Are You A Toxic Business Owner?

Authentic Leadership or Toxic Leadership…
You Be the Judge
Are You A Toxic Business Owner?

One of the most important aspects of building a successful sustainable business is attracting and keeping a great support Team. A great Team can make you or break you, help you or hinder you. Your leadership skills and abilities have a direct impact on how you manage and interact with your team and the “culture” you create within your business. Yes indeed! The buck stops with you, the entrepreneur…the business owner.

Is your Team remaining loyal to you in the tough times and not jumping ship?  Is your Team more excited to work for you because of the opportunity than the financial compensation?  Are they happy to begin their work day?  Do they do whatever is necessary to get the job done even if it means some long hours? Does your Team participate and provide input or simply react to the chores at hand? Have you lost your best Team member overnight and without warning or explanation?  If you answer negatively to these questions, maybe you need a leadership makeover.  Is it you?

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!‘”

— Lao-tsu

There are many types of leadership styles; however, the point of this article is to point out toxic leadership styles.  Why? Because I’ve lived it from several perspectives and I’ve seen it nearly ruin and break some of the best people I know.

There are 2 categories of leadership styles: Authentic Leadership and Toxic Leadership.   Authentic leaders believe in creating positive culture for training, developing, participation and nurturing of their Team for the good of the business (which includes mission, vision and goals). This leadership style tends to be uplifting and empowering for the Team.

On the other hand, Toxic Leaders believe in leading through power and fear. Some of their characteristics may include: Arrogance, selfishness, passive-aggressiveness, lack of integrity, maliciousness, and they may be driven by greed.

Of all of the Toxic Leadership characteristics, below are the most common and detrimental to Team building and retaining a team that takes you into the future.  They are:

  • Bully Leaders  Bully Leaders tend to deliberately hurt others, put them down and invalidate their opinions. They may have tendencies to have unexpected violent outbursts for reasons of effect.
  • Rigid and Controlling Leaders          Rigid and controlling leaders are inflexible, unreasonable, and do not let others voice their creative opinions.  They operate by a mentality that their way is right period! Rarely are “pleases” and “thank you’s” expressed.
  • Narcissistic Leaders   These leaders are materialistic, manipulative and will exploit team members in order to promote themselves. They might even blame Team members for failures rather than recognizing that they may be at fault for something that has gone poorly.

If any of these characteristics hit a nerve with you either you’ve worked with/for someone like this or you might relate to acting like one of these leaders.  Toxic Leaders destroy businesses and people. Authentic Leaders build businesses and people.

To sum things up, if you want to attract and build a great Team you need to develop an Authentic Leadership style, even if you think you don’t need to. There are many books and resources available to help you develop good leadership skills. One of my first suggestions is Dale Carnegie’s… “How To Win Friends and Influence People”.  You can get a free pdf. Download at: http://erudition.mohit.tripod.com/_Influence_People.pdf

“Be who you are, and strive to be the best “who you are”… everyday”  Gail Saseen

“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
  Dale Carnegie

You can see my top 50 leadership quotes of all time by visiting http://www.gailsaseen.com.


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Gail Saseen is an author and information marketing business coach and consultant.  She has a unique ability for communicating complex marketing and technology concepts in simplified and understandable language.  Gail is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of: marketing strategy and planning, systems development, direct mail, social media marketing, website and technology implementation, product development, information marketing and coaching.  Gail assists small business owners and entrepreneurs develop business systems and goals and strategic plans using S.M.A.R.T. Principles.  www.gailsaseen.com – Free Gift www.SmartBizToolsForEntrepreneurs.com

 

 

Employees Verses Contractors

 

Employees Verses Contractors
7 Magical Keys to Managing Employees and Contractors

 

Not long ago I conducted a survey asking business owners and entrepreneurs, “What is your biggest planning challenge?”  To my surprise one of the answers I received was… “How do I manage contract workers?”  My immediate response was… “Why should it be any different?” When you hire a contract worker, they are working for you… their product or project is yours…. You have the right to dictate the specifics of the job, the measurements, and how you want things done.

 

In today’s internet world there are virtual assistants, online business managers, virtual staff, work for hour contractors, and many more.  For the most part you can hire any task you might want accomplished in your business virtually.  They might be long term employees or contractors, or maybe someone you hire for one specific task such as a graphic design or copywriting task.

 

First, there is the rudimentary difference between an employee and an independent contractor.  I suggest you look up the federal guidelines [I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV.]  A super resource is Jessica Eaves Mathews and her Leverage a Lawyer program.

 

There are several keys to managing employees and contract workers.  There really is no difference to managing employees and contractors.  Set yourself and your support staff up for success from the start.

 

7 Magical Keys to Managing Employees and Contractors

 

1.       Make sure you clearly know your specific requirements for the job or the project.

a.       Job descriptions should be clear, detailed and written including S.M.A.R.T. principles.

b.      Contracts should also be clearly written with all requirements of the job or project including timelines for deliverables and standards of performance.

c.       Communicate verbally and in writing your desired outcome.
 

2.       Include language in your job descriptions and contracts that includes an “out” for you if you are not satisfied with employee’s or contractor’s performance.  Sometimes you might want to include a probationary period so that you don’t get stuck with non-performance issues for contractors and employees.

 

 

3.       Always design a follow up or measurement aspect.  There are several ways to do this:

a.       Daily reports

b.      Staff meetings

c.       Status reports

 

4.       Hire slowly…. Fire fast.  This is great advice from one of my mentors Dan Kennedy.  Before you hire and simply throw a “body” at a project… Think!  Determine the requirements, the time line, the skills requires and everything you can think of before you hire.  Interview… Interview… interview!  On the other hand, once you do hire an employee or contractor, make sure your standards are clear and concise.  You will know quickly if someone isn’t working out. Don’t drag on with someone who isn’t working out.  NEXT! And QUICKLY!

 

5.       Set everyone who supports you and your business up for success from the beginning.  For example, be specific in the task requirement, the measurement tool or time line, final expectations, and encourage feedback.  Ambiguous instructions or tasks won’t work.  Assumptions will fail.

 

6.       Communicate!  Constant communication creates community and team.  Business owners, who communicate regularly, reward employees and contractors when good things happen and vice versa, will get better results and ward off more challenges.  Use staff meetings and measuring tools as a communication media. 

 

7.       Delegate…. Don’t abdicate!  Delegation is a wonderful thing!  Beware however, just because a task or entire job is delegated does not mean that your responsibility is relinquished.  You’ll definitely run into challenges.  For example, one business owner told her VA to do her marketing for a specific event.  The VA was not a marketer… what do you think happened?  Failure.  The business owner blamed the VA for the failure but soon realized that she was really the one who should have been the marketer and the VA the one who supported the marketing.

 

You might be wondering, OK, that’s good advice but HOW do I do this?

 

The illustration below generally depicts the flow down from your Strategic Plan to your job descriptions. 

  

Businesses which have developed systems and have an operations manual will definitely have an advantage.  Why?  Because the business owner has thought out and documented “how they do things and to what standard”.  Job descriptions that are written based upon the strategic business and marketing plan, and operations manual, logically fit together hand in glove.  As you develop your strategy and implementation plan the skills required by individuals to get things done will most likely become obvious.

 

If you need a little assistance developing your S.M.A.R.T. management tools and job descriptions a S.M.A.R.T. Start Partner may help.  Visit here for details.


Gail assists small business owners and entrepreneurs develop business systems and goals and strategic plans using S.M.A.R.T. Principles.  www.gailsaseen.com – Free Gift www.SmartBizToolsForEntrepreneurs.com. Gail Saseen is an author and information marketing business coach and consultant.  She has a unique ability for communicating complex marketing and technology concepts in simplified and understandable language.  Gail is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of: marketing strategy and planning, systems development, direct mail, social media marketing, website and technology implementation, product development, information marketing and coaching.