How to improve leadership skills
As the owner or manager of a small business, you set the tone for the rest of the operation. But not everyone is born to assume the mantle of leadership, nor are dynamic leaders usually created overnight. What can you do to improve your skills? Here are eight practical suggestions.
1. Get organized. Disorganization often leads to chaos in the office. If you are running amok, the business will not be able to operate smoothly. Improving your organization can result in greater productivity from everyone else.
2. Lead by example. It might be what you do, rather than what you say, that really counts. For instance, you will have less impact if you are hardly ever around the office or you always work behind closed doors. Get out front, and show the staff what you can do. Do not hesitate to roll up your sleeves and take on some of the grunt work yourself.
3. Show your passion. How can you expect employees to be excited about coming to work if you are not? Inspire others to perform better through your own passion and enthusiasm. That does not mean you always have to be a cheerleader, but you should demonstrate that you believe in the company’s mission and objectives.
4. Don’t hesitate to delegate. You cannot do everything at your company at all times. Concentrate on what is most important to the business and assign other tasks and responsibilities. Let employees take ownership of certain projects for which they are well suited, and let them run with it.
5. Communicate with the staff. To paraphrase a saying among real estate agents, three key aspects of being a good leader are communication, communication and communication. Of course, every manager knows the importance of communicating, but many forget to do it or only pay it lip service.
6. Listen to employees … carefully. Part of being a good communicator is being a good listener. A leader should not do all the talking. Keeping people motivated means listening to them, asking them questions and understanding the issues. The more you listen, the easier it will be to respond in an effective manner.
7. Be brave. Sometimes, you have to be the bearer of “bad news.” Do not shirk your responsibilities. Tackle problems head-on, and do your best to resolve them. You might have to weather some hard looks for a short time, but in the end the staff will respect you more for it. Don’t try to hide from confrontations; eventually, they will find you anyway.
8. Know your employees. This is more than just learning their names. What makes them tick? What are their lives like outside work? Keep track of events like birthdays, marriages, births and graduations, and mention them to workers. This will help you strengthen the ties with the staff.
Remember that a successful business starts at the top and trickles down to the bottom line. Make a conscious effort to provide the leadership that is needed in the workplace.