Running a business is hard. Yes, that may sound like the most obvious and cliched statement of the decade – but if you’re a business owner, you’ll attest to the never-ending mountains of work to do as a CEO.
So, how do you manage it all? It can sometimes seem impossible to balance all of the executive roles and not waste time micromanaging operations within your company.
“Do I have to do all of this myself?”, you might ask. Fortunately, the answer is no.
SKILL 1: ABILITY TO DELEGATE
Delegation in the context of a business is when a leader assigns various tasks to those working below them. This is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader and is needed to maximise the productivity of everyone in the business but it can be difficult to do this effectively for a few reasons. Delegating work means losing immediate control of tasks which can be difficult for some people who think they should do all the jobs themselves to ensure they are done right. A good leader needs to be confident in their team and willing to trust that they will be able to do the jobs that are assigned to them.
To delegate effectively a leader needs to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team members so that everyone can be assigned appropriate tasks that suit them well. A leader must be confident when delegating tasks and willing to outline expectations and time frames that will need to be met by other team members while also ensuring that the employees are achieving what has been assigned to them. When you first start delegating tasks, you will make mistakes and that’s okay. As a leader you will need to learn from your mistakes while also being receptive to feedback from your employees, don’t take any criticism too personally, your team is there to make the business run more effectively and will try to help you along the way. By improving your delegation skills, the productivity of you and your team will increase along with your rapidly improving leadership skills.
SKILL 2: COMMUNICATION
A good leader needs to be able to effectively communicate ideas with their team. Try to be as clear as possible when instructing your team members of their responsibilities and your expectations. Communication is a two-way street. You need to be completely willing to answer any and all questions your employees have since it’s always better to explain something twice than to have an unproductive employee who didn’t understand your instructions. One of the worst things a leader can do is left things unsaid. You should never assume that your team members know something if it hasn’t been explicitly stated by you or someone else. Assumptions will cause a disconnect between team members which will ultimately lead to lower productivity. A leader needs to be able to communicate with a wide variety of people who have different roles, interests, personalities and more if they want their team to work as efficiently as possible. Overall communication skills are paramount to being a successful leader.
SKILL 3: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
The ability to form relationships with those that you work with is a vital leadership skill that makes the company stronger. Forming relationships with customers will make them more likely to engage with the business further and recommend it to people they know. A customer who knows someone in the business is also more likely to provide truthful and accurate feedback which can help the company improve their service or product, resulting in greater customer retention. As a leader you should also form relationships with other employees. A sense of trust between people will encourage open communication which has many previously discussed benefits. A relationship with your teammates will also provide you with insight into their interests and skills, allowing you to more effectively delegate tasks. These reasons highlight the value of building relationships with those you work with.
SKILL 4: PROACTIVITY
We’ve all heard the proverb ‘it’s better to be proactive than reactive’ and this rings especially true when trying to be a good leader. Being proactive means anticipating things that might happen, before they happen. By being proactive you can be prepared to react when things go wrong since you planned for it and can put your plan in motion accordingly. The opposite of proactive is reactive which is when you wait for events to unfold before you take action. If you are a reactive leader you will be caught off guard when things go wrong which can lead to a panicked response where more mistakes will inevitably be made. By being a proactive leader, your team and business will prosper.
SKILL 5: GRATITUDE
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business and they deserve your gratitude. Your teammates will notice if you are being outwardly thankful and appreciative of them which will make them feel better about working for you, leading to increased morale and mood as well as higher productivity. Gratitude is an easy skill to develop and it will make you a much more effective leader as well as improving the relationship between you and your co-workers.
SKILL 6: VULNERABILITY
Generally, vulnerability is seen as a weakness but when it comes to leadership, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a cold, stern leader will likely stir up resentment among those you work with, fracturing communication and leading to decreased workplace happiness and productivity. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable you create a sense of trust with your employees deepening the relationship you have with them and creating an environment open to communication and the sharing of new ideas. Vulnerability is a hard skill to develop as we don’t like to put ourselves in a position where we could be hurt however it is a vital skill if you want to be a good leader.
SKILL 7: EMPATHY
Another trait that is often seen as a weakness, empathy is essential if you truly want to understand how other people feel which is important if you want to be a good leader. A leader who lacks empathy will have great difficulty resolving conflict with employees which can lead to an escalation of the situation or feelings of resentment, neither of which are healthy in a work environment. By being an empathetic leader, you will be able to better understand someone's point of view, allowing for more effective conflict resolution that takes the needs of the other person into account. Empathy is also vital for building relationships with your employees which is extremely valuable as we previously discussed. Being empathetic will allow you to see things from the customer's point of view, improving your ability to deescalate tense situations which will encourage customers to come back. Empathy is another vital skill every good leader needs under their belt.
SKILL 8: PERSUASIVE SKILLS
Being persuasive is one of the most important skills for being a good leader. There will be many times in your career when those working beneath you object to a task or a course of action you are undertaking and it will be your job to persuade them otherwise.
When trying to be persuasive you need to ensure you are not being too forceful. Pressuring others will have negative impacts on your relationship with them and even though it might make someone agree with you, they are less likely to perform their best if they feel that they have been forced into doing something. A better approach is to calmly lay out your reasons for doing something a particular way which is sure to encourage a more positive response. Being persuasive will also make you a more effective salesperson, allowing you to sell more goods or services and increasing business profits. By being persuasive, you will be a much more effective leader and salesperson.
Despite your position within a company, everyone needs to work on their leadership skills. A good leader can delegate, communicate, build relationships, be proactive, express gratitude, be vulnerable, be empathetic and be persuasive. By improving these skills, you will become a more successful and effective leader which will have countless positive outcomes for your business.
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