When you make the jump from working for yourself to being the boss, that is, having employees, things are bound to change. Not only are you responsible for your daily workload but now you’re suddenly responsible for other people and their workload. Your past experience – whether you’ve been working for yourself for a decade or recently made the jump from being an employee – will likely color how you approach this new role. Here are a few ideas to consider as you step into a leadership role.
Honor ideas and opinions – You may be the “head honcho” but that doesn’t mean your team doesn’t have ideas that may improve your bottom line, internal processes or even morale, so don’t discount ideas and opinions sincerely presented by your team. Often times, they’re the ones in the trenches who can see details you are missing as you take on a bigger view of the business.
Now is your chance to delegate – If you’ve been doing everything from bookkeeping to marketing to fulfillment, it may be tough to let go of some of the tasks you’re used to doing. But that’s why you hired employees, right? Delegating allows you time to work on your business instead of in your business, which can be vital to growing your company.
Strike a balance between being a friend and being the boss – If you start out with a small team of just one or two employees, there’s certainly a chance you’ll develop a friendship, and that’s not a bad thing. But do remember that you will still have to be the one to make tough decisions when it comes down to it. By setting that boundary with employees up front, you’ve taken the guesswork out of the boss-employee relationship.
Hire experts and trust them to do their job (See #2) – When you’ve hired the right team members and given them adequate training, it’s time to trust them to do the job you hired them to do. You’ll gain loyalty by letting employees take ownership of their work and free up time for other projects.
Have an employee handbook. – Putting your policies in writing for everything from dress code to paid time off clarifies expectations up front. It will also give you a place to stand if you run into disciplinary problems or face litigation. And, truly, employees will appreciate having those expectations spelled out.
Congratulations on getting to a point in your business where you can hire a team. Now go forth and be a leader!