Leadership doesn't always come naturally to everyone. But as a small business owner or manager, it's a necessary skill, one you can improve along the way as you learn to become a better leader.
When you think of leadership, you might automatically conjure the image of management at a "corporate"-style enterprise. Small business leadership looks much different, though.
In a small business, you'll face a wider range of challenges and situations, from minor day-to-day setbacks to broader issues. And it all falls on your shoulders, meaning you need to be ready for just about anything.
What makes a great leader for a small business, though? It takes more than hard work and intelligence. This article will discuss the interpersonal traits of effective leadership - from emotional intelligence and motivating employees to effective problem-solving and strategic decision-making skills - and walk you through everything you need to know about your personal development as a leader.
The Importance of Good Leadership in Small Businesses
There's no beating around the bush: Without strong leadership, your business will fail. In a small business, you're more than just a figurehead. You're keeping your team moving toward a collective goal. If you don't have a successful leader guiding your workers, it could affect everything from productivity to your team culture.
And small businesses usually have a smaller number of team members. This means your employees, including leaders, all interact more closely than if you were running a large corporation. So, business leaders will directly impact your brand, the quality of work your company produces, and your work environment.
Ways That Small Business Owners Can Be Good Leaders
If you own a small business or are in a managerial role, and you're interested in improving your leadership skills, here are some habits of great leadership.
Keep a Positive Attitude
The best leaders exude a positive attitude no matter what situation they're dealing with. Your mood and demeanor will rub off on everyone you come across, including your employees. So, if you want them to stay positive as they tackle their day-to-day tasks, you need to serve as a role model for them.
If you're enthusiastic and excited about your brand and work, this will only motivate your employees to work harder and produce higher-quality work. Your positive attitude sets an example and will bring your team together over a common goal and vision.
Represent Your Company's Values
As a leader, everything you do or say should represent your company's values. This is another way to motivate your employees by demonstrating to them through your actions and words that your company's values are important to you. If you lead by example, they might follow suit and ensure their work reflects your business's core values.
These values - and how you demonstrate them in your leadership and work - play a large part in establishing a company culture. If you're the business owner, it's up to you to establish your startup's core values and exemplify them at every turn. It's the only way these values will become instilled within your company and employees.
Communicate Clearly and Effectively
It's one thing to understand your company's vision and goals, but it's another thing entirely to communicate these ideals well to your staff. Good communication skills are a key trait in successful leaders.
What type of communicator are you? You need to clearly communicate with your team members when delegating tasks so that they understand what is expected of them and why it's important to the success of your business. If communication breaks down, you'll see problems arise among your employees, from simply not being on the same page with tasks to resentment and a toxic workplace. To keep your brand moving toward success, you'll need to learn to communicate productively and constructively.
Trust and Empower Your Employees
True leaders know when to put faith in their team members and how to build up their employees. Show them that you trust them to do their jobs well and empower them with the tools and encouragement they need to succeed.
By encouraging them to grow their skills and make independent decisions, you're showing your staff that you value them. Sometimes, that's all an employee needs to feel motivated and productive in the workplace.
This means less micromanagement and control and more trust that they have the skills and aptitude to get the job done.
Focus on Helping Others
You might be surprised to learn that ranking high on a list of qualities of a good leader is helpfulness. But helping others comes with the territory.
If you're in a leadership position, it's your job to create a safe space for your employees to learn and grow so that they can produce quality work and take pride in their accomplishments. This means often focusing more on others than yourself. As a leader, encouraging communication and allowing employees to ask questions in a safe environment is at the core of your position.
Provide them with the resources and education they need to succeed in their roles. It's also important to be mindful of what's going on in their lives and show flexibility during times of sickness, stress, and personal troubles.
Show Understanding and Accountability
Yes, you're running a business, and your employees should be held accountable for the work they have (or haven't) achieved. This is especially true if employees consistently demonstrate mistakes or drop the ball.
But life happens, and even your best workers aren't perfect. Sometimes, an employee's personal crisis - whether it's a death in the family, sickness, or divorce - can get in the way of productivity. Even those who do their best to separate the personal from the professional could have something that pops up and hinders their workflow.
While it's inappropriate to serve as their de facto therapist, you still want them to know that you're there for them and can offer a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to workload expectations. Demonstrating empathy, compassion, and understanding for your direct reports during times of need will go a long way in creating a workspace where your employees feel valued and supported.
Create a Vision for Your Company and Team
True leaders take charge by constructing a clear vision for not just the brand as a whole but also their team. By creating a clear picture of your business goals, workload anticipation, and role description for each employee, you're getting everyone on the same page.
This vision includes your company's values and mission statement and gets your entire team moving in the same direction. It's important, though, to anticipate future business needs and recognize when your brand evolves.
Maintain Your Company's Finances With the Help of Skynova
While you need a certain interpersonal skill set to succeed as a strong leader, you also need to understand your company's finances and day-to-day operations to truly shine in a managerial position.
Skynova's accounting software is a useful resource for any effective leader, as it allows you to track and manage all income, expenses, and business dealings. Use our small business platform to create a centralized hub for all of your bookkeeping and operating needs.
Our customizable templates and easy-to-use software products help you generate a range of integral business documents, including invoices, purchases, receipts, packing slips, deposit slips, order confirmations, quotes, sales orders, and estimates.
Our platform can streamline and simplify your business operations so that you have more time for your leadership role and motivating, developing, and guiding your team to success.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a professional to ensure you're meeting workplace standards.