Running a successful business requires effective leadership. You are responsible for leading the growth and success of your business each and every day. However, achieving business success can be difficult without strong and supportive leadership of the people who work for you. Whether you are a natural leader or need to learn to be a leader, these skills are vital to your business.
Learn effective leadership skills for your small business
So what are some of the key leadership skills you need to be an effective small business leader?
Effective Leadership Tips
- Share the Vision and Goals for Your Company
All good leaders must have a clear vision and goals. More importantly, the leader must communicate them to employees. Employees should know what the goals of the company are, and the role they play in achieving them. Everyone should always know what you expect of them, what your company values are, and how you expect business to be conducted day to day.
Ineffective communication is one of the mistakes made by many leaders. Communicate clearly and consistently when assigning tasks, handle conflict in a positive and productive way, and take responsibility for any miscommunication. Provide meaningful, constructive feedback to let employees know what is required to be successful and your expectations for their performance. Remember that communication is a two-way street. Effective leaders are also good listeners. They welcome feedback and ideas from their employees. This gives employees a sense of being valued by the company and builds trust, motivation, teamwork and loyalty.
As a small business owner, it’s tempting to think you must do it all. The reality is that you cannot and should not do it all. You must be willing to give up some control and responsibilities or your company will be challenged to grow to its full potential. Hopefully you have hired people with the skills or can learn new skills to take on additional responsibility and do the things they do best. This not only frees up your time to focus on other aspects of the business, but it can also build the self-esteem, motivation and productivity of your employees.
Recognition of a job well done goes a long way to motivate employees and help them to feel valued. While a gift or other tangible form of recognition can be appropriate, sometimes a simple “Thank you” or a short note expressing your appreciation is all it takes to motivate employees and help them to feel connected to the success of the business. Celebrating these accomplishments encourages employees to continue improving.
- Lead by Example
Good leaders always lead by example. Your employees observe your behaviors, actions and how you communicate every day. They notice how you handle conflict, issues, and your emotions. Like it or not, as the leader, you are a role model for the employees in your company. You cannot have one set of standards for them, but actively display the opposite standards in how you conduct yourself. You must hold yourself accountable at the same time as holding your employees accountable. This helps to build trust and a good rapport with your employees.
- Build and Maintain Leadership Trust
Retired General Colin Powell once said that the most important factor to effective leadership is trust. You earn the trust of your employees over a period of time, but it can be destroyed in an instant. Once destroyed, it can be extremely difficult to rebuild. As a leader, you must make a conscious effort each day to create and maintain an environment of trust. This means walking the talk, keeping your promises and holding yourself accountable. You must be consistent, honest, and passionate about your work. You see your employees as individuals who you appreciate, support and develop. These are just a few examples of how to build trust in your business.
Leadership is a journey which begins with acknowledging areas where you can be more effective. Start to practice these skills and behaviors, and over time you will see a positive change in your employees and your business operations.