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What makes a great small business leader?

By Dr. Leslie Roberts | April 12, 2010

In a recent blog post, we presented a list of questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking of starting a small business. One of those questions was related to leadership in small business. What answer did you give to that question? What qualities does a strong leader of a small business possess? As providers of comprehensive small business training, we know that good leadership is just as important to an entrepreneur’s success as a good accountant or an exit strategy.

A small business leader has – and shares – a strong vision

The sign of a strong small business leader is a strong vision, both when you start a business and during its lifecycle. As a small business owner, you are the one responsible for setting the direction in which you want to grow. The life of an entrepreneur is hectic, but a clear vision gives your small business some stability. If your business has employees, it’s critical that you share your vision with them – it allows them to take pride in where they work and demonstrates that you’re a leader who knows their stuff.

Effective small business leadership is done so by example

So you have a strong vision and a great business model – but effective leadership doesn’t end there. Great small business leaders really walk the talk, demonstrating to others just how they embody their business’ values, mission and principles. As the leader in your small business, inspire others through your actions, not just your words.

Great small business leaders recognize the potential of their team

How motivated and inspired do you think your employees would be if they weren’t allowed to ask questions or present concerns? What opinion would they hold of you as a leader? Great small business leaders understand that good ideas can come from many sources. Encourage your employees to approach you with concerns or ideas, and really listen to them. Delegate tasks to your team members – this one’s hard for some entrepreneurs, but it’s vital. If you have executives or managers, invest in business training courses to help them build their skills. These actions will prove that you’re a small business leader who recognizes the value of your team.

A strong small business leader is ethical and stable

Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, which then means bearing a fair amount of stress. However, as a good small business leader, you must be able to deal with any issue without letting the stress get the better of you. Great small business leaders also possess strong ethical standards and expect their employees to meet these standards as well. Strong ethical standards and emotional stability prove to others that you are a leader who is fully in control of your business.

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