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Small Business Tips: How Not to Be a Pushover

One of the most common flaws among small business owners, and especially new small business owners, is their eagerness to please. They are generous to a fault and, more often than not, allow clients, partners or other employees walk all over them. Unfortunately, this is also what keeps them overworked, without adequate recompense. In this post of small business tips, we talk about how not to be a pushover!

This is a fear or insecurity, the desire to please the person in front of them that makes one act as a pushover. Having a good relationship with clients and employees is the key to business success. However, it is important to note that being too nice can often prove to be detrimental to your business.

Let’s take a look at a few scenarios very common to small businesses.

  • Clients that are regularly rude to your staff
  • Late payment of invoices
  • Staff that is consistently late
  • Suppliers and vendors missing their deadlines
  • Clients that repeatedly ask for free advice
  • Clients changing their minds in the middle of the project, causing delays

These are just a few scenarios that eat away at your cash flow and efficiency because of the business owner being “too nice”, or in other words, a pushover. An effective manager strikes a good balance between managing authority and building positive relationships.

Identify the Problem

  • You often don’t hold people accountable for substandard work
  • You choose to avoid conflict, hoping the issues will sort themselves out
  • You tend to take work that others fail to do, in addition to your own
  • You give in to employee objections when making big decisions in the business
  • You have a tendency of really liking being liked

If you can identify with any of these traits, or can remember similar behaviour patterns in how you do business, you are acting like a pushover. Always know that your actions influence how people treat you. The idea is to become a likeable leader, without really becoming a pushover. Here are some suggestions on how you can do just that.

Let Them Do Their Job

It may be OK for you to share your skills now and then, but never let your employees take advantage of your kindness. Don’t stay late working when your employees are home enjoying dinner.

Be Strict in Adhering to Office Rules

Do not allow employees to ignore the dress code, set their own hours, or ignore important company policies. Allowing this behaviour will be like telling employees that company policies are just not important.

Give Relevant Feedback

If you are dissatisfied with an employee’s performance, set up a meeting and review his/her performance together. Feedback is a necessary element in growing at the workplace. Not saying anything will result in the employee not caring and repeating the mistake over and over again.

Deal with Conflicts

Do not shy away from conflict. Allowing conflicts to fester allows other employees to get involved and can make the situation slip from your grasp. Diffuse the situation then and there if possible.

Be Fair in Your Dealings

Hold all employees to the same standards. Never play favourites, or even allow the perception to enter their minds that underperformers are being unjustly protected.

Being a pushover in your business may have several underlying factors; a fear of losing business, a lack of confidence, people pleasing, or undervaluing your own abilities, to name a few. Tackle the root cause and you will find a permanent solution to your problem. Every team wants a fearless leader to lead them to future glories; it is up to you to be that person.

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