by Kevin Johnston, Demand Media
As a small-business owner, you can benefit from learning how quality management skills can influence managers, middle managers and your entire workforce to work toward improvements in the way you run your company. As you demonstrate top-notch skills, you gain influence based on your wisdom, judgment and knowledge. This influence can have a major impact on morale and productivity.
Your ability to empathize with others lays the foundation for all of your other management skills. If you consistently demonstrate that you listen to people and strive to understand their concerns, you gain influence through the respect you earn. While you have the right to exercise power due to your position as the owner of the business, you gain wider influence by developing positive relationships with your employees.
If you understand both the advanced and basic tasks of your business, you establish yourself as a person of influence in the company. Employees will know that you understand their job skills and the problems they must overcome, along with the determination it takes to do a quality job day in and day out.
When you solve problems, you gain influence. Your successful solutions demonstrate that you have earned your position as business owner through your management acumen. You establish yourself as a go-to person for your managers and their staff when problems arise. Your influence will spread as your decisions are implemented and employees see positive results.
Managers who structure high expectations into team and company goals can influence employees to reach for their best. Distinct, well-defined expectations help employees engage in a process that leads to stronger outcomes than those achieved under old authoritarian models built on threats and rewards. This allows you to lead employees in a positive direction and gain influence by involving them in creating ways to meet high expectations.
Rethinking Management Roles
To gain influence, learn to look at your role not as a boss but as a mentor. Employees will respond when they feel they are part of the process of creating quality in your business. The mentor approach allows you to persuade rather than cajole and lead rather than push.
Your ability to mediate disagreements among your staff can garner you a reputation as a wise leader. You must master the management skill of accepting two opposing positions as legitimate and seeing the positives in each opponent’s viewpoint. Finding a middle ground where those in a disagreement can agree on a compromise will expand your influence and improve your reputation.
Maintain your influence by showing employees you keep the big picture in mind when addressing problems in a single area. You can show an ability to understand how myriad tasks fit together to make the whole business work. Employees will realize that their focus is part of the big picture but that you have to oversee the entire operation. This will solidify your influence at your business.
Perhaps the most influential management skill you can practice is the ability to get others excited about your vision. When you convince others that what you have imagined is possible, they will follow you and work hard to bring your vision to fruition.