Small business entrepreneurs are not necessarily topnotch leaders at the outset, but they need to be capable leaders if they hope to run a successful and prosperous business for years to come.
Good leadership is a must component for business owners and it requires energy, vision, courage and determination—for starters. Anyone can say they are a leader, but leadership requires knowledge, insight and experience. The tips below on becoming a successful business leader are characteristics I have noted from some of our most successful clients:
- Plan ahead: Being proactive rather than reactive is at the heart of good leadership. You must be able to identify would-be problems before they turn into major crises. Analyze situations and then plan. Have the flexibility to adapt your plans to fit new or revised circumstances and/or opportunities.
- Vision: The most effective leaders I have seen have a solid vision that they are able to share the vision in such a compelling way that people want to follow. Vision provides direction. Vision leads to success.
- Take charge: Look at your decision options from all angles and perspectives. Tough business decisions can impact not only your bottom line, but your reputation, relationship with employees, service providers, brand and customers. You might be trying to improve the bottom line of your business or perhaps you have identified a challenge and are managing it. This is where intuition and experience are valuable assets to leaders.
- Inspire by example: I am sure you could name two or three people with leadership merits that inspire you. Look to the people you admire and learn to do what they do. Therefore, as you develop your leadership skills, perform your duties as they befit your leadership vision—and you—at all times. What inspires us most is integrity. It gives every other action true meaning.
Committing yourself to becoming a good business leader is not an easy task. Make a habit of reading books and attending workshops on leadership and communication. It requires a constant effort on your part to develop your leadership skills.
As a fan of Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I’m partial to his thoughts on leadership – “What you do has a far greater impact than what you say.”