In this article I want to talk to you about why leadership is important, what are the traits of a good leader and how you can develop the skills you need to drive your business forward.
You may not have started out as a business leader when you started your small business, but it is probably a skill you will need to develop as you move forward. Without business leadership, your small business ship will circle aimlessly and eventually run out of power.
Effective business leadership demands a captain of the ship, not just someone who’s standing by the helm.
How is leadership defined? The Oxford English Dictionary definition of leadership is simply:
“The action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this .”
But what does this mean in a small business and why is leadership important?
Why Leadership is Important When You’re Running a Small Business
The Important of leadership in business: When it’s time for you to start concentrating on more of the strategic side of your business, you are left with little time to be visible and hands-on with your team. This is when it is important for you to realise that you cannot do it all and that you must become or hire a hands-on leader to be involved with your team.
There are 8 main reasons why your business need leadership:
1. To give direction
A business needs direction in the sense of a goal, a bigger picture. This helps everyone who is involved with the company to feel like they are striving towards a goal, and likely will make everyone involved more productive. Giving direction on a daily basis is important as well. While many employees or freelancers are self-starters and can get work done without much guidance that is not the case for everyone. A great leader can motivate their team that need a little more direction in their everyday work.
Without a hands-on leader, your business will lose focus. It is so important to have a visible leader in your business every day. When you lose this, there is no one person able to keep the focus where you need it to be across all departments.
When you own a small business, in the beginning it is easy for you to be visible and involved with your employees. However, as the business grows, this becomes extremely difficult as more and more things are piled onto your plate. Keep in mind that this does not change the fact that your employees still need that engagement with a visible leader each day.
4. To establish the “feel” of the business
The leader of a small business is also tasked with setting the “feel” of the business. Some businesses may be more laid back or relaxed, while some may have strict deadlines and procedures. The leader of the business needs to be the one who sets the standard for this, or discord can exist in the business. Image what would happen if a team consisted of both laid-back people and those who were more rigid. Without a clear direction of where to go, no one would agree on how to get things done.
We’ve all heard the saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
It is key in your small business that you have a strong hands-on leader holding your teams accountable. It’s not about trust or micro-management. This is basic, classic business sense. Just as with anything, if there isn’t someone around to check on goal status and deliverables, your team will begin to push important tasks over to the side, while they work on the lighter and more enjoyable tasks.
Without a strong leader in place, your teams will lack accountability and cost you and your business precious time and money.
6. To Understand
Having someone in a leadership role that your team feel comfortable enough to speak with about their challenges and successes can make or break your team. This type of leadership can build a strong team environment where everyone realises that the leader understands their challenges and appreciates their efforts.
The ability to inspire is a key skill for a leader. Consider politicians. The most successful and popular ones spend their campaigns talking to people, giving speeches, and inspiring communities to participate in the election process. They understand what messages resonate and what values voters live by. Politicians with leadership know how to unite groups and inspire action. They don’t always use that power for positive ends, which is why inspiration is not the only trait good leaders have.
8. Leaders Introduce Changes
Change doesn’t just happen naturally. If it did, the world wouldn’t need leaders. For change to occur, executives need to direct their teams on what actions will drive the most impact. As Steve Jobs explained, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” By leading the charge, leaders can indicate why a change has to happen and what the next steps are.
Is Leadership a Skill or Learned?
Now I’ve explained why leadership is important, are you now wondering ‘is leadership a skill’? The answer is actually yes and no!
Leadership can come naturally, but it’s not necessarily innate. Leadership can be learned through leadership programs, and business mentoring, where leadership skills are created, developed, and improved through role play and practice. Those skills can help demonstrate why leadership is important.
The importance of business leadership: Anyone who is willing to make the effort can become a good leader!
Why Are Leadership Skills Important for Your Business?
Leadership skills are important because they help you know how and when to delegate tasks, create a more productive work environment, and inspire confidence within your business, and more. Influential leaders not only help a business achieve its objectives, but they are also able to help their team grow and work toward their personal goals. Without leadership, the business will not grow as efficiently as it should.
Why Are Leadership Skills Important for Teams?
A team will always need someone at the top to help communicate the business vision, motivate the team, handle and delegate responsibilities, and have the flexibility to solve problems. Leadership skills are important to help business owners develop their teams
How to be Good Leader?
You can’t be a leader just by saying you are one. Leadership needs to be worked at. Transform yourself into the kind of leader your small business needs with these 6 keys to business leadership.
– A good leader is someone who ACTS like a leader, not just TALKS like a leader.
– A good leader is someone who shows-up when they are needed, and not just on social media.
– A good leader is someone who takes responsibility for a situation, even if it’s not their responsibility.
– A good leader takes the time to listen and shows interest.
– A good leader asks for feedback about themselves.
– A good leader thinks strategically.
And as good business leadership is critical to business success, your efforts to improve your leadership skills will be amply rewarded. By working on these six keys to business leadership, you can be the leader your small business needs.
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How to Be a Good Leader Starts With You
We can all be leaders – and it starts in our homes, in our communities and when we are interacting with people on a daily basis.
Now you know why leadership is important, I want to encourage you to not hold back in your business as you don’t feel like you are big enough, important enough or ‘online-famous’ enough.
All of that stuff is just vanity metrics and we can all make a difference in this world. We just have to decide to!
My community Freedom Business Network is full of true leaders – people who show up and support others in their life and business. If you find the online visibility thing scary you always have this safe space where you can share your wins and challenges.
I would like you to join me in making an effort everyday to be a leader, to step-up when someone needs you – online and offline. This world needs more leaders and people who care for others and I know as you are here that you ARE that person too.
As Robin Sharma would say – “Lead without a title”
Leadership in small business is a fine art, and if you are able to perfect it, the odds that your business will succeed increase drastically. If you don’t see yourself as the ideal leader for your business, consider taking on an employee or partner who has great leadership qualities or getting some expert help from a business mentor.
Or, if you want to learn more about becoming a great leader, find someone in your business community who is clearly leading their business successfully, and ask them to mentor you. Leadership qualities are a great thing to learn.
Love and success,