Having strong leadership skills is an essential ingredient to any successful organisation. Entrepreneurs who are newly starting out often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities such as that of finance, marketing and business development.
When a steady flow of cash is streaming into the business, its time to start thinking about delegating responsibilities to those who are better than you at running certain aspects of the business. If for example, you're running a creative design agency, chances are your accounting skills might not be the best and you probably don't like doing it. However, like all departments, it is an important element within any organisation so this is when its time to call in the experts.
As your business grows in terms of manpower, you will need to develop and nurture competent leadership skills in order to manage a workforce. Here are 7 traits you should adopt to become a better leader.
1. Work with them and not over them
Don't be a 'boss', instead, position yourself as another member of the team. A good leader in any field of life, be it business or political, is someone who has their ears close to the ground and can relate to those they are leading. In a business context, this is to work with your team and occasionally doing the work they do and getting 'hands on'. This will breed a positive culture within the workforce and will also rejuvenate and motivate them.
2. Be humble. Stay humble.
Nobody wants to work with or enjoys working with an arrogant and stuck up boss. So how can you show genuine humbleness to your workforce? It's by owning up to your mistakes, sharing your challenges, including how you overcame them.
3. Accept that nobody is perfect
For an entrepreneur, their business is their baby. They have created it from scratch and built it up to what it is. Now that you are giving the responsibility of running certain parts of your business to others, it is very easy to be a strict boss and deal with employees harshly when mistakes are made. You must accept that nobody is perfect and people will make mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow, not only for the person who made the mistake but for the rest of the organisation.
4. Be inspiring and motivational
A motivated workforce is one that understands your passion and mission. You must share your goals with your workforce so they know what they are working towards. You must make them a part of your vision. If you tell them to do something because 'you said so' or because 'I'm the boss' you won't really inspire them and they might even resent you.
5. Keep learning and growing
Don't let your knowledge become stale. Constantly make time to learn about your industry, your team and new ideas and innovations in your field. If you always stick to old methods, you will suppress change. Change is always a good thing. Employees appreciate a leader who keeps up with the times.
6. Assess your personal reputation
How you as a leader is perceived by your employees, customers and the community should reflect your goals. For example, you can't be running a babysitting agency but be seen as an obnoxious person. Your personality and your business need to match so be on the lookout for how you're seen by people.
7. Don't waste peoples' time
Let your employees work the way they will be most productive - be it at home, alone or as a team. 3 hour long meetings are a thing of a past. It's important to find efficient ways of communicating to minimise time wasted. Consider a weekly huddle, informal instant messaging and other ad-hoc ways of communicating. Your employees will appreciate this and the time saved will be used to reach your goals faster.