about listening than teaching.


With these three tips, you are now more equipped to hire employees who will help drive success. If you still feel a little intimidated by having to manage or lead people, here’s some extra reading on how to become a better leader:

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