Leadership is essential to the success of any business, and this is especially true of medium sized businesses. Team members have direct and daily contact with the whole leadership team, from CEO to Senior Managers to Team Leaders, and these interactions can both inspire and motivate them, or cause confusion, negativity and a drop in morale.
The core features of a medium sized business that make them great – their nimbleness, urgency, commitment and flexibility, and the variety of the work experience, can also be the undoing of the organisation unless you have leaders with the right set of skills to navigate this territory.
So, what skills are essential to be a successful leader in a medium sized businesses?
First and foremost great communication skills are key. Every day Managers and Team Leaders have to communicate across a wide range of topics and with a variety people at all different levels. They could be dealing with a customer, a factory team member, a supplier and the CEO, all within an hour. Each of these interactions must be meaningful, clear, and pitched at the right level to ensure the communication results in positive action.
Successful leaders also need to possess the ability to plan and prioritise well. Medium sized business leaders wear many different hats. On any given day Managers and Team Leaders could be helping develop the strategic plan, solving a product problem, making marketing decisions, dealing with a difficult team member, running a team meeting, pacifying a customer, negotiating with a supplier and then rolling their sleeves up to pack boxes to ensure an important order gets out on time. Knowing what the priorities are, and fine-tuning where they put their effort in is essential to the business’s success. Having the ability to create a clear plan, prioritise tasks and time allocation, and then exercising the self discipline to push on with team goals is what keeps the business going forward.
It is impossible to be a leader who only wants to work on the high level tasks when working in a medium sized business. Managers and Supervisors have to be flexible and prepared to work across all levels of the business. They must be able to dive into detail one minute and then put their mind to the future the next. Knowing the difference, and having the ability to do both is crucial to making sure that the requirements of the organisation are met.
And, right up there, leaders have to be exceptional at motivating and inspiring their team with every interaction. Being right up close with the team is challenging. For example, the on-site support of a communication expert to plan their presentations isn’t there. They have to get involved and do a lot of the functional work themselves, unlike in a larger organisation. Every time the leaders interact with a team member it is an opportunity to gain their commitment and improve performance. Using these opportunities wisely can make a real difference to your business.
Managers and Team Leaders need to be excellent problem solvers. There are daily challenges and the medium sized businesses who have the leaders to meet these challenges head on and turn problems around with innovative solutions are the ones that survive and prosper. Do your leaders possess the problem solving skills that your business needs?
Knowing the importance of having trained, skilled and committed leaders in your organisation is a key strategy that advances your business.
Being clear on what your leaders need to do well, and giving them the necessary support is an essential requirement for a successful business. A positive by-product is increased motivation and retention of your leaders within your organisation. Excellent leaders who flourish in the medium sized business environment are hard to find so looking after the leaders you have and nurturing and developing their personal and professional development is essential.
Positive People have 21 years of experience helping medium sized business get the best from their leadership teams. Call us, we can help.