In running a business, we are put to the test on our ability to innovate, to build a team, communicate, sell our ideas, delegate and carry out other obligations needed for growth, that comes with our sphere of business. The impact of having an efficient leadership style leads to productivity and efficiency in the workplace and growth to your business at large.
There are two extremes of managerial styles in business. But to have a good leadership style which is the right balance of the two, we must firstly understand these sides of the divide. So what are the two extremes?
- A Hands-on Approach
On the low end of managerial styles is the hands-on approach to leadership. It is typical for small business owners who tend to attend to customer/client needs on their own. They think that they must do everything alone without involving friends and family or skilled people outside their family and friends. They manage everything and delegate almost nothing.
Take, for instance, a small business owner of a dry cleaning service for this case. When starting out, he pursues attracting customers through sophisticated marketing techniques. Slowly, his efforts begin to pay off, but as he accepts responsibility for everything, there is no infrastructure in place to achieve long-lasting customer loyalty because there is no manpower.
Because there is only a limited amount a person can do in a day, this stifles the growth of the entrepreneurial organisation. This management style fails to allocate enough resources to customer services and thus fails to ensure customer loyalty since it doesn’t leave enough time, energy, manpower to create an infrastructure that will make customers return.
- A Hands-off Approach
On the high end of leadership styles is that of larger businesses where there is an over-delegation of responsibilities. This comes sometimes as a temptation that as soon as a business is up and running we should allow it to run on its own while we pull away. Or a case where there is a move to employ the right hands to handle an aspect of a business and having profound trust in their abilities to deliver a great job that you pull away.
They fail in remaining involved. By delegating responsibility without having a detailed oversight of the business, it may plunge the enterprise into ruin. Take the case of the former CEO of WorldCom, Bernie Ebbers who was convicted of orchestrating an 11 billion USD accounting fraud in which he told the jury that his subordinates were involved in fraud since he couldn’t comprehend the complex accounting schemes presented to him. If it was true, it still remains a colossal failure in corporate governance.
Finding the Right Balance
As we strive for business success, we must learn to work hard, be constantly vigilant and build our fortune. The key to effective management is to combine the two extremes into a powerful mode of leadership.
Be hands-on! Be involved deeply in the daily operations of your company while keeping your eye on the wider business landscape to make wise strategic decisions. Be aware of your business. Make sure you have an understanding of the business environment. While you do not need to be able to do every task, you should understand everything that happens within the organisation.
Be hands-off! It is important to delegate, but never abdicate supervision. Keep tabs on the entire process from the lowest to the top and from the top to the lowest. Working smart by putting the right people and allocating resources to where it is needed is a great idea, but realise that even the people closest to you can have their own ideas and interest. Supervise! Supervise! And keep supervising! Have the detailed oversight knowledge of your business mechanisms and technology.
Being a CEO of two giant companies, Elon Musk had recently decided to sleep in a sleeping bag at the end of the company’s production line. He is going to great lengths to ensure that the quality of Tesla vehicles is up to standard. While this might not be a guide for your business, this example paints a prime example of the sheer doggedness and determination to expand a business by finding a right balance of being involved and still delegating.
What is your management style? Are you too controlling? Are you too delegating and withdrawn? Finding the right balance will help you succeed in your business. In truth, there is no substitute for the age-old hard work.
Have faith in a successful business!