All business owners and managers are leaders. Here are some pointers that can help you develop healthy leadership ideals.
Learn the art of delegation
It is especially difficult for small business owners to delegate because they are used to doing everything for their business and because of that, they get it done better, faster, cheaper. While it’s important to be part of the ‘nitty-gritty’ during the start-up phase because that allows for nimble evolution in response to problems, as the business grows. Delegation becomes paramount. Leaders that try to have their fingers in every little pie are perceived by their staff as ‘overbearing micro-managers with little faith in the team’s abilities’. It might be true that only very little faith is deserved until a staffer proves themselves, but good leaders don’t let them feel that way or they risk the loyalty bond that is so essential to the staff-leader relationship.
Look for opportunities to inspire
Criticism deflates, inspiration empowers. I once learned a parenting technique that encouraged offering children three accolades for every one criticism. In this way, parents can build a child’s esteem as well as their desire to improve upon poor performance, because they embrace and adopt their parent’s expectations. Leaders that point out everything that is wrong with someone’s work-product, rather than providing a big picture blueprint for the vision, will fail to create an environment where people can be honest about their inevitable low points and garner support from the team in an effort to improve. If the whole team is generating work that does not align with the leader’s vision, then the leader has failed to properly inspire the team. When a team is properly inspired, they will go to the ends of the earth to carry out the vision, they will adopt it as their own, and ensure that it is executed flawlessly.
Attack the process, not the person. Finding problems is part of solving problems but some leaders make the mistake of approaching them from the wrong angle – if a leader finds a problem and presents it to the team seeking to ferret out who is to blame, they have a defensive team that is deflecting and likely to be dishonest about their part in causing the problem. If a leader instead finds a problem and presents it to the team as an area that needs improvement because….fill in the blank….and walks with the team through the current process to find where it can be tightened up, now they have a team that is collaborating to improve and willing to admit that their area could use support or a change in the process.
Learn from feedback
Even your most awful client or horrible experience can teach you something. Always be teachable and always be willing to learn and evolve. If it’s not working, change it, if that’s not working, change it again, don’t be stuck on any one idea just because it was your idea. It’s better to be successful and happy than to be right. Share your challenges as well as your successes with others so they know that success is not about being perfect, it’s about being teachable, curious, and determined.