Implementing Big-Business Leadership in A Small Business (Organization)

 Diversity is a hot topic that if leveraged properly, can bring significant growth, increased productivity, and profits. Businesses big and small need effective leaders to craft action plans and guide employees to execute the strategy as intended. Not only do leaders decide the destinations, but also give information to employees on how to get there. Regardless of business size, leadership is run on the same principles. Leadership duties are simpler in small businesses (or small organizations) because there are fewer employees to manage. At the same time achievements of individuals may have a bigger impact, but are more difficult to come by for the limitation of resources. With that in mind, there are similarities and differences in how leaders should practice the authority.

 As you may see the common theme in all my articles, leaders make the biggest impact in any team or organization. Sometimes leaders may not realize that what they may be doing or failing to do, may be influencing employees to develop a negative attitude or actions that may be harming the team or organization. Leaders’ actions are always being observed. So how they treat others and what they do must be thoughtfully done. Coaching employees for success and empowering them are keys to success. Employee engagement that starts with listening to understand can be powerful in making necessary changes to the way things are done. Every employee does and can make a difference. Leaders must recognize it and also do these other things:

 ·         Plant the Idea of Success

 The ultimate destination of every small business is to earn success. Make it obvious to employees that success doesn’t just happen. Before the company can get there, it has to go through many hurdles along the way. It is going to be like a race with many capable competitors yearning to be the first. At the starting line, leaders need to paint clear picture of what success looks like and plant the idea to employees’ minds. Therefore all decisions and actions are aimed toward reaching the destination. It is a big agenda for which you need all hands on deck. Sense of urgency and importance keep everybody on the same page, otherwise they take their jobs lightly or may even put personal gains above the company’s purpose.

 ·         Stay Focused on Targets

 A common mistake some leaders make is to aim at many targets at the same time. It may not be a problem in big a company with hundreds (if not thousands) of employees and broad range of departments. Of course you can also implement the same approach to small business, as long as you have enough employees to handle all the tasks by setting up clear division and assigning projects to competent individuals or teams.

 Chasing multiple targets is alright, but be very careful on utilizing the available resources; there is always a risk of doing none well enough to achieve the intended results. Limitation in resources can be balanced-out for performance by effective allocation of budget and employees. Also, it is easier for everyone to stay focus on the job when they don’t have to go in many different directions.

 ·         Detail Everyday Goals

 It does not matter if you run small or big business, employees need to be well-informed about the goals to achieve. Keep the line of communication open to answer questions from and provide details to employees. Particularly in this area, small businesses have big advantage over their bigger counterparts.

 In spite of all the rage on how modern technologies have seemingly shrunk the world and rendered distance irrelevant in communication, direct face-to-face conversation remains the best way to deliver message. It may not the fastest method to spread information, but still by far the most reliable. Otherwise there is no point of having a meeting. In big companies, face-to-face communication is almost impossible considering the large number of employees to reach. On the other hand in small business, it is not that difficult to get everybody in the same room every morning in most cases—even if it is only for a few minutes to get on the same page. Meetings must always be seen as meaningful. So, leaders must make it worth everyone’s time to show up. Leaders must listen to understand the ideas of employees, and they must also show the respect of considering applying the ideas of others. Shutting employees down or fake listening can have long-term negative effects.  

 Use milestones to detail the goals on daily/weekly basis. Make time for question and answer to clarify confusions or provide additional guidance. Another advantage of direct communication is the increased level of employee engagement. What we focus on is where we will get results. Everything is connected to time, so having shared clarity on what the priorities are is key to success at accomplishing daily goals which leads to accomplishment of building a reputation of customer/stakeholder satisfaction.

 Small businesses may not even have HR departments to create formal job classifications and descriptions. However the advantage it has in communication practices helps overcome the difficulty in describing individual’s roles and responsibilities. Employees tend to perform better if they know their priorities for the day and what resources are allocated to them. Based on that information, employees carry out their duties with higher level of confidence as well, knowing that they don’t stray too far from the destination.

 Leading is an active process. Successful organizations/companies recognize that properly leveraging the diversity of ideas of their teams and empowering people to make good decisions that build their reputation brings successes one action at a time. Teams are only as strong as leaders allow each of their people to be who they are and trusts them to give their best with proper coaching, controls and listening.

Make good choices and have a great day! Only you get to choose how you feel about it!

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Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a skilled leadership and diversity training who builds customized workshops online or at your workplace. He is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on their training investment. Visit for more great free articles and to learn more about Leadership Training. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:



Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.