If you own a small business, you are responsible for your employees and the success of your business. The responsibility can feel overwhelming at times, especially if your business has grown quickly. Whether you feel prepared to lead a team or not, there are leadership skills that all small business owners need to be successful.
You have a vision and a goal for your business. Now, you have to be able to communicate that vision to your team. You also need to be able to share your expectations for your employees so that they have a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities.
Effective communication can be established into the foundation of your business. Have plans and processes in place to promote the sharing of ideas and updates on progress. Consider starting a regular newsletter or email to share updates with your employees. You can also invest in a company-wide collaboration tool. This will provide a channel for your employees to communicate with one another and track projects.
Develop mentoring relationships with employees that you want to help grow and improve in their careers. You can pass on your knowledge within a particular set of skills and train someone to take on a more significant role in your small business. By mentoring another person, you show empathy and care for your employees. This process can also help you learn more about the people who work for you and the day-to-day operations of your business.
Have regular meetings with your mentee to check in, discuss ideas, and track their progress. Offer additional tasks or responsibilities for them to take on outside of their regular job role so they can develop their skills. Reward hard work and achievement with recognition, praise, and pay raises or bonuses.
You can have the best ideas in the world, but they will come to nothing without proper planning and strategizing. As the leader of a small business, you need a plan or overview of every piece of your company. Turn your vision into actionable steps and tasks by putting a strategy down on paper.
In addition to determining the direction of your company, the ability to create a strategy is essential in times of crisis. Most businesses experience some period of hardship, or they run into unexpected challenges. Being able to create a clear and effective strategy will be crucial in these moments.
It’s not enough to have a plan; you have to be ready to act. Decisiveness does not mean you jump into a decision without weighing the risks. Instead, you can make decisions and trust your instincts and data. You stick with the choices you make.
A leader that changes their mind or shifts the direction of a company often will create an unstable work environment. If you lack decisiveness, your employees may start to question your ability to lead the company in the right direction. Choosing the best path and sticking to it is a quality characteristic in a leader.
Are you able to share your excitement and passion with others? Nobody cares about your business more than you do, but you can pass some level of care and investment on to your employees. Motivation is a characteristic that passes by example. If you are motivated and excited about the work that needs to be done, your team will likely get on board too.
Sharing your dreams and hopes for the company is a great way to motivate employees. Get them to take part in your vision and have a stake in the success of the company. You can always offer monetary incentives to motivate employees, but organic motivation works better in the long run.
Are You Ready to Lead?
All of these characteristics are things that can be developed over time. There’s no need to worry if you’re not the best at all of these traits. You will always be evolving and growing in your role as a leader, and there is always room for improvement. Doing your best to develop these traits is a great start when it comes to leading a small business.