It’s no secret that in order to have a successful business, you need to have effective leadership skills. It doesn’t matter if you own a business, run one, or are just in charge of a team or department. Being an effective leader is the only way to ensure success. I’ve personally been owning and running businesses for years, and I’d like to share some of the leadership skills I have found important for a leading successful business.
Be Willing and Able to Adapt to Constant Change
Like life, leading a business or a business unit is all about change. It comes with the territory. As a leader, you will come across many changes every day. Unwelcome or unexpected change always seems to come at the exact wrong time. Being an authentic leader means developing the skill of adaptability to take those changes in stride and resolve their challenges.
Examples of change you might face are a restructuring of a major department, global events that change the stock market, affecting your IPO’s value for better or for worse, or a shakeup of rules and regulations in your industry. As a leader, it’s up to you to create specific plans and strategies to deal with change. Be collaborative, too. Let your employees help you deal with change, and give them the latitude they need to deal with change on their level.
Become a “People Person” Even if you Don’t Start Off as One
Having people skills may feel like it should be a given. However, many business leaders lack this critical skill set, ironically. As a leader, you are in charge of people, so you should be able to connect, observe, motivate, and communicate effectively with them. Work to develop good people skills, and you’ll soon see how much faster you reach your goals and objectives.
Being a people person means being able to create genuine connections and trust among individuals, whether it’s between you and them or between each other. This is key to creating a work environment that fosters success and benefits everyone. Develop your people skills by bringing in business psychologists to hold an “attendance mandatory” seminar for your group. Make an extra effort to reach out to people daily, specifically to make new connections, learn more about what your team does, and maintain the connections you already have. If you are introverted or have trouble honing your people skills, consider consulting a professional psychologist.
Work on Your Perception Management As Often As You Can
As a human, you have flaws, and you need to be aware of them in order to lead. Self-awareness and the ability to cast yourself in the best possible light is critical in order to successfully lead others. Gather reliable data about how others see you and how the way you behave affects other people. Do this by asking questions of your most trusted direct reports. Ask for constructive criticism about how you are viewed. Then be your own public relations liaison and change any negatives that you discover into positives. Do that, and you are much more likely to succeed in leading your team or organization to accomplish your goals for it.
Be Decisive and Fail Fast to Learn the Most About What Works
Being indecisive and unable to make judgment calls won’t get you anywhere, particularly not as a leader. You have to not only be willing to make the right decisions, but do so quickly. Not making decisions promptly using the best information you have at hand to guide you will negatively impact more than the consequences of making the wrong choice.
Gather all the data you can before you make a decision. Consult with people who understand more about the area in which the choice is being made than you do. Weigh the pros and cons, and make a choice. Follow up later to determine whether the choice you made is working out. If it is, great. If not, revisit the decision and see what you can do to correct your mistake.
Don’t Isolate Yourself in Your Office—Be Part of the Team
Part of being a successful leader means being able to be part of the team you are leading. Don’t shy away from the front lines, and get in the trenches with those working hard at the most entry level roles. Learn the functionalities of all your team members by taking regular tours around your campus. You won’t have all the answers, but it’s good to get input from fresh eyes. Others will have great ideas too, and a great leader will take those ideas and continue to foster a team of people that can grow and freely share thoughts. Your team will feel valued, and you will start to see them work harder because they feel you are their leader, not a demanding boss.
It’s Not Easy Running a Business, But You Can Lead Successfully
There are hundreds of steps along the way where even small things done right or wrong will lead to a company succeeding or failing, and it’s always hard to make the right choices. One huge way you can help ensure you have the most success possible with your business is to hone your leadership skills using the advice listed above in this article.
Understanding the basics of what makes a successful leader is the first step in the process of growing into someone who can lead a business or a small team to success.