By Sherry B. Jordan, author of “Plan It! Do It! Love It!: Be Outrageously Successful in the Small Business Lifestyle“
Recently a client said to me, “I am a great small business owner but a lousy leader.” At that moment I realized we talk a lot about the technical components of a successful small business but do not put enough emphasis on the value of being a strong leader.
Small business owner and small business leader are not synonymous. A small business owner is that person who had an idea, resources and commitment and has created their own business. A small business leader is someone who owns their own business and has developed skills that also make them an effective leader.
A small business leader inspires others and influences them to share and support the business vision. They may be staff members, peers, or strategic partners who will offer their skills, abilities, and talents to realize the full extent and potential of a leader’s vision. In return, a true leader is willing to share their accomplishments in such a way that it promotes personal gain for everyone that contributed to their success.
Are you an owner who is ready to lead? If you are, there are ten skills you must master. These are the skills that set the small business owner and a small business leader apart. Some of them come naturally, but all can be more fully developed with time and experience. The more developed these skills, the more accomplished the leader.
10 leadership skills every small business owner must master:
1. Communication is the key to understanding. It includes not only verbal and written abilities but active listening.
2. Delegation is the art of sharing control. It sends a message of trust and promotes growth in those that have been delegated responsibilities.
3. Strategic Thinking. Strategic thinking is the ability to see the big picture in the form of a vision and to break down the achievement of that vision into management actions and tactics.
4. Effective Management of People. Managing people is more than just providing rules, policies, and procedures. Effective management includes setting clear expectations and offering guidance in a leadership style that inspires performance.
5. Feedback is critical to the successful performance of every staff member. It should be honest, consistent, and formal.
6. No matter how accomplished we are, it is difficult for any of us to see our blind spots. Coaching is a skill that points out these flaws or blind spots in such a way that the individual is inspired to make change.
7. Influencing and Motivating Others. Influence is having the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. This is a powerful skill and can have either a negative or positive impact on the individual(s) being influenced. In this case, we are referring to “positive” influence. Motivation takes a spark of desire, guides it and tends it to exceed expectations.
8. Understanding the needs and concerns of others is critical to building rapport, engagement, and loyalty. Every person should feel understood and safe at work.
9. Empowerment. Empowerment is more than mere delegation of duties. It is the ability to translate the vision and empower people to achieve it, by encouraging them to take ownership, a sense of pride, and to unleash their own skills and abilities.
10. Role Modeling. Actions are worth more than all of the above skills together. When you are trusted and respected, your behavior becomes the pattern to follow.
Yes, developing these skills will take time and energy. Is it worth it? You decide for yourself. A small business with a leader at the helm is likely to have more staff loyalty, more satisfied employees, lower turnover, and higher productivity. These leaders are also more likely to have more time to work “on” their business once they have engaged their staff through delegation. Lastly, they are likely to report more joy in their work life as business owners. People like helping people to grow and develop. There is no better way than to be an effective leader.
Small business consultant and expert Sherry B. Jordan has spent the past 15 years working to develop ways to help small business owners move from making a choice to own a small business to living a lifestyle they love while making a living. Her new book,”Plan It! Do It! Love It!: Be Outrageously Successful in the Small Business Lifestyle“, captures and shares an arsenal of strategic advice on how to plan and execute a successful business strategy. http://planitdoitloveit.com/