Here are ten tips to improve your business leadership style. Take a second to think back over your working life, in particular the people we used to work for. We’ve all had a boss we hate, haven’t we? And normally for one of two reasons: they were either a tyrannical a-hole who wouldn’t listen to reason and was on your back constantly without let-up; or their leadership skills were so sub-parr, and they were so busy being everyone’s mate, that you were constantly unsure of what you were meant to be doing, so subsequently your workload was huge and the business ultimately suffered.
If you run your own business, you don’t want to be either of those types of leader. It’s about striking a balance between having happy, and therefore productive, employees, and making sure that it is clear to everyone what you expect of them. I’ve put together a few of my top tips that can help you strike this balance and keep a clear and positive mindset while you do it.
Be Passionate – I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that you need to be passionate in what you do, because if you have made it your business then you probably are. But it always helps to communicate that passion to those around you. Show your employees how passionate you are about what you do, and about what they do. Those around you will feed off that energy; it will breed excitement and motivation within your employees, and they will begin to share your enthusiasm. I bet you can sum up at least one boss from your past with the sentence, ‘He/she just didn’t care’, and there’s really no one less inspiring to work for than someone who just doesn’t care.
Be A Role Model – You’ll have heard the saying, ‘the best leaders lead by example’, and it’s very true. Show rather than tell your employees how you want your business to be run and what you expect from them. If you display the qualities that you would like to see in your workforce then they will likely emulate that behaviour. Want your employees to follow your lead? Start by following it yourself. Everyone respects a boss who is willing to get their hands dirty – never ask someone to do someone to do something that you wouldn’t willingly do yourself.
Set Clear Goals – And make sure everyone knows what they are! If you have a certain vision for your business then tell those you work with. Companies need direction and if you don’t have a clear goal then how can you expect to get there? Share the goals you have with your employees and set realistic expectations and timelines so that you can work together to achieve them. Explain not only how reaching those goals will benefit the company, but how it might benefit them personally as well – this can be a powerful motivator.
There’s No ‘I’ In Team – If running your own business or company is all about being, ‘in charge’ for you, then perhaps you aren’t in the right game. You need to remember that if you employ people within your company then you are all part of the same team and need to be working together. Being ‘in charge’ is not the same thing as being ‘a leader’. Your role within that team isn’t to wear a suit or always be in the right – it is to build your team up, to motivate, to inspire, and to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal.
Curb Your Negativity – Easier said than done sometimes, especially if you’re going through a tough period where everything seems to be going wrong; but a negative leader will spell disaster for your team. Like a child turning to a parent during a crisis, your employees will naturally turn to you when the chips are down and it is your job to be reassuring and to keep everyone motivated. If you start to show apathy or negativity then those around will start to feel the same way – so keep that positive attitude and you’ll find it will infect your team.
Communicate – And not just by sharing your goals and visions! Remember that communication works both ways; make sure you listen to the opinions, ideas, and even complaints of your employees. Leaders who listen and take these things on board will be rewarded with productive and motivated staff who feel valued and respected. Happy, hard-working employees are worth their weight in gold, so continuously strive to improve your communication skills.
Admit When You Are Wrong – Leaders aren’t expected to have all the answers or to be right all the time, a good leader can identify their weaknesses and work on them. Always be humble, don’t assume that your opinion is always the right opinion. It is just as important for the growth of your business, and your role as a leader, to trust the team around you as it is for them to trust in you.
Learn To Delegate – As much it is important that you work with your team, part of your leadership role will require you to delegate – not to exert your power you understand, but to avoid micromanaging and to ensure that you have the best person doing the job. After all, you hired these people because you want them on your team and you believe in their abilities – now you need to give them the space to prove it. Doing so will empower your whole workforce, as well as free up your time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Recognise And Reward – A little recognition goes a long way, and you should never assume that just because everyone is doing their jobs well that they are happy. Offering rewards and recognition is one of the best ways to make sure members of your team feel appreciated, and it can be something as simple as acknowledging it in writing or thanking someone publicly. We all want to know that we are doing a good job, it keeps people positive and motivated to continue.
Do It Your Way – Everyone’s leadership style is different, and you’ll have to find a way that works for both you and your employees. Take a look at how you lead at the moment; identify areas where everything is working well, as well as areas that need improving, and then you’ll be able to cultivate a style that keeps the positivity and productivity flowing for everyone. Including yourself.
Have a go and try these for the next month and let me know how it goes?
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