As the owner or boss of a business, it’s important to have good leadership skills. Here are some tips to help you be the best leader you can be.
“I’m not a leader,” was the cry of one woman recently to defend her inability to change a family member who is a pain in the butt in the family business. The same scary admission is often made by people who have gone into business, however, this is a potential problem that a business owner has to address. Because at the end of the day no matter what kind of business you’re in, a leader has to stand up and address problems – even if it’s a precarious one like having to caution or worse still dismiss a member of the family who’s not pulling their weight.
So, the question is, can someone teach themselves to be a leader?
Yes – that’s not to say that you can become Winston Churchill, but you can learn to lead.
The leadership talent comes to the fore when a business hires its first employee. And with that challenge it becomes patently clear that most of us are not born with the skills to be a boss, in the workplace sense.
New employers quickly realise that they have to be a trainer, explainer, insurer, safe-keeper, a listener, an adviser and a whole lot more. If they don’t, they lose staff, end up in court, get sued and even wind up out of business! And if it’s a family member who is failing to take up the challenge and rein in another family member who’s playing up, then you could have a massive family dispute on your hands as well.
There are skills to be learnt to be a good employer and by picking up on these skills it enhances your leadership qualities.
Knowledge and thinking about both the big and small pictures are critical to successful leadership.
There are two really important goals for someone to kick when trying to become a leader in business — creating systems and getting help.
Michael Gerber, in his best-selling book E-Myth Revisited, talks about the importance of putting systems in place so that when you put new people on, they can instantly be shown what’s expected. Things like how to answer the phone, how to take messages, how to talk to customers, how to record things and handle complaints all should be documented.
It not only breeds confidence with new employees it means if you have given them a manual of how things are done, then if mistakes are made, the leader can direct the employee to the manual. And if you run a family business, you can insist that each and every family member must follow the systems in the same way that other employees do.
This makes leadership in the workplace easier.
Don’t underestimate the value of getting some leadership coaching. You could go to classes or simply read a book or two, but like any skill there are techniques that can really build up your capacity to lead. The army and navy have been creating leaders, even out of absolute drop-kicks, for centuries.
Just in case you are not convinced about the pay off of building up your leadership skills just consider the negative for a moment.
If you don’t train and lead your staff to where you want them to be you can end up losing customers, losing good staff and working inefficiently.
How can I be the best leader?
To be the best leader you can, do a SWOT analysis on yourself. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? This analysis will help you work out what kind of leader you should become.
And if you don’t have employees, don’t think leadership is not important. You could lead your partner, your suppliers/contractors and even your customers. Many smart business operators take on an educator role for their customers and it becomes a means to market new ideas and business to their existing clients.
Lead staff more effectively
Another part of leadership is to empower your staff.
By giving staff more responsibility, it frees up the leader or boss to concentrate on the areas where he or she has strength. It might mean a business weakness area can be fixed to strengthen the overall business.
Often by getting a staff member to own a business problem, it not only generates better solutions from that staff member, but it also up-skills the employee as well.
This is the big dividend from reading about leadership strategies that work. It leads to a leadership plan which when introduced day after day, knocks out little problems that in total could be holding back the business.
The double dividend is that you, as a person, grow and become a powerful influence for positive change — not just for yourself but also for the others you lead.
Leadership is a skill we all should be pursuing, not only for business but also for life.