While there are plenty of different ways to lead a business, there are some essential pillars of effective leadership skills that can help define your style. Below are 12 leadership skills business leaders may want to consider.
Interpersonal Effective Leadership Skills
Effective leadership skills often focus on teams and team building for a reason: Business owners rely on their team and stakeholders to help them achieve success. Without buy in from your team, meeting your goals can be significantly harder.
If you commit to an event or a new product launch, for example, sticking with those commitments can go a long way toward building trust with a variety of different stakeholders.
1. Respect your employees.
Effective leadership often requires respect. You often have to give respect to your team in order to earn it back from them.
And if you don't have the respect of your team, then you may not be able to get the best possible work from them when it comes to supporting your business.
2. Be generous with your resources.
Generosity can also be a great trait for a leader. There are many different ways to express this trait to your team and other stakeholders. This can mean supporting causes or charity organizations. It can mean being generous in terms of team compensation, or it can even mean being generous with your time or expertise.
Though many businesses may not have the means to provide tons of money to team members and causes, if you can show a willingness to help and support people in any way you can, people are likely to take notice.
3. Establish trust as an important value for your team and your customers.
Trust can be important when it comes to managing a team, as well as communicating with your customers, clients, or prospects.
Aside from just being honest with your team and anyone else you communicate with throughout the course of running your business, this also means holding up your end of the deals you make. If you commit to an event or a new product launch, for example, sticking with those commitments can go a long way toward building trust with a variety of different stakeholders. As far as effective leadership skills go, it is one that you may not want to overlook.
Even the best leaders make mistakes from time to time. But those who pass the blame to others or ignore their own shortcomings aren't likely to gain much respect and hard work from team members.
4. Have some fun!
You might not think that fun is an essential leadership trait, but your team members are likely to spend a great deal of time working for your business. And if If that doesn't include any fun, then they probably won't stick around or work as hard as they might otherwise.
However, if you're able to create an environment that includes just the right amount of fun for your team, you can potentially keep everyone happy and productive as they work toward achieving your business's goals.
5. Practice empathy with your team members.
Your team members are also likely to make mistakes or have other issues from time to time. Practicing empathy can help you create a more understanding environment where you treat each of your team members as individuals. If you expect them to be perfect and leave them no room for learning or growth, you may hurt your team's morale and productivity.
Interior Effective Leadership Skills
While many business owners find a good deal of their work is communicating with other people, there are also personal traits and skills that can help increase a leader's efficiency.
1. Be wholly authentic.
Being authentic means showing your team the real you instead of pretending to be something else.
If you are able to be authentic with your team, it helps convey that you're honest, trustworthy, and a real person that they can potentially even relate to on a personal level.
2. Be humble and admit your mistakes.
Even the best leaders make mistakes from time to time, but those who pass the blame to others or ignore their own shortcomings aren't likely to gain much respect and hard work from team members.
However, if you practice humility and are able to admit when you are wrong, you can help create learning opportunities for yourself and your team so that you can grow together to support your business.
3. Have a deep thirst for knowledge.
Great leaders usually know what they're talking about. You're allowed to make mistakes, of course. But having a strong base of knowledge about your business, your industry, and your team can go a long way.
Relying on employees to do absolutely everything for you can affect morale and trust. A great leader is one who has a great deal of knowledge already, but still works to learn more every day.
4. Take your responsibility as a business owner seriously.
Being responsible for the things you do over the course of running your business is one of the effective leadership skills great leaders exhibit.
What does taking responsibility look like? It can mean doing what you say you're going to do and owning up to any mistakes. And even when you delegate certain areas or tasks, great leadership means being able to take responsibility for your part in the decision-making process. If you've shown responsibility to your team members and other stakeholders, they may be more likely to trust your word and believe that you can bounce back from any mistakes or hardships.
5. Exude passion for your business.
Are you at least somewhat passionate about your business? Showing some enthusiasm at the office can be contagious. If your employees see that you really care about the business and about them, they could be even more likely to work hard to support your mission.
6. Allow your creativity to shine through.
Even if your business isn't outwardly creative in nature, great leaders often show their creativity. The problems or issues that you come across while running a business often require unique solutions. Effective leadership skills include being able to problem solve in an innovative way.
7. Have the courage to take risks in your business.
Running a business takes a lot of courage. If you're not willing to take any risks, then your business may not make a whole lot of progress. Evaluating different opportunities and deciding on the risks that you think are worth it are part of being an effective leader.
A version of this article was originally published on December 30, 2016.
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