How Assessing Your Management Skills Can Improve Your Business
As the owner of a small business, you are automatically in a leadership position, even if you don’t have any employees. You manage the many layers of running your business including organizational, marketing, leadership, and financial. But is it necessary to be an expert in all these areas? The answer is no. And very few people are well versed in all these skills.
To help you evaluate your own management skills, the advising team at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) has created the Management Matrix, a quick four-step assessment to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
There is no judgment here – just an opportunity to help you figure out where you might need support in building or improving your business.
Once you complete the Management Matrix, what happens next? If you rate yourself as competent, proficient, or expert in any of the four areas you are already on your way to mastering those skills. Sitting down with your VtSBDC advisor or attending a workshop or two may be all you need to advance to the next level. What if you’re a novice or beginner? Take a pause and think about your options for filling this gap: Is this something I am interested in and want to learn? Do I have time/energy to add something new to my skill set? Is there someone in my network who is better at this than me? An employee, a trusted partner, or even an intern?
A conversation with your advisor might also shed some light on whether you could or should manage specific functions by yourself, or if you might decide to outsource to someone with specific technical knowledge – for example, a web developer, an HR expert, or a bookkeeper.
Austin Suellentrop, the CliftonStrengths Portfolio Manager at Gallup, writes that authentic business leaders use their own strengths to be relatable, genuine leaders who constantly help others learn and grow. He says, “To get there, you should first turn inward. What do you do uniquely well as a leader? What makes you unique and makes others want to follow you? Leadership isn’t one-size-fits-all — and you’ll become the best leader you can be if you find out what makes you uniquely powerful.”
VtSBC Business Advisor Steve Densham encourages small business owners to start by completing the assessment, and then after considering areas to be strengthened, set up a meeting with your VtSBDC advisor for a discussion on options and how to create a plan to get there, including the time and money it may take.
“Not everyone has all the skills in the Management Matrix…not even Bill Gates or Oprah has them all,” Steve says. “You should not expect to have them all (if you are honest with yourself). But you do need to know which ones you have, and which ones you need to learn. You may or may not (depending on the size of your small business) do all these things yourself. But even if someone else does them for you, you still must have enough knowledge to know they are being done right.”
Looking for more? Check out our resources page or request advising!
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