There are a lot of different things that will shape your leadership style, from the type of industry you’re in, to your unique skills and talents. But one of the most important factors that should determine what you focus on as a leader is the size of your company.
Small companies, and by that I mean less than a dozen employees, have a culture that’s totally distinct from their larger counterparts. Typically, you have a handful of employees who are doing multiple jobs within a relatively flat hierarchy. You may have people who have been given the ‘manager’ title, but in reality, there is little depth to the leadership structure and everyone tends to pitch in where needed.
Likewise, the high-paced, hands-on atmosphere that comes with trying to get a new company off the ground means employees often don’t have a lot of time, especially for formal development.
Communication is crucial
So when leading a small company, the most important thing to focus on is communication. In such a collaborative atmosphere it’s honest, open communication that is going to keep everyone working together effectively.
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Here’s some tips for getting the communication flowing.
1. Have frequent meetings. These need not be long, onerous engagements, but times for all team members to express opinions on company progress are key.
2. Facilitate spontaneous communication. Encourage teamwork and collaboration to get coworkers meeting more often. Even simple things like having employees eat lunch together or socialize occasionally can get people talking.
3. Lead by example. Communicate clearly with your team and they will feel more comfortable to communicate with you. Be open with what you’re working on and make an effort to be approachable. Your employees will tend to the same.
But once your company reaches the mid-sized mark, meaning about 25-30 employees, that’s when employees start to become more specialized. It’s at this point that it becomes important to start building some depth into your management ranks.