It is not easy to be a great leader, especially when running your small business alone. To be an effective and great leader, it is crucial that you first understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, great leaders always connect with their team members by expediting communication, giving and receiving feedback, and ensuring the growth and the development of their employees along with the organization. They not only have significant impacts on the team members they manage but also on their company as a whole.
According to a study undertaken by the Center for Creative Leadership, on average, 38% to over 50% of leaders new fail to have a positive impact in the first 18 months. You can avoid becoming a part of these statistics by including good leadership strategies that help to motivate your team members to accomplish your common goals. While different leaders have different leadership styles and strategies, certain traits can always help you to manage and motivate your teams. Here are ten effective ways to be a great leader for your small business.
Have a positive attitude
One of the most important attributes of being a great leader is having a positive attitude. When you are passionate about the company and its goals, it is likely that your team will also share the same attitude. In fact, you should set an example for your team by being optimistic and positive. If you believe in the mission of the company, you can inspire your team to believe in it, as well. Moreover, when your attitude is positive, it will also make your office fun and enhance productivity.
Effective communication is vital, both in the office as well as in life. Great leaders make sure they are heard and understood. At the same time, they also know the importance of listening. Actually, communication is a two-way street and making the most of it will have your company zooming forward instead of pumping the brakes. When you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to be straightforward. Your company and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow. Displaying active communication skills and transparency can build trust among your team and improve overall morale.
Ensure personal & professional growth
An effective leader always acts as his/ her team’s cheerleader. It is important because the leader must invest in his/her team’s success and growth. In fact, leaders should set aside a budget, if only a small one, to dedicate to the growth of their employees. When you have varied options like on-demand, virtual and in-person, there’s ample opportunity to continue learning new skills or further developing existing ones. You need to empower your employees to take the time to learn and infuse that into the work they do. In addition to investing in your employees’ growth financially, you should invest emotionally. Leadership strategy is about empowering others to do their best and take on new challenges.
Set clear employee goals & expectations
Your team’s success largely depends on whether or not you set clear goals and employee expectations. When you set these objectives, remember to encourage employee questions and feedback. Good leaders will also explain the company vision and how team members’ goals fit into that equation. It is important for a leader to explain how these goals impact the organization as a whole. Every employee should be able to articulate how the work they do supports the success of the company. At the same time, revisit goals to modify or rearrange them as needed periodically. This will let your team members know that you are present and aware of what they are working on.
Collaborate, not control
An effective and great leader knows how to show others what is required, instead of simply telling them. Leaders should coach their team members toward a more collaborative, committed work environment – without coaxing them. If you are controlling people to do certain things in certain ways, you’re not going to get the level of engagement that you’re looking for. As opposed to simply ordering the team members, good leaders should encourage growth by teaching. People wouldn’t grow if leaders never taught them anything. Leaders need to be taught so they can grow new leaders to take their place.
Value others’ time to be a great leader
Find the most efficient way to communicate, share information, and complete tasks. Ideally, you should schedule short meetings that have a clear plan and purpose. Determine how your team communicates best, whether that’s using email, messaging programs, virtual meetings, or in-person meetings. Ask your employees what work style allows them to be most productive and efficient, and respect that. This might mean allowing them to have a flexible work schedule, to work alone, or to work as a team. Show your colleagues that you value their time, and you can all work toward accomplishing goals and completing projects on time or ahead of schedule.
Give & ask for feedback
Direct, honest feedback – even if it’s criticism – is the best way to guide your team in the right direction. You also need to know exactly where your business is headed so you can give them the right advice. If you’re not direct, people won’t know what you truly think about them and their work, and they will never be able to improve. If you don’t know the precise direction your company is headed, no matter how much you’ve communicated to your employees and leadership team regarding their individual performance, they will flounder when it comes to making decisions and taking action. At the same time, make a true self-assessment of your leadership, so mentors, fellow professionals, and even your own staff are invaluable in evaluating your effectiveness. Talking to friends and peers can give you a necessary perspective on your leadership style and approach.
Utilize your imagination to be a great leader
You need to be creative so you can think of new and exciting ideas that can help your company flourish. Use your imagination instead of doing things the way the company has always done, and consider whether you can make innovative changes that contribute to the organization’s advancement. Also, good leaders have the emotional intelligence to understand and accept that change is inevitable. Instead of trying to maintain a status quo just for the sake of consistency, embrace change and innovation. Be open to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, and that is something to take advantage of, not discouraged.
Understand your motivation
If you view your position just as “just a job,” it’s going to show. To be an effective leader, you need the right motivation. Leaders need to ask themselves why they want to lead. At the same time, ask yourself what motivates you. It is important to know what decreases your energy. Your leadership style plays a role in how you interact with employees and should be evaluated as well. Also, be humble. Admit your imperfections, and share the obstacles you’ve had to overcome. These steps can help build a strong team and a good company culture.
Be fair to be a great leader
Treat everyone on your team equally and follow the same rules and principles in every situation. You can demonstrate fairness in the workplace include by listening to both sides of an issue, being honest, respecting each individual’s perspective, treating people as you would want to be treated, and giving equal amounts of praise to all of your team members. This type of fairness and subjectivity can help you gain your team’s respect and trust. Considering different opinions and views can also help you develop as a leader and make better decisions.
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