As a small business owner, you probably feel that you and your team are a pretty tight, close-knit group. You’re all aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and you know how to work together efficiently. You probably even know everyone’s coffee order! But if you dream of scaling up, how do you plan to adapt your managerial style to match that growth? Here are a few things to consider as your team grows.
When you have a small team, your managerial style can be relatively direct. When that team grows however, you need to be ready (and able!) to swap out that style for a more indirect approach. What does indirect management mean? It means that you’ll probably no longer have the high-touch relationship with all of your staff like you once did. That role will be delegated to others down the chain of command, but these people will end being one of your most valuable assets moving forward. You may find that adjustment tough at first, especially if you’re used to having that personal connection to your team. But as you get busier, you simply (and hopefully!) won’t have time to anymore.
How do you think you’re viewed by your small team right now? They see you as their manager, of course. But maybe they also see you as a bit of a compatriot who works alongside them? You’re in the trenches together, day-in-day-out. You might even sit right next to them in the same office! But as your business grows, your role is going to as well. It’s only natural that your team will start to view and treat you differently. Are you ready for that?
For many team members, you might become completely removed from their day-to-day work whereas previously you were much more visible. That tight-knit team feeling can still be there – but you may no longer be a big part of it. And that’s ok! There are still plenty of ways you can adapt your managerial style to ensure that a positive culture of inclusivity still exists – even when you’re not there to personally foster it.
This is a tough one for many small business owners… You’re used to being intimately familiar with every aspect of your business, from every small issue right through to the bigger overarching decisions. As you grow, you will have to find the ability to trust your team and let go of the small things in order to keep your eye on the bigger picture.
Keeping your business going!
You’re the one with the vision that will drive your business forward. You need to be devoting your energy to steering the whole ship – not just mending the sails! Take a look at your to-do list right now. Are all of your tasks really worthy of your time or can some of them be delegated elsewhere?
As you start the growth process, you may feel like things are spiralling out of your control. And in some ways, they are! Once your team grows to a certain level, you can never actually be up-to-date on every little aspect of your business again. That level of total control you once had? It’s gone. But as I’ve said many times before, the secret to successfully scaling a business is to cultivate a high level of trust within your team so they can fill in the gaps. You need to focus your attention on keeping your business moving forward. That will be easier when you know the other areas of the business are still being taken care of. You need to develop a managerial style that shows your staff when to take care of small issues themselves – but also at which point they need to involve you.
So, you may not be able to fit your entire team around a small coffee table anymore. That doesn’t mean you have to lose that personalised managerial style all together. Your growth can’t be sustainable if you don’t nurture your biggest asset: your talent.
Heard of trickle-down management? It’s the idea that what a leader does and how a leader behaves has a direct influence on how everyone else in the organisation acts. So the tone you set with your direct reports now, echoes down the line to your entire team later. Are you open to honesty, challenges, and constructive criticism? Do you actively listen when someone brings you their concerns? Even as you step back to focus more on the big picture, the daily interactions you have with your team are still fundamentally important.
When clients come to Oracle Tree, they usually have successful businesses that they’ve built up over time. They just don’t quite know how to get to that next level. There is always a wealth of untapped potential, you just need to know the best path to reach it. We believe in a strategy-first, holistic approach to finding out exactly where your business needs support.
Need some more help with your internal structures? Perhaps you’re struggling with recruiting? We have a wealth of helpful information and articles on our website. Like some of these below:
Scaling your business takes guts, and a strong business strategy. We can help you with that! Oracle Tree specialises in helping businesses to grow and scale; contact us today for the guidance you need to navigate this challenging process.
What could you do if your business simply… worked?