Improve Leadership Skills

10 Tips to Improve Your Leadership Skills

As a business owner, your leadership skills are critical to the success of your company. From hiring and managing employees to building your company’s reputation and revenue stream. While many small business owners do not have formal leadership training, there are some basic tips and tricks you can use to hone your skills and be an effective leader.

#1 – Keep learning

The best way to improve your leadership skills as a business owner is by continuing to learn and grow. If you don’t continuously look for new information, you will never be able to develop the knowledge needed for success. It’s easy to get comfortable and feel like you have the experience you need. But in business, change is the only constant. So read, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, attend workshops, talk and share information with other business owners or work with mentors. In other words, keep learning.

#2 – Set goals

Developing your leadership skills is just like any other skill. It requires you to put in the time and hard work, and it takes time to become proficient. Make it a priority by including leadership goals with your other business and personal development goals. Then take incremental steps towards achieving those goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go the way you thought they would immediately. Give it time.

#3 – Delegate

Delegating for some owners can be tough, but you must delegate tasks. After all, you can’t do everything yourself. By delegating tasks to others, you’ll free up your time and energy so that you can work on what matters–the big picture stuff. And, give your employees a chance to grow and develop new skills. A bonus of course is that it says to your staff – I trust you can do it as well (or maybe better) than I can.

RELATED ARTICLE:  7 Keys to Effective Delegation

#4 – Communicate

Communication is key to any successful business. Whether you’re negotiating with suppliers, sharing information with staff, or explaining your products or services to customers, communication is key. Here are a few tips to improve leadership in the area of communication:

  • Be clear about what you want. It’s important that everyone understands the goals and how you can get there. Make sure there is room for different opinions on how to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Engage your employees in discussions about company goals and objectives.
  • Encourage participation by asking employees for input before making decisions affecting them directly.
  • Make requests instead of giving orders when working with others on tasks involving more than one person so they feel like their opinion matters too.

#5 – Be decisive

It can be easy to put off decision-making, especially when you’re starting in business. But being indecisive can get in the way of your success; it’s important to learn how to make decisions quickly and move on. One way you can improve your decision-making is by learning what will work best for your business and then making decisions that go with that plan.

#6 – Be compassionate

It’s easy to forget how hard the daily grind can be when you’re at the top of your game. But being compassionate is an important component of leadership. It’s not always about getting things done. It’s about understanding the pressures and stresses on those who work for you and empathizing with what they might be going through.

#7 – Be open to feedback

While you need to provide feedback to others, a leader must be open to receiving feedback too. The only way you can improve is if you know what your weaknesses are and are willing to take steps to fix them. You might not like hearing criticism, but it will make you better in the long run. So be open to feedback and be willing to change where appropriate.

#8 – Admit when you’re wrong

Owning up to your mistakes is the best way to improve and stay focused on the future. You might be caught off guard when you make an error, but you mustn’t let it get you down or keep you from moving forward. When something goes wrong, ask yourself what you could have done differently in the first place so that it doesn’t happen again. In other words, acknowledge and learn from your mistakes.

#9 – Encourage others

As a business owner, it is your job to motivate others within your company. Here are a few ideas to help you do this:

  • Be the best at what you do – so others will want to follow you.
  • Communicate clearly and often with your staff.
  • Provide feedback. Offer praise when it is due and never take credit where credit is not due.
  • Be respectful of others’ opinions and ideas, even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Allow your team to make mistakes. They will learn from their errors, develop new skills and not fear making decisions.
  • Create clear expectations and goals so that everyone knows what they’re working towards.

#10 – Lead by example

Lead by example and set a positive tone for your employees. Make it clear what is expected of them and provide the tools they need to get the job done. When you’re successful, show gratitude and encourage others. And when you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize sincerely, and take responsibility for your actions.

Ready to put your business on a better path?

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.

delegation

7 Keys to Effective Delegation

As an entrepreneur, delegation is an essential management and leadership skill. It saves you time, helps you avoid burnout, and allows you to work on more critical tasks. But often overlooked are the benefits it provides to others in your company. Effective delegation helps you develop, empower and motivate your team – a key to retention and employee satisfaction.

When you entrust others to take on important tasks or projects, you send a message that says, “I believe you can do this.” It gives employees a chance to learn new skills and builds their confidence. It also opens the door for them to take on additional responsibilities and contribute more to the success of the business. When used properly, delegation is a great team-building tool.

How to Delegate Better

Engage People. If you pay people and tell them what to do, will things get done the way you want? Most of us realize it’s not that simple. Getting work done through others requires engagement and persuasion. Remember the Chinese proverb, “Tell me I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.” Effective delegation requires a two-way conversation and works best when you get people engaged.

Provide Clear Direction. Asking an employee to ‘take care of it is fine for routine tasks that they have done before. But taking on new tasks or projects requires direction and communication. Be specific and set clear expectations relating to goals, activities, and authority. A written procedure is a definite plus as it helps with the how-to and resources the individual may need to accomplish the work.

Invest Time Now. In most cases, doing it yourself is faster than teaching someone else – the first time. But investing the time upfront to teach and motivate the employee will pay off down the road. The work gets done right and produces the desired outcome without your day-to-day involvement.

Don’t Abdicate. Delegation is about giving responsibility and appropriate authority to others – not relinquishing all accountability. As a business owner, you can’t simply pass the buck and walk away. Provide guidance, get feedback, track results and hand out praise as appropriate.

Start Small. If delegating is a challenge for you, start with less-urgent or non-critical tasks and projects. You will still need to provide direction and guidance, but it is less problematic when you eliminate tight deadlines. While the employee benefits from learning something new, you will see first-hand that others CAN do it just as well – if not better!

Match Skills With People. In small businesses, employees often wear a lot of hats and may have skills outside their normal job responsibilities. Delegation allows you to tap into different talents or experiences and expand your skills through a team project. It’s also a good way to create a sense of belonging – a key to job satisfaction.

Recognize and Reward. Delegating is easy when your people WANT to take on new challenges and work. If you want them to go the extra mile or step up and take on more responsibility, develop a reputation as someone who appreciates and recognizes good work! Pay increases, bonuses, and promotions are obvious ways to incentivize people. But rewards do not always need to be wage or salary based. A personal thank you note, special luncheon, recognition at a team meeting, gift cards, or paid time off work too! Match the reward to the project or task – and always say thank you for a job well done.

Documented procedures make hiring and training people easier. But they also make delegation a lot more effective too! So don’t underestimate the value of systems when it comes to improving your delegation skills!

Related Article: How Your People and Systems Power Profit and Success

Ready to Put Your Business on a Better Path? 

Would another set of eyes, ongoing support, and accountability from an expert help you take your business in a new and better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. Schedule your free discovery call today. Book appointment.

Effective leadership

Ready to Lead Your Team?

Leadership is tested most during times of crisis or change. Are you ready to lead your team? To be the leader your team needs, start by focusing on these four areas.

Communication

Good communication skills are important at all levels of business. But it can be challenging with some or all employees working remotely.  Keeping a pulse on what’s going on is more difficult. Casual chats as you walk around and lunchroom conversations aren’t there for you. Getting informal communication or feedback requires planning and initiative.

  • Schedule brief catch-up calls with your staff. Encourage others to do the same. Nothing says I care more than a one-on-one conversation.
  • Zoom and Google Meet are great tools for bringing the team together. They can replace onsite meetings. Just don’t overdo it! Keep them brief and have an agenda.
  • Keep email communication clear and simple. They are a great way to keep your team up-to-date on what is going on.
  • If you use text, use it wisely. Would you want to receive text messages all day and night from your boss or colleagues?

Redefine Goals & Expectations

Most small businesses have undergone changes over the past year. Some changes were as simple as safety protocols. Others changed their business model, products, or operations. 

But with the knowledge you gained and trends you’ve watched, take a hard look at your overall business. Your team, operations, customer service, products, systems, and margins may need revamping to handle changes in attitudes and behaviors. It’s not about surviving – but thriving in years ahead.

Communicate your new vision for the future. Clarity from you can also reduce stress on them! Set clear goals and expectations so everyone is on the same page.

Accountability

Communication and clear goals are a good start and something your team needs from you. But make sure you give people the tools, support, and authority to do their jobs and achieve the results you all want. Build-in accountability.

By definition, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, decisions, and implementation within the scope of their job. It comes with an obligation to report, explain and take ownership of results.

The best way to build accountability within your company is through follow-up. Check on progress along the way. When you follow up on projects or tasks you reinforce their importance. It also gives you the opportunity to recognize their work, keep them motivated or help get them back on track if necessary.

Delegation

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things, but the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” If you believe the words of President Ronald Reagan, you have the ability to be a great leader. You simply need to open doors for others on your team to accomplish great things.

It starts with delegation. Sure effective delegation saves you time and allows you to focus on the right stuff. But it’s really more than that. When you effectively delegate work to others, you allow them to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities. It helps you empower others to accomplish great things for you and your company.

Related: How to Delegate Effectively

Mentoring

If you take care of your team, your team will take care of your business. Good leaders understand this so they make teamwork and developing others a priority.

We’ve all had people in our lives who we admired or learned from. They make a difference and are often unforgettable. Many of these individuals are former bosses, coaches, teachers or business colleagues. And when you ask people about them, you will often hear “I learned so much from him/her”.

You too can be that person in your company. Whether you teach them directly or open the doors to learning, you have the ability to help your team reach their full potential. Share your knowledge. Promote training and development within your company. Be the serving leader your team needs to excel at work and in life.

Related: Leadership: What Makes Some Great

How Can I Help You Better Lead Your Team?

How can personalized advice and coaching help you reach your business and professional goals? Let’s start with a conversation about what’s important to you — and what is holding you back. Book a free 30-minute call today.  Click to schedule now. 

Quick Fix or Best Solution

Is the Quick Fix The Best Solution?

I recently ran across an article, 9 Deadly Leadership Mistakes.  The author, Peter Economy, made some great points.  But one, Looking for Quick Fixes, stood out because you rarely see this associated with leadership.  But it is.

Peter went on the say “No matter how difficult the problem, there is always a quick solution”.  And with so many fires to put out or hats to wear, the quick fix is often welcome.  It allows you to move on to the next crisis, issue or opportunity.

Solving the immediate problem quickly is a good thing, especially when it impacts customers, team or money. But the quick fix is often nothing more than a band-aid.  It doesn’t address the root cause; it’s not the long-term solution.  The problem will return again and again.

Here’s an example to demonstrate this point.  Your technician performed a service.  The customer was unhappy and called to complain.  You apologize and send someone out to re-do the work.  Problem solved. The customer is now satisfied and you move on.  But what have you done to fix the problem moving forward?

Are You Fixing or Band-Aiding Problems?

While fixing a problem will take more time, it’s worth it in the long-run.  Just think about the impact these problems have on costs, profit, customer satisfaction, team satisfaction – and you personally.  Do you really want to spend your days putting out fires?

Going from band-aid to fix is not difficult.  You still want to solve most problems quickly – especially when customers are involved.  But when you do, go a little further.  Ask more questions:  How do we make sure this doesn’t happen again?  Is this a system or people issue – or maybe a combination of both?

Get others involved as necessary and dig a little deeper when you encounter problems.  Make the commitment to really improve your business.  Get rid of the band-aids and fix the problems for the long-term. Think systems and procedures. Need some help in this area? Check out my article, How to Create Business Systems

Related: How to Turn a Quick Fix Into Permanent Solution

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

leadership

Leadership: What Makes Some Great?

As a business owner, you wear a lot of hats. But your leadership role is probably one of the most important for your company. But what makes for a good leader?

There are thousands of books on the topic, but one of my favorites is ‘The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do’, by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Worth the read!

According to Blanchard and Miller, good leaders possess and continue to develop leadership skills. But great leaders consistently look for ways to SERVE their teams and organizations. In other words, great leaders are serving, not self-serving.

5 Ways Leaders Serve

S = See the Future
A compelling vision tells everyone who you are, where you are going and what core values drive the behavior of those in your company. Do your people know where you are headed and why?

E = Engage and Develop Others
While it starts with choosing the right people, you can accomplish great things when you allow them to fully participate. Developing others involves creating an expectation for learning and personal growth, providing development opportunities and mentoring your team.

R = Reinvent Continuously
How can we do things better, with fewer errors, faster or for less? Instill the desire for improvement into the people doing the day-to-day work.

V = Value Results and Relationships
This is not an either or option. Profit and financial strength is the reward for excellence in entrepreneurship. How much emphasis do you place on getting results? How much time do you invest with your team to make a difference in their lives? What do you do, on a consistent basis, to express appreciation for a job well done? Great leaders value both – and you should too.

E = Embody the Values
What core values are important to you and your company? As the leader, you must establish, articulate and enforce them. Embody the values in what you do – and integrate them into what your team does.

So what are some of the ways you can integrate the SERVE method into your small business – and be the leader you were meant to be?

More Ways to Grow Your Business

For new business improvement articles, exclusive tools and insights on entrepreneurship, click here to subscribe to my monthly eNewsletter. When you do, I’ll also send you my free eBook, How to Build Profit Through Leverage.

Improve Leadership Skills

Are You a Serving or Self-Serving Leader?

serving leaderWhat makes for a good leader?  As a business owner, we wear a lot of hats.  But your role as leader is probably the most important one for your company.  After all, a team that works together will always accomplish more than a group of individuals working alone.  And YOU hold the key for creating that team.

There are thousands of books on leadership, but one of my favorites is ‘The Secret:  What Great Leaders Know and Do’, by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller.  It reinforces one simple reality — great leaders consistently look for ways to SERVE their teams and organizations.  In other words, great leaders are serving, not self-serving.

According to Blanchard and Miller, here are the 5 fundamental ways that leaders SERVE?

S = See the Future

A compelling vision tells everyone who you are, where you are going and what values drive your behavior.

E = Engage and Develop Others

While it starts with choosing the right people, you can accomplish great things when you allow them to fully participate.  Developing others involves creating an expectation for learning and personal growth, providing development opportunities and mentoring your team.

R = Reinvent Continuously

How can we do things better, with fewer errors, faster or for less?  Instill the desire for improvement into the people doing the day-to-day work.

V = Value Results and Relationships

This is not an either or option.  Profit and financial strength is the reward for excellence in entrepreneurship.   How much emphasis do you place on getting results?  How much time do you invest with your team to make a difference in their lives?  What do you do, on a consistent basis, to express appreciation for a job well done?   Great leaders value both – and you should too.

E = Embody the Values

What core values are important to you and your company?  As the leader, you must establish, articulate and enforce them.   Embody the values in what you do – and integrate them into what your team does.

So what are some of the ways you can integrate the SERVE method into your small business – and be the leader you were meant to be?

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com