Leader with a diverse group of employees standing in front of an Audi, Hummer, and Lincoln Continental vehicles

Effective Leadership and Hiring Strategies for Small Businesses

Leader with a diverse group of employees standing in front of an Audi, Hummer, and Lincoln Continental vehicles
Empowering leadership in action: A cohesive team gathers, with the backdrop of their signature vehicles – the Audi, Hummer, and Lincoln Continental, symbolizing strength, luxury, and unity

Hiring Exceptional Staff for Your Small Business

Embarking on a business journey or already deep into the entrepreneurial world, there comes a moment when the workload becomes overwhelming. This is a clear sign that it’s time to expand your team. However, hiring is arguably the most challenging aspect of running a business. The stakes are high: your expenses will rise due to additional fees, insurances, and liabilities. Moreover, with more employees, your business will face increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

Hiring isn’t just about filling a vacancy; it’s about taking responsibility for someone’s livelihood. This person will rely on you for their sustenance, and it’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

When is the Right Time to Hire?

In the realm of small businesses, hiring should be approached with caution. Before making a decision, evaluate your opportunity cost. Determine the value of your time by assigning a monetary value to it. For instance, if you charge clients $150 per hour, that’s the minimum worth of your time. If you’re spending time on tasks that could be outsourced for $20 an hour, you’re incurring an opportunity cost of $130 per hour. The goal is to either hire individuals who add value exceeding your opportunity cost or those who cost less than your opportunity cost.

The Importance of Having the Right Team

The acclaimed book “Good to Great” emphasizes the significance of having the right individuals in the correct roles. If someone isn’t a fit for your company, it’s crucial to make the tough decision to let them go. As a small business owner, you’ll likely form close bonds with your employees, making it even harder to sever ties. However, loyalty should be directed towards the company and the dedicated employees who contribute positively. It’s unjust to the hardworking team members to bear the burden of an underperforming colleague.

Effective Hiring Strategies

A a good friend and the former CFO from Axon (Taser) Jawad Ashan once shared invaluable hiring advice in his book, “What They Didnt Tell Me”. He emphasized hiring based on four uncoachable traits:

  1. Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  2. Accountability: Taking responsibility for one’s actions.
  3. Collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others.
  4. Positivity: Maintaining an optimistic attitude.

Skills can be taught, but these intrinsic qualities are either present or absent in an individual.

The Role of Company Culture in Hiring

Company culture plays a pivotal role in hiring. If you bring someone on board who doesn’t align with your company’s values and ethos, it can lead to internal conflicts. For instance, hiring experienced professionals with a laid-back attitude might clash with a pre-existing culture of intense work ethic. It’s essential to prioritize cultural fit as much as, if not more than, skills and experience.

The Hiring Process

When it comes to hiring, thoroughness is key. Engage with potential hires multiple times, ask challenging questions, and always check references. If you’re someone who finds it hard to let people go, it’s even more crucial to be rigorous in your hiring process. And if an employee isn’t meeting expectations despite efforts to help them improve, it’s essential to act swiftly and let them go.

Leadership: Be A Leader Worth Following

Leadership is more than just a title; it’s about embodying qualities that inspire and motivate others to achieve greatness. Here are some essential leadership principles that can guide you in your journey:

  1. Be a Leader Worth Following: Throughout history, there are countless tales of remarkable individuals who, under the guidance of an exceptional leader, overcame insurmountable odds. Great leaders often recognize when it’s time to work alongside their team, proving that leadership isn’t about distancing oneself from the team but being an integral part of it.
  2. You Eat Last: Whether it’s about food or finances, prioritize your team. Never miss a payroll. When you take on the responsibility of an employee, their livelihood becomes your responsibility. I recall working at a restaurant where staff worked long shifts without meals, while managers dined openly. Such practices erode respect for leadership. Always ensure your team’s needs are met before your own.
  3. You Swing the Sword: Hiring and firing are two sides of the same coin. If you decide to bring someone into your team, it’s also your responsibility to let them go if they don’t fit. This decision, though tough, should be made with respect and seriousness. It not only impacts the individual but also serves as a lesson for future hiring decisions.
  4. Lead by Example: Never expect your team to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Occasionally taking on the least desirable tasks can be a powerful demonstration of leadership. In my previous company, everyone, regardless of their position, took turns cleaning the employee bathroom. This practice instilled a sense of shared responsibility and work ethic. It’s a testament to the idea that no job is beneath a true leader even if it doesn’t fit the mold of opportunity cost.
  5. Show Your Heart and Work Ethic: I overheard a story where a new manager refused to sweep the floor, only to be reminded by one of my seasoned managers that if the boss can clean the bathroom, he can surely sweep. Demonstrating your commitment and work ethic can inspire your team to rise to the occasion, fostering a culture of mutual respect and dedication.

Incorporating these leadership principles can significantly impact your business’s success. As you navigate the challenges of hiring and managing a team, remember that leadership is the foundation upon which great companies are built. Your role as a leader is not just to manage but to inspire, guide, and nurture your team towards achieving collective greatness.


Employees are the backbone of any business. Their performance and dedication can either propel a company to success or drag it down. Therefore, hiring the right individuals and nurturing them is paramount. As you venture into the hiring process, remember to prioritize both cultural fit and the uncoachable traits that truly make an employee invaluable.

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