Be a great leader in your small business

Group of people in a meeting

Whether you have one employee or a dozen, your role as a leader is to make the high-level decisions, inspire employees to be their best, and keep a cool head. However, as you’re well aware by now, small business does things a little differently. Change comes quicker to a small business; communication and recognition come easier; and there is often a greater workload divided among fewer people. This means that if you want to be a good leader in your small business, you’ll have to develop some specific characteristics and skills.

Emotional stability and maturity

Stress and frustration are dealt with constantly, so it’s important to be able to face issues effectively without flying off the handle or taking things personally. You should be able to absorb any major risks or obstacles as a leader, and keep it together during chaotic times. Show maturity by putting your own recognition secondary to that of your employees and company.

Risk management and decision-making skills

Here are some key tips to help you manage risk and make effective decisions:

  • Have a clear understanding of the decision to be made.
  • Consider the vision and values of the company.
  • Evaluate the consequences and outcomes of your decision.
  • Brainstorm as many alternatives as possible.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of each alternative.
  • Be sure the appropriate person is making the decision.
  • Understand the timeline in which the decision must be made.

Enthusiasm and passion

Passion is contagious! Infuse the company’s vision and values into the company from the beginning, even through informal ways. You don’t need to be able to see the future, but your team needs to see that you’re excited to take on challenges and put in the work necessary to see the business succeed.

Thick skin and assertiveness

Learn to take criticism well, and show respectful assertiveness in your attitudes to help you gain respect and motivate others. But don’t hog all the leadership! Being able to delegate and supervise effectively, instead of controlling and micro-managing, are very important traits. Empowering others to make decisions and handle responsibilities will allow the company to run smoothly while you’re away.

Giving employees the power to make certain decisions on their own is a great way to prove you recognize the value of your team.

High standards and the ability to recognize achievement

You must have high standards for yourself and for others and recognize the potential of your team. You should always try to do your best and encourage your team members to do the same. Be sure to recognize achievement and develop a welcoming corporate culture.

Good conflict resolution skills

When you do have to deal with conflict, do so maturely and productively. Look for a win-win situation whenever possible. You should also take time to uncover the real reasoning beneath trivial issues and recurring disagreements. Stick to your word when you make promises or plans, so your employees have a consistent and reliable leader — this seemingly simple task alone will diminish a great deal of conflict.

Understand differences in character and psychologies, and adjust your response to the employee’s personality and preferences.

Leading by example

It’s a bit cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. If you’re always late for work or unprepared in meetings, why should your employees be any better? Nobody’s perfect, but a great small business leader is one that inspires employees through action.

Sound like a superhero yet? You can definitely get close to being one! Being a great leader is one step in the journey of entrepreneurship. For more business skills, and advice on how to guide your business to success, sign up for our online training today!

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