The Chamber’s 2019 Impact Your Business series ended with a focus on leadership for small businesses. The panel discussion, moderated by David Bloxom, chairman of Speed Fab-Crete Corporation, featured Nikole Dickman, co-owner of Envoy Managed Services, LLC; Allen Wallach, CEO/owner of PAVLOV; Trelaine M. Mapp, owner, president and CEO of Source Building Group, Inc.
What traits do you look for in your team members?
- “Every personality has a place in the organization and they bring something unique and different to the table,” said Dickman, “you need a variety.”
- Mapp honed in on the staff member’s ability to step outside of their role or responsibilities to help and assist a colleague in achieving certain tasks, whether it be short-term daily milestones or long-term goals.
- Wallach quoted a Jimmy Buffet lyric, “I read dozens of books about heroes and crooks and I learned much from most of their styles.”
- “I really don’t try to micromanage because I think that would be holding them back and create less value for our clients. My job is to facilitate and encourage them and help them become the best that they can be,” says Wallach.
What do you think your best personal trait is at your organization?
- “Decisiveness,” says Wallach, “I value input from my senior team, but in the end somebody has to make a decision and I’m not afraid to make a decision rather than be paralyzed wondering if everybody agrees.”
- “The ability to relate,” says Mapp, “and having the ability to empathize and put yourself in someone else’s shoes is truly a successful trait.”
- “A willingness to learn more is also a positive trait. Admitting that you don’t know everything and having a desire to learn more every day,” says Mapp.
- “Humility,” says Dickman, “Leadership is hard. Being humble through it is the only reason I’ve had any success.”
On being a leader versus leadership:
- Wallach gave an example of a specific PAVLOV team member. “Claire leads by example by forming professional opinions and publishing them. That’s a great example of leadership.”
- “Two words come to mind,” says Mapp, “empowerment and motivation. The ability to empower and motivate your team members and your peers.”
- Dickman mentioned healthy debates, “Knowing that everyone’s opinion is important and we’re going to figure [an issue] out together.”
Is there anything you’d do differently if you had the chance?
- “Save more money,” says Mapp, “there are a lot of unknowns that I wasn’t prepared for: planning, accumulating capital, preparation.”
- “It’d be foolish to say anything other than yes,” says Wallach, “however, from a leadership perspective, without the mistakes, you don’t learn. Every time I stepped off the ledge, my business and career slingshot forward.”
- “Finding the confidence to make a decision,” says Dickman, “that’s the one thing I learned to do sooner because I’d be further along.”
On managing team-members who aren’t motivated or driven:
- “There are leadership and management approaches that will help change their approach, but I’ve found that the good ones will make that transition. Others will go off and do their own thing,” says Wallach.
- “At any organization, there is always a percentage of a team that just thinks of it as a job,” says Mapp, “step back as a leader of the organization and understand what motivates them.”
- “Ask how you can make coming to work something they look forward to instead of something they dread” suggests Dickman, “if it’s something they enjoy, maybe you won’t even have to have the conversation of job versus career.”
- Wallach learned very quickly to delegate, “recognize where your strengths and weaknesses are and outsource the weaknesses.”
- Dickman suggests taking yourself out of the equation, “if you can extract yourself for a day, a week or a month, does the organization run without you? It can be scary when you’re supposed to be the leader, but then it’s empowering when you realize that the team is able to carry on and do what they need to do, even when you aren’t in the room.”