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Chet Pipkin started international tech behemoth Belkin in the early 1980s to address a growing need: PCs were becoming increasingly more popular and affordable, but their accessories (think: printers, cables and monitors) rarely worked together when produced by different manufacturers.
Pipkin says he set out to “make anything work with anything.” In turn, he created a billion-dollar empire.
Pipkin’s success is nothing short of amazing. Today, he is known almost as much for his philanthropic efforts and mild manner as he is for his tech firm.
However, despite his accolades, Pipkin says he really had to work on his management skills.
“I was the worst manager in the world,” told Pipkin told MSNBC in 2017. “I was terrible. I was horrific.”
Pipkin’s humility can serve as inspiration for all entrepreneurs. It highlights the fact that even the “worst managers in the world” can learn from their mistakes. They can grow something bigger than themselves.
Here are five great ways to improve your leadership abilities.
Swap jobs with your business partner
Swapping jobs with your business partner can be a great way to drum up some new ideas without hiring a new staffer.
You don’t have to hand every task off to your partner, but the swapping roles could help inject a little momentum, creativity and motivation into routine processes.
Mystery shop your store
It’s hard to know how your staff is treating your customers when you aren’t around. Remind them of your expectations. Hire mystery shoppers. Then, share the results of your mystery shop with your team.
Just be sure to let your staff know what you are doing beforehand, so that they don’t feel like they’re being spied on.
Pay attention to the right numbers
Numbers are the lifeblood of any business, but not all numbers are equally meaningful.
If 100 people walk into your store, that’s great. However, if none of them buys anything that original number doesn’t mean anything.
Make sure you know which numbers are truly reflective of your mission, so you know what works and what needs work.
Treat your suppliers like team members
Looking back, Belkin says that he’s embarrassed by the way he led his teams in the past. Today he lives by the old expression, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Your suppliers are crucial to your business, so treat them that way. Give them as much information as you can, so that they can scale their operations to meet your demand. And invest heavily in their success so that everyone can win as you grow.
Pretend you have a boss
It can be hard to stay focused when you don’t have someone over you motivating you to get your work done. So, give yourself an employee review and adjust your priorities and behavior to ensure that you are meeting your own expectations.