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Tips for Hands-On Leadership

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 31, 2006

No matter what style of leadership you prefer, as a small-business owner it’s essential that you adopt a hands-on approach.

Here’s how:

1. Be there. Entrepreneurs warn that a successful business can slip when an owner is not there at least part of every

day, keeping in touch with how things are going.

2. Set an example for working hard. One wholesale bakery owner sometimes sleeps on the couch in his office so he can be

there when the early shift comes in at 4 a.m.

3. Don’t confuse hands-on managing with micro-management. Set objectives and offer guidance, but don’t make employees

do every little thing your way. Gauge what they do by the results.

4. Understand your business down to the last detail. The founder of a toy-store chain visits the stores and spends time

doing each job (selling, clerking, etc.) and observing customers’ reactions.

5. Stay in touch with “stakeholders.” That category includes customers, employees, and suppliers.

Ken Yancey
Washington, D.C.

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