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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Maheshwari

Leadership: For Beginners

Barbara Maheshwari, Founder of Remote Bob
Barbara Maheshwari, Founder of Remote Bob

Before founding virtual assistance agency Remote Bob , I completed an Executive MBA, coordinated 70 promotors, and worked as a business consultant.

I put in 110% effort in running the company and genuinely care about my team. I do everything possible to ensure they are happy, satisfied, and successful, and to help our company grow.

Despite all this, there have been times when I felt like an ineffective leader.

I didn't give up. I learned from every negative experience and now I want to share those lessons with you.

What is in your job description as a leader?

  1. Define and communicate a clear vision and goals for the company so that all team members know the direction you are heading. For example... Our vision is to become a global virtual assistant agency that helps 1,000 small business owners effectively delegate administrative tasks to virtual assistants over the next three years.

Our main company goals are:

  • To provide top-notch service to our clients and receive at least 10 five-star reviews every month as feedback for the services provided by our virtual assistants.

  • To generate 97 leads monthly.

  • To sign contracts with 28 new projects every month.

2. Set behaviour rules and expectations,

Ensure that there is a rulebook outlining the expected behavior from your team, and communicate it to them (as a presentation or a document they need to sign, ensuring they have read it).

For example...

Internal Communication – All team members are expected to treat everyone in the company kindly and with respect, and to never leave a message unanswered.

Client Communication – All client inquiries should be responded to within 24 hours, except on weekends and holidays.

Annual Leave – When a team member wants to take more than 3 days of annual leave, they need to announce it at least 15 days in advance, obtain approval from their supervisor, and arrange for a replacement.

Punctuality – If a team member is late for a meeting without a valid reason, their bonus for that month will be revoked.

3. Choose team members wisely

It is your duty to choose the right people for the team. Even if you are a people person, if you have a small startup, you cannot afford to hire people just because they are likable, because you like them, or because you see long-term potential in them.

While in the early stages of building your company, you need to select individuals who have relevant knowledge and experience, who can quickly deliver results, and who are also pleasant to work with.

If you do not choose people wisely, six months later you might find yourself with an unsuccessful or dissatisfied team and questioning what you did wrong. In reality, the mistake was wanting to give opportunities to people who were not sufficiently qualified to do what you expected of them.

4. Set clear individual goals and role descriptions for each team member

Define what they need to achieve to meet the minimum expectations, what they need to accomplish to be considered average, and what they need to attain to earn an additional bonus.

Managing our internal team became much easier after we introduced monthly performance reviews for managers, which allow them to earn additional bonuses. However, I will write more about that in another article.

5. Provide resources and materials that your team needs, in order to do their job

When you hire a cleaner, you need to get floor mop, broom, detergent, and other

cleaning supplies. When you hire a PPC Specialist, you will have to provide them with marketing budget, access to Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Tag Manager etc. Ask them what they need in order to accomplish their goals - and make sure they get it.

6. Ensure there are regular team meeting schedules.

For effective team management, I recommend having the following meetings:

  • Setting goals for the week: 15 minutes on Mondays (weekly, management).

  • General update: 1 hour on Wednesdays (weekly, management) - sharing news, wins, and challenges from their departments.

  • Check-in about accomplished goals: 15 minutes on Fridays (weekly, management).

  • Retrospective meeting: 1 hour (quarterly, management) - reflecting on what could have been done differently.

  • All hands on deck: 1 hour (once a year, everyone) - Management presenting results and future plans to the whole team.

7. Your role is to keep calm, and strong during difficult times, and to motivate everyone

If you feel insecure, or confused - talk to your friends, or to your coach. Your role is to

reassure everyone that everything will be ok during difficult times. When things seem overwhelming - take some time to think about everything, facilitate

brainstorm session, or talk to your mentor.

When you are around your team, make sure that you are always motivated, and that you are making them feel safe and stable.

Leadership can be lonely sometimes, you should find support from external mentors,

friends, or other entrepreneurs.

Everyone occasionally feels down, but as good and strong leaders, we should never show it to our team.

Female Entrepreneur Barbara Maheshwari
Female Entrepreneur Barbara Maheshwari

Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want To Be a Successful Leader

Micromanagement Micromanagement doesn't work for anyone. Delegating tasks, and paying employees

to do something makes sense for you only if you can trust them to deliver it. If you believe that person can't be trusted, or he is not skilled enough to perform that task independently, then it is better not to hire them in the first place. However, if you often feel that everyone you are collaborating with can't be trusted, or that they are not capable, that might mean that you should adjust your approach to delegating work. Maybe you would benefit from changing your recruitment process, or from hiring more senior people, or from giving them more detailed instructions...

Treating Employees as Your Family It's great that everyone is enthusiastic and committed to the company, but we must not forget that this is a business.

Your employees are here because that is good for their careers. For team members to find it worthwhile to work at your company, you need to provide them with a competitive salary, good working conditions, and a role that motivates them and offers opportunities for personal growth.

No one should be on your team out of a sense of duty or sacrifice towards you, but because it is beneficial for them.

Similarly, you should not keep anyone on your team just because you like them, but because they deliver good business results that are beneficial for you. The fact that you have good communication and enjoy working together is just the foundation.

Becoming too friendly with your employees might interfere with professionalism, and

make it harder for you to make tough decisions.

It is important to find a delicate balance between being approachable and

overstepping boundaries. As a leader, you should be respected - not liked.

Overbooking Your Schedule It might happen to you that your week is so full of meetings and tasks that you end up with no time or energy left for your team members. How many times did you sacrifice your lunch break because one team member needed support with that new tool? Block out a few slots in your calendar reserved for being available to your people in case someone needs support.

Forgetting to Look After Yourself

Ironically, mentioning this now. This should actually be at the top of the list. Only when we feel strong and well can we support and inspire others. That's why it's crucial to know when we need rest, to understand which times of day we are most productive, and to have a circle of people we can turn to when times are tough. Only after we learn to take care of ourselves and our own needs can we truly have the capacity to lead and support others.

Shooting video for Remote Bob
Shooting video for Remote Bob

Mastering Leadership

If you are juggling between being a leader and an entrepreneur in a small company at the same time, some days being successful in both roles can feel like a mission impossible.

Planning strategy for the company, setting goals for each person, personally tracking finances, conducting sales meetings, talking to journalists, and always being there for your team is truly challenging.

Some months, you might feel like you are expecting too much or too little from your people, being too accommodating or not accommodating enough, or that your company is not progressing fast enough. That's okay.

Remember that you are giving your best and that every month you become more experienced and wiser.

I hope this article has at least brightened your day a little, encouraged you, comforted you, or provided you with some useful information.

If you need help with delegating tasks or finding fabulous virtual assistants (without a recruitment fee), feel free to contact us at

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