When you launched your small business, chances are you had to wear a lot of hats.
In addition to making ownership decisions, you probably also supervised day-to-day operations and management activities. But now that the business has grown, are managerial activities the most efficient use of your time?
In most cases, the right answer is that ownership and management functions need to be differentiated. Frequent travel, high-level oversight and strategic mindsets eventually overwhelm business owners who also cast themselves in management roles. Sooner or later, hiring a manager isn't just a good idea – it's a necessity for continued growth.
But unless you're careful, you could easily create an even less tenable situation for you and your business. It's a common fallacy that anyone with demonstrated business skills is a good fit for a management position. In reality, the best managers conform to a fairly narrow set of personal and professional parameters. When hiring a manager is the next logical step for your small business, here are some of the traits you'll want to look for in a new hire.
- Self-perception. Narrow your focus to candidates that perceive themselves as managers rather than visionaries. If everything goes as planned, you'll want your manager to execute your vision for the company – not create their own.
- Managerial background. Ideally, the person you hire will have a solid background in frontline management. Steer away from candidates who hopped from one management role to the next. For the health of your business, you'll want someone who can commit to your team and your company for the long haul.
- Supervisory skills. Managers supervise personnel and workflows. Exceptional management candidates possess a strong supervisory skill set that allows them to keep one eye on the details and the other eye on the big picture.
- Task orientation. At the end of the day, good managers are people who know how to get things done. If a candidate talks at length about process but can't demonstrate any achieved outcomes, it might be a sign that he lacks the task orientation that is necessary for successful management.
- Collaborative. Stern, overbearing manages are despised by workers and employers alike. Although it might sound appealing to hire someone who rules the office with an iron fist, it's only a matter of time before your staff revolts – and the new manager turns his dictatorial, non-collaborative leadership style on you.