A good leader is somebody who inspires others to have confidence in themselves, according to the famous quote from Eleanor Roosevelt.
However, it is no secret that becoming a great leader is not always an easy task. Not everybody is a born leader, but the good news is that if you want to become a better leader in your chosen career or business, there are several things that you can do to develop the skills that you need to be the kind of leader that inspires others and facilitates success.
For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, the ability to successfully guide a team through all the ups and downs of helping a new company or start-up get off the ground and become successful can be one of the biggest challenges that they will face.
Leadership is one of the main areas that business owners will tend to overlook, and often this is behind why their businesses do not succeed as well as they would like. Many new business owners will find themselves focusing more heavily on areas such as developing new products and services, working through financial issues, advertising and promoting their brand, and selling products to customers.
While all of these aspects of running a business are undoubtedly important, the truth is that without strong leadership, no business is going to do as well as it could. Because of this, it is more important than ever for business owners to invest their time and energy into developing the leadership skills that they need to get better results through inspiring their team.
You will be glad to hear that even if you don’t feel like a natural-born leader right now, developing the qualities, skills, and talents that you need to become a better leader and steer your team in the right direction is always possible.
If you are determined and motivated to become a better business leader, you will certainly achieve this goal with the right strategies. Some of the main things that you can do to become a better business leader, starting today, include:
1. Consider a Degree Program in Business Leadership
Learning the basics of becoming a better leader can be done through a degree program such as this leadership masters from Saint Bonaventure University. The program is available online, which makes it an ideal choice for business owners who need to continue committing to running their business full-time and want a degree program that they can easily fit around their business and study in their spare time.
A leadership degree program will teach you all the fundamentals of becoming a better business leader and help you develop the confidence that is needed to become a leader that inspires others and gets the results that are needed for business success.
In addition, a qualification in leadership can help you in many other ways within your business and is a great way to network with other business owners and leaders, get advice from people who have been in your situation before, and expand your professional network.
2. Be Realistic About Obstacles
Many business owners are highly optimistic about their business, which of course is always the best way to be. When you are feeling optimistic and upbeat about the work that you do, your passion and dedication to success will be infectious and your team is likely to view the work that they do more optimistically, too.
However, a good leader knows that blind optimism can often be as dangerous as being negative and pessimistic. While keeping a positive attitude towards the work that you do is important, it is also crucial that it is balanced and you have a realistic view of the obstacles that you might face as a business owner.
Understanding and being realistic about any obstacles that you might face within your business will make it easier for you to ensure that you are prepared to overcome them. When you are running a new business, there are many potential obstacles that you might face including personal, financial, health-related, product or service related and legal obstacles.
A good leader knows that being prepared for anything to happen will make it easier to overcome these obstacles and be able to learn from them to get better results in the future.
3. Take Your Time to Create the Right Team
Good leaders know that they will not always be able to do everything on their own, so they understand just how important it is to get the right team of people together.
They will often spend time getting to know people a little better before hiring them for the team in order to ensure that they are the right fit and will become an asset to the company in the future.
A good leader is not quite as concerned about saving money when hiring or simply getting new people on the team for the sake of it. They will take a strategic approach to hire new team members and are concerned about the needs of the business in the long-term when hiring, making sure that they are looking for flexible and adaptable individuals who are willing to grow with the business.
Before they begin the hiring process for their company, a good leader has already put in the time and effort to determine the best type of person that they are looking for. However, they are also often open-minded and able to consider people that might not exactly fit into that box if they see the potential.
4. Have Realistic Team Expectations
Many new business owners and entrepreneurs make the mistake of having expectations for their team that are far too high. They will often be unable to see past their own passion for their own business and get frustrated when their employees do not feel the same way.
However, a good leader recognizes that there is always a difference between owning a business and working for one. Dedication and commitment from employees can only go so far as most people will put themselves and their career first, which they are entitled to do.
A good leader understands that many team members are not going to be able to demonstrate the dedication and commitment that is on a par with theirs if they are not getting anything for themselves from working for the company. Whether it is the chance to work towards a promotion or excellent employee benefits with the option to earn a degree or get tuition paid, team members might need something more to match the leader’s level of commitment to a business.
This is especially true today, with more professionals putting themselves first and many people having no misgivings about moving to a business where they feel that they will be able to gain and achieve more.
5. Improve Your Communication Skills
Good communication is one of the most important skills for any good business leader to possess. Even the best of business professionals are not going to be very happy in the workplace if the communication is breaking down.
Poor communication from higher up can lead to a range of problems with a team including dissatisfaction with the workplace, disengagement with work, confusion, and a drop in productivity. Even if you are only in charge of a small team of professionals, communication should never be overlooked.
Encouraging clear communication between everybody is key for any business leader, who never underestimates just how important it is to know where everybody is up to and what is happening with everybody in the business.
A good business leader knows that it is often better to over-communicate rather than under-communicate when it comes to their business and team.
This can be done using a range of different methods including weekly business newsletters and updates that are shared with team members to keep them updated on the latest developments, short get-togethers each morning before work to discuss where everybody is up to and the plans for the day, and keeping teams in regular contact with one another throughout the working day, especially when some or all of the team are working remotely.
Of course, every business is different and some businesses will require more communication between teams and team members than others depending on the work that is being conducted.
6. Be an Approachable Boss
A good leader knows that it is always best to make sure that employees and team members feel comfortable coming to them about any concerns, ideas, or suggestions that they might have.
However, some business owners make themselves unapproachable. Responding to employee concerns in a way that does not make them feel comfortable to approach the boss with concern again, or acting in a way that makes them less approachable such as working in a different office all the time and not being very welcoming to team members are all mistakes that are becoming more and more outdated in the world of business today.
The best leaders know that being a team player themselves is one of the most important things that they can do to improve their business. By being approachable, they will create an environment where employees feel comfortable to come to them with concerns and ideas, which ultimately puts them in a better position to make improvements to the business using the information that they have been provided with.
7. Be Humble
A boss or business owner who pretends that they never put a foot wrong is going to be quickly sussed out by their team. Humility is a key quality of a good leader and it is important to practice this in your role.
No matter how embarrassing it might be when you make a silly mistake or a decision that you make leads to an outcome for your business that nobody wanted, being humble enough to own it and learn from it will always be the best way to earn the respect of your team rather than trying to cover it up and pretend that you’ve never made a mistake in your life.
People don’t want leaders who are perfect; they will typically respond better to working under a leader who is human and not ashamed to show it. We will all make mistakes, especially in business where it is often completely inevitable. However, what we do afterward to deal with these mistakes can be the difference between an effective and an ineffective leader.
8. Don’t Make Assumptions
It can sometimes be easy to make assumptions about your team when you are running a small business or startup. Perhaps you assume that they know about your mission and goals when in reality they are not quite sure what they are working towards in the long-term since you haven’t communicated it very well to them.
Instead of making assumptions, a good leader is somebody who makes sure that they get into the habit of clarifying things and double-checking that everybody is on the same page. This can improve the environment for employees by ensuring that they are clear about what they need to know and avoid serious complications and problems in the business further down the line.
9. Believe in and Trust Your Team
If you’ve ever worked under a bad manager, you might have noticed that one of their traits is often the fact that they don’t trust anybody. They might have bad-mouthed employees for taking time off sick because they believe everyone must be faking it for a day off or felt the need to micromanage people which eventually pushed some of their best team members away.
On the other hand, a good leader is confident in their ability to hire the best people for their team and is dedicated to seeing the best in them. They believe in and trust their team to do the right thing, and as a result, this will often lead to a more harmonious workplace, team members who perform well due to the positive view, and more loyal team members.
No matter what business you are running, improving your business leadership skills can be one of the best things that you do to reach business success.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.