The term Leadership is often bandied around in the corporate world. It is equally important in small businesses. If you own a small business, you would automatically assume the role of leader – often with fear and trepidation. So what does it take for a small business owner to be a good leader? And can a person learn how to be a good leader or is it a natural thing?
Well, there are natural leaders but most of the skills, values and qualities can also be learned so now is the best time to start.
If your business is not where you believe it should be right now, then the analysis has to start at the top. You have to take ownership and you have to lead the business to the place where you feel it should be. Your team will follow if you exhibit leadership. Some advice:
1. Be very clear about where you want the business to get to. Define your vision for the business properly. To support the bigger vision, you also have to map out your mission – i.e what will you and your business need to do to achieve your vision. This can be a detailed document. Remember – A vision makes it easier to lead because there is a destination in mind.
2. Be very clear about the culture and values that you espouse – you cant just have all this in your head, you have to communicate with the team. Where do you stand on Honesty, Communication, Learning, Clients, Integrity, Systems etc. OK – it can take some time to develop but its one piece of work that will reward you forever.
3. Communicate your vision, Mission and values to the team. i.e get the team pointed in the same direction as you are. Communication does not mean talking at the team for an hour. It means sharing your information and checking their understanding and interpretation of it and also understanding what it means specifically for each of them.
4. Having an Action plan where each person on the team know exactly how they can contribute to the success of the business. this action plan must contain specific tasks and roles for each of the team and it must also contain milestones and measurements which are commonly referred to as Key Performance Indicators.
5. Practice being a leader. This includes holding regular reviews with the team, holding them accountable for the tasks in the action plan and ensuring that they take responsibility for has or has not been done. Encourage them using the vision and mission as much as possible and help them to be the best person that they can be.
In a business, a good leader will spend a good deal of time helping his team to grow and develop. Leadership does not mean doing everything yourself.