One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming your own boss is the ability to make the big decisions. You’re in charge of the direction of your business and it will flourish or fail based on how you meet the challenges you face. For some people, this ability to lead is an innate skill they possess. However, for the vast majority of us, it’s something we have to work on and hone over time before it becomes second nature.
Learning to Lead
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.
The good news is that effective leadership skills can be learned. In fact, you’re already making leadership decisions each day. How is business any different in this regard? The only thing that’s different for most people is their mindset. For some, the weakness is a lack of confidence. For others, it might be a deficiency in their ability to communicate.
Here are several aspects you can work on to help build effective leadership skills.
Develop Your Vision
A surprising number of entrepreneurs coast by without developing a clear mission statement. Ultimately, your job as a leader is to provide clear instruction to your team that empowers them to reach tangible goals. If you haven’t taken the time to develop this vision, how can you communicate it with your team?
Harness Your Strengths
Each of us possesses unique talents and personal strengths we’ve developed over time. Realizing these strengths, and delegating tasks that expose your weaknesses won’t just make you a better leader, it will also make you a more effective member of your team.
Don’t Hide Your Passion
A leader doesn’t have to be impassionate or cold. In fact, how can you expect others to be passionate about your vision if you aren’t? Great leaders all possess a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the businesses they lead. This passion is infectious. When a team member shares a progress update, make sure to share with the team how much you appreciate their work.
Act as a Role Model
Various reports have laid clear that millennials want to work and do business with brands that reflect their own values. It’s all too easy to cut corners ethically to save a few dollars but it’s vital to set the standard and act as a positive role model for your employees. Your behaviour communicates that only the highest standards are acceptable and it’s a message your team will pick up loud and clear. Consider looking at ways your business can help in your community. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.
Set Concrete Goals
A powerful way to motivate your team (and yourself) is to set goals and work toward them. Sit down and map out where you’d like to be, in business, in life, or on a project, and formulate the steps you need to take to get there. Sharing these plans with your team shows you’re a thoughtful and capable leader that knows what they are doing.
Keep it Positive
One of the realities of leadership is that people are looking toward you to set the tone. If you constantly put forth a grumpy or unapproachable façade, members of your team can quickly sour on you as a leader. Even if things are challenging, remaining positive in the face of it will stand you in good stead.
Communication is Key
Don’t take a passive approach to communicating with your team. Instead, set aside regular recurring time for one-on-one chats where staff can air their issues and receive feedback on their job performance. Make sure to emphasise that your door is open, and dialogue is always welcome. Communication is a skill that’s hard to master but the only way to get better is with regular practice.