Skills to be a better business owner (Part III)

This week’s post concludes my three-part series on building your “executive skills”. In mastering these skills you will give yourself a big advantage in leading your company to success. So here are a few more business talents to work on…

Skill #6 Constructive confrontation – This is the willingness to hold people accountable for performing their jobs AND “taking appropriate action” when they don’t. For example, an employee might show up late for work. Rather than confronting the behavior immediately and directly with the employee some owners will avoid saying anything for fear of angering or alienating the employee. Then they’ll rationalize their decision by saying things like, “At least he showed up,” or “My customers love him so I have to cut him some slack.”

Constructive confrontation is addressing issues when they first appear and are small rather than waiting until they’re out of control. It’s being able to deal with customers and employees in a way that produces a positive result rather than anger and resentment.

Skill #7 Listening – This goes beyond simply hearing. It starts with wanting to listen. A lot of entrepreneurs have their own special way of listening. Some lean back in their executive chairs and say, “Go ahead, I’m listening” while all the time their minds are closed. Others continue to “multi-task” by clicking around on their computers or shuffling papers while an employee tries to make a point. The real point the executive is making is, “I don’t think you have anything worth listening to, so I’ll just keep working on my more important stuff while you talk.”

Listening also includes being willing to ask for help or opinions. Too often as a small business grows the owner becomes less and less willing to listen.  The result? Demotivated employees and further growth is hindered.

Skill #8 Basic understanding of financial reports – Like it or not, in business financial reports are your primary way to measure performance and progress. The greater your ability to understand these reports the greater your chance for success in business. The good news is you don’t have to be an accountant, a bookkeeper, or a math whiz to understand your finances. Just realize that every number on your financial statement is a little window through which you can see how well you’re managing your business. Viewed this way your numbers take on greater meaning and you can use this information to improve your company’s performance.

So now we’ve examined eight essential management skills:

Part I- Communication and organization

Part II-  Patience, discipline and execution

and now we’ve reviewed constructive communication, listening AND focusing on the “dreaded financials”!  Of course, each of these skills warrant a more in-depth look. So please dive into the wealth of practical leadership advice we offer on this website.

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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