5 habits of highly successful small business managers

Matt Tarpey

Being a small business manager is no easy task. While it comes with a lot of power, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Managing at a smaller company is a unique experience because it often requires you to wear many hats and draw on a wide array of skills. Whether you are new to management or simply looking to improve, here are 5 hallmarks of great managers you should make a habit of to ensure your own success – and that of your team.


  1. They make time for their employees. Employees don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. Good managers set aside time for their employees — whether that’s in the form of regular one-on-one meetings or establishing an “open door” policy — so they can address any questions, concerns or challenges that may arise. They also make time to recognize their employees for their hard work and celebrate their achievements. Regular recognition boosts morale and instills a sense of loyalty in employees.
  2. They know how to delegate. As a manager, you are held accountable for the performance of the people you manage. As a result, you may feel the need to be in control of everything your employees do. However, this type of micro-management can kill morale. When you relinquish control and let your employees be more autonomous, you show them that you trust them. That fosters confidence, loyalty and leadership development.
  3. They think on their feet. Small business managers often have to act at lightning speed when it comes to making decisions, so the ability to think on one’s feet and quickly evaluate a situation and decide is crucial. If you sit on something for too long or keep changing your mind, you could end up losing out on lots of opportunities. Always keep your top goals front of mind, which will help guide you on the right decisions to make.
  4. They communicate well. Communication is an important business skill for nearly any role, and for small business managers, it’s essential. No matter how busy your schedule is, make time to keep your employees up to date on organizational news, key business decisions and any other information that will help them do their jobs better. But communication isn’t just about talking, it’s about listening, too. Encourage regular feedback from your employees and other managers to identify any challenges or concerns, and work with your team to find workable solutions.
  5. They learn from their mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes – even managers. It’s how they handle their mistakes that truly differentiates the good managers from the bad ones. Good managers know that admitting to a mistake is not a sign of weakness, but a one of maturity. Take ownership of your mistakes, learn from them and pass what you learn on to your employees. Not only will your team be better for it, they will respect you for the way you handled it.


Being a great manager isn’t the only way to reduce employee turnover. Learn about 6 ways to stop employee turnover in its tracks.



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