What does it take to be a good business leader?
Whether you’re an SME that employs one person, ten people or one hundred people, you not only need to manage your business well but you need to set the precedence of being a good leader. Managing employees and leading employees are two different mind-sets, not to say you can’t possess the abilities to be both at the same time. Leadership is having a long term vision and achieving this by empowering others to achieve their goals through influencing them. It isn’t referring to your title or seniority within the company, you may be the most senior person but this doesn’t necessarily make you a leader, or a good one at that.
Do you possess these personal attributes and strengths? It could mean you’re on the way to becoming a successful business leader.
Decisiveness and delegation
Have you ever asked someone for a decision in a meeting and they’ve procrastinated for so long that it’s left you slightly impatient? When employees come to you for a decision, you need to be able to weigh out the options, make an informed decision and stick to it. Being a leader that endlessly procrastinates or changes their mind will make employees lose trust and respect for you.
Be as decisive when it comes to delegating tasks and trust your team can complete it. Not only will it give them autonomy but also free up your time to focus on higher level tasks that can’t be delegated. Identify the strengths of your team or employees and give them tasks that play on these strengths so they’ll find it more enjoyable.
Accountability and attitude
Have you ever seen someone make a mistake but not admit it? How did this make you feel about them? If you make a mistake, own up to it and let your team know why you made this mistake and what you’ll do to avoid it next time. As the business leader, your employees should look up to you, if they see that the person they work for can own up to their mistakes, they’ll be more inclined to do the same.
No matter what happens in the business, you need to be that ball of energy keeping them motivated and their energy levels up. That could mean providing snacks or a quick 15 minute team building session; remember everyone in your team is human and a little bit of motivation boost could be all it takes to bring morale up again. If your team are feeling happy, chances are they’ll give you all they can if they feel appreciated.
Inspiration and Intuition
As a business owner, this makes you an entrepreneur; you’ve come up with an idea and started the journey to make your business a success with a vision of where you want to take it. To be able to achieve your vision, you need to inspire your employees to believe in it with you and bring them on the journey to success. Make them feel invested in the accomplishments of the company whether this be through monetary value of offering them shares or acting as a role model and keeping their spirits up at all times; you need to be an inspiration for them to want to go above and beyond.
When leading a team through unfamiliar territory, everything is uncertain and presents a potential risk as you could be making decisions for the first time. You may sometimes have to go with intuition to guide the team through a scenario. With each situation, this should build upon your experiences to help you make better ones next time. Learn to trust yourself in order for your team to trust you.
Bear in mind these two principles, lead too much with little standards and you risk a rule of chaos and little discipline; manage too much and you stifle morale by being an authoritarian manager. If you consider yourself as just a manager, then it could be likely you’re missing out on opportunities to achieve new success with your team, to motivate them and work collaboratively. On the other hand, if you consider yourself as just a leader, then there could be other things you’re missing out on such as structure, systems and procedures to support the team. Ultimately, you need to be able to interchange between being a leader and manager according to the situation at hand to best support the success of your business.