The Business World Needs Leaders, Not Managers

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In today’s business world, the traditional “manager” is becoming a more uncommon way of overseeing a company. It is well known that people want to work for leaders, not grumpy old managers that don’t care about much. In all reality, if your company’s top management team operates as an organization of leaders working alongside their employees; then your chances of success are far greater. In this article, I will explore the simple, yet necessary traits a “manager” in a company needs to posses to be thought of as a leader.

What Employees Can See

For everyone in the company to “buy in”, they need to see top management lead. Although there may be many possible ways that a manager can show that they are a leader, I am going to select the top six ways and discuss why.

The top six characteristics of a manager acting as a leader discussed are:

  • Approachable
  • Supportive
  • Available
  • Holding Staff Accountable
  • Involvement
  • Share of Authority

Approachable:

This means that they are friendly, and staff can come to them when they need assistance. The manager that is closed off and everyone is afraid of creates more internal problems than you can even imagine. You will see a decrease in productivity and efficiency as well as division between personnel in the company.

Supportive:   

Managers that lead are always supportive and always put their staff before them. This is part of the leadership style is called servant leadership. Servant leaders will always take the time to provide help when needed, see how their staff is doing on a business and personal level, and make it their duty to mentor. Overall, this type of leadership is what most employees prefer. With the right kind of management support, employees can bring their professional work to the next level.

Availability:

Neither of the previous two characteristics matter if management does not have good availability and time flexibility. Great managers should not be too busy to spend time with the staff helping them work towards the common goal or task at hand. If there is no availability, then there is no time for support to be given and staffers don’t even need to worry about approaching a manager. Therefore, a manager that wants to be a leader must make it a priority to be available and flexible with their time for their employees and company to grow and succeed.

Holding Staff Accountable:

Accountability is necessary on both fronts. Managers need to be held accountable as well as knowing the right ways to hold their staff accountable. Great managers give projects reasonable deadlines and time budgets. This increases efficiency in the company while holding staff accountable for getting work done. It is also very important that managers have some type of review process to make sure work is getting done the right way and on time. But what if it is not done correctly or on time? A good leader has the responsibility to recognize whether their staff is struggling to keep up with the deadline and being involved in the development.

Involvement:

It is important that managers use the correct amount of involvement when working with their staff. Too little can cause confusion and stress while too much can result in minimal employee growth. Managers cannot just delegate every project on their plate to their staff, but it is crucial that they spread the list evenly. From there, they can help as needed without doing all or none of the work.

Share of Authority:

Another aspect of servant leadership is the sharing of authority. Just because top management is “in charge,” does not mean that they should make every decision by themselves like a dictatorship. Ultimately, they make the final decisions but should always consider everyone’s input before making that decision. Collective decision making will make it certain that the entire team is on the same page.

What Employees will Hear

Leaders tend to use their voice to teach and guide rather than demand and yell. This is a huge difference between a manager and a leader. Not only does this style allow for more effective work, but it also gives employees something to learn and feel comfortable doing.

  • A good leader will always try and share their past experiences whether they are good or bad. This can help prevent employees from either making the same mistakes they have or give them some direction towards success.
  • When someone does make a misstep, it is very important that top management makes every effort to turn it into a teaching moment. Mistakes are meant to be used as a learning tool, not an excuse for a grumpy old manager to scream and yell.
  • I know for a fact that if I’m getting yelled at, I am not learning from my mistake; I am just doing everything possible to avoid being in the same situation I was in before.
  • Lastly, a manager that leads needs to obviously have effective communication skills. Staying on the same page, delegating roles, and giving praise to a god well done. This helps work get done more efficiently and effectively.

How the Company will Benefit

When top management is composed of leaders and everyone is working towards a common goal, employees and the company gain a tremendous advantage. With management being leaders, it allows for personal and business development, collaboration, innovation, and increased success. It also allows for staff to want to come to work every day instead of dreading it. If your company has mangers that aren’t leaders, you need to consider making a change in personnel for the position.

Importance of a Social Media Presence for Small Businesses

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With the evolution of business and the relationship with social media; social media has become an important tool for businesses to cultivate exposure and interact with clients, potential clients, and those whom are opposed to the product. Your customers are no longer the farmer down the street or even the family in the next town over. We are at a global scale, regardless if you are a small or large business. The presence you hold on either a website or on social media sites can affect your reach as a company. We rely on technology as a platform for gaining or giving information. But social media isn’t about pushing your information out there. Rather it is connecting to your target audience is hanging around the popular social sites. Social media use on mobile devices is seeing a growth of 30% every year. 2 million businesses today are using Facebook advertising for promoting their products and services. With that many different businesses using Facebook as an advertising platform, is it worth trying to cut through the clutter? The answer is definitely yes! Just because they are using Facebook, doesn’t mean they are utilizing the platform. But that’s a different matter. Right now we are focusing on why social media is important.

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Increased Brand Recognition

When marketers say repetition in exposure is imperative to the success to a business they are not joking. Santry 360 is a small tax, accounting, and business consultant firm that has small media presence. In order for an advertisement to have recognition in the customer, they need to be exposed at least 8 times. It doesn’t matter whether this is just the name, advertisement, or post from the company. The repetition of the name of the company name resonates in the potential customers. When they are needing to have the service that your company offers, they will remember your company in their mind and would be more likely to look into more information about your company that could sway them.

It is important to pay attention to what your company is posting. Repeatedly posting articles, videos, or opinions are not useful unless they are related to your company in a specific way. Take Santry 360, since taking over all of their social media I have posted several articles that resonate with who we are as company and what we are focused on. Many of these articles are related to manufacturing. We are not a manufacturing company, but we are aware of the issues facing the manufacturing companies and look to help resolve the issue, as a way to better the Quad Cities. These posts show that we are interested in the problems that are facing other industries. Taxes can be as simple or complicated, this can also change depending on your industry. Many companies do not do their own taxes. By expressing this interest into the manufacturing community, there is a chance that they will remember: Santry 360 they were focused on helping our industry (Pro Bono). The company will also recognize that they are familiar with the industry and how it works. It showcases that Santry 360 will know how different factors of a manufacturing business fits with tax deductions as well as the accounting side.

The important point to take out of this section is that repetition of your name on social media is imperative, especially when the company is starting out. But it is also extremely important to pay attention to what you are posting. Your name will be related to what you post, and if it isn’t something that relates or holds the same values as the company then there could be negative views. When it comes to social media negative reactions will cause the individual to unfollow or block either the company themselves or the content. If this happens then there will be negative repercussions and you will lose that potential customer.

Improved Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is an important concept, depending on the business/ service offered. From a product stand point saying that I only eat Jiffy Peanut Butter; there are no replacements even considered by the customer. This is complete brand loyalty. What makes a business unique?  With several different options out there, why settle and choose one single brand of peanut butter?

Looking at your own company you must figure out what is unique about yourself? What do you offer that either no one else can offer or that you provide the best?

Social media takes a faceless business and gives them personality. As a company you can show what you find frustrating, amusing, what moves you. The people behind the business are unique. These people make up what a business stands for. People are more likely to stay with a company that they feel a connection with.

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More Opportunities to Convert

In a community there are at least six different shops that do the same thing. Regardless if it is mechanical, manufacturing, clothing, or even food. And your have to compete with large companies that have more money available to spend on marketing/advertising. Social media gives the chance to the owner to showcase to the public what is unique about them. Sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty and take customers. But if you have something that is superior, showcase it! Be proud! Every business that creates the same product are not the same. Every business has values, ethics, community involvement, and the people that work for them. Rather I should say work with them.

Social media gives these small businesses a platform to showcase their differences. These differences are the uniqueness that can sway a customer to decide that they recognize with your business and what you offer better than the business that they have used before.

Increased Inbound Traffic

If you look at a small business without any social media presence their business and customer pool is extremely limited to the people that are familiar with your brand. You could spend a lot of your budget to try and convert those that have decided to choose a different company to fulfill their needs.

Going back to brand recognition, every post that your create, share, tweet, or like can lead to a potential customer. It could be as easy as they were curious about this company that they have never heard of. It’s not just the amount of content, rather the important part is the quality and how it relates your business. This increases the traffic to either your social media page or even better, your website.

Decreased Marketing Costs

The greatest benefit of social media for a business the cost, or lack thereof. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube are for the most part free platforms. In marketing, free exposure that you can control is the best tool in your arsenal. There can be a cost associated for those who choose to boost posts, or set up advertisements. But it is still considerably less than trying to reach your target market through the old fashioned tunnels.

Time is a big factor when looking at internal costs. Paying a marketers to create, edit, and share the advertising can take a lot of time. For small businesses that don’t have a large amount of content to share with the community, this gives them an opportunity to reach their target market and share the small information and services without spending a lot of time with advertising firms and wasting their budget that could be better spent on developing the business.

Conclusion:

Social media is an amazing tool for business to utilize. The target market is already sectioned through the algorithms in place to show relevant information for those interested in that specific topic. Or what you have searched for, social media will read this and show you relevant ads.  Social media has many more benefits then what can be shown in this blog post. These benefits are crucial for small businesses that have limited spending on advertising. These platforms help give them a better attempt at a level playing field.

Why I Chose a Small Business over a Large Company

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Each company has their benefits as well as their negatives; regardless if they are a small or large company. For personal reasons we make our choices based on a variety of opinions. Looking at what each type of can offer a college graduate we can decide individually which is a right fit for you and your preferences.

What Large Companies Can Offer Recent College Graduates

Large companies benefit the college graduate through brand name association, co-workers, social aspects, and networking. Disadvantages of large companies such as feeling insignificant and being singled into a specific role. 

Brand Name Association

For a large company, the brand name has an immense impact. For example, companies like Google have absolutely no problem attracting employment-seeking individuals solely based on their brand name. Just by having that brand attached, employees automatically gain an advantage in future job searching processes. That advantage lies in the fact that they can get almost any other job that they want merely because that brand name is highlighted on their resume.

Co-Worker Camaraderie

The next thing that these large companies can offer is relatable coworkers. Whether it be at an intern level or at the fresh out of college level, there will be other people in the same exact position as you. Other new-hires will be joining this company around the same time, which gives a sense of relatability and ability to collaborate more effectively. This offering is a huge advantage for these companies. These new-hires will feel more comfortable and less stressed out starting off their jobs knowing that there will be others in the same position to relate to.

Social Benefits

As for a social aspect, it is believed that large companies can have both an advantage and disadvantage. The benefit comes in networking. As we know, with big corporations or firms, comes a much greater number of employees. The ability to be able to network yourself with as many people as possible is a huge turn on for potential new-hires for it can benefit them tremendously throughout their career.

Feeling Insignificant

The major disadvantage is that to this large company, you will start as just another number to them and it will be harder to create more interpersonal relationships with coworkers.

Singled into One Position

In a big company, they will typically only allow you to work in the field that they need you in the most. Then when you want to go to a different company, they might want you for something else that you have no experience in.

What Small Businesses Can Offer Recent College Graduates

Small businesses offer their own unique benefits, mainly due to the ability to engage on a more personal level. As well as offer flexibility within the company.

Hands On

At a smaller company, a recent college graduate will be engaged in a more hands on experience in more than just one field. The experiences are by far more practical and transferable.

Business Insights and Exposure

Small businesses can offer insights and exposure to more components of how the business is ran. This will allow a recent graduate to develop and grow in multiple aspects of their professional career. Also, skills you learn from working at a small business are considerably more likely to be useful in the future if you decide to work elsewhere.

Social Benefits

Social interactions and contributions in a small business bring several advantages to a young professional. Here they will have a mentor that will work more closely and frequently with just them. These mentors share their experience through stories that they have experienced through their careers. Regardless if the stories are specific to the company or the past jobs that they have experienced. The reduced boundaries are a big plus in growth and experience building through one-on-one training interactions.

Feeling Significant

they will feel more meaningful to the group rather than just another number in a large group. This is also true because your ideas, opinions, and suggestions are taken much more seriously while at a small business.

Co-Worker Benefits

You begin to gain a sense of camaraderie with coworkers and management. You will be receiving honest feedback based on your ideas. Giving the opportunity to brainstorm or spitball ideas with co-workers that have the same goal; building the company up.

Small Businesses Win

Based on these thoughts and offerings, I would choose a small business over a large company 10 times out of 10. If a small company is the right fit for you and your preferences, it makes much more sense to go along that route than be potentially miserable at a large company. In my recent experience along with talking to friends who joined large companies out of college, I truly believe that I made the right decision and would hope that many others decide to follow along the same path.