There is no singular approach to management in a small and medium enterprise (SME). Often, leadership at this level means balancing a few different elements.
These elements include but aren’t limited to:
- Balancing the financial health of the business.
- The acquisition and retention of clients.
- Developing existing employees and the recruitment of new ones.
The way management conducts itself in such a close-knit environment — perhaps a small open-plan office — is crucial. Business leaders should be flexible, and only a multi-faceted management approach will ensure all circumstances the SME faces are navigated successfully.
There are various management styles; whether you choose to be a close mentor to employees or look instil a culture of respect through a more authoritarian approach. Or, senior management may be more laissez-faire, leaving the day-to-day running of the operation to trusted and well-motivated team members.
Here we look at 4 different management styles you can adopt to help you grow your SME.
The mentor and coach
The personal development of staff members is key in smaller companies that don’t have the resources to hire higher-level workers who command bigger salaries. Often SMEs rely on hiring cheaper, entry-level employees who lack real on-the-job experience. This means that management must dedicate time to nurturing skills and relationships, so that the investment in their employment is worthwhile in the long-run.
By being being a mentor and a coach, you’ll not only help the business, but seeing employees blossom will be rewarding, especially if they’re able to progress within the business.
A mix of different management styles and strong “soft skills” puts leaders in the strongest position to succeed, yet being a strong motivator might be the main approach you wish to take. The motivator takes the bull by the horns. They ensure that everybody understands the business’s objectives, so that the entire team is working productively to meet them.
This type of management style is like the motivator, but an authoritarian might choose to distance themselves from other employees and the office floor itself. For instance, an authoritarian might have their own office and only be called into lower-level meetings when required, spending their time managing relationships with clients or customers.
The authoritarian manages through a mixture of fear and respect. This should never be at a level that affects the wellbeing and performance of the team.
The silent manager
Silent managers understand the capabilities of their team and allow them to make independent decisions. Where the mentor will work closely with employees, the silent manager respects their understanding of their role and operates through trust. This management style is perhaps more suited to communicating with highly skilled and motivated employees, and the role is mainly one of delegation with tasks handed to the most suitable team member.
Which management style suits you?
Flexibility is the key to SME management, meaning senior managers must adopt management styles which are appropriate for certain situations. Whichever style you choose, the short and long-term success of the business should be your main priority, with the development of employees a close second.
If you manage to achieve the latter, the rest should slot right into place.