Leadership is a “buzz term” and there are many wonderful books and articles about the subject, some I highly recommend. You may already be familiar with the term, ‘the fish rots from the head’ – it’s true – the success or failure of your business lies squarely at your feet. As the owner of the
As the owner of the business; you are the leader.
Leadership is important. And, like most things, there is a time and a place to reflect on our business basics, to remind ourselves where we are at and where we are going in regards to leadership. Here are my “get it right” tips.
1. Leaders, like Icecream, come in a rainbow of flavours, but it’s all basically the same cream, milk and sugar at the heart of it.
There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more than one type in your lifetime. Formal leaders are those we elect into positions or power like government, local councils and the presidents of our local clubs. Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe, or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Physics or Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts.
As a leader you have your own unique personality and style, regardless of where your leadership skills are being put to use. There are certain characteristics all leaders have and most practice a combination of leadership styles.
If you wonder what I mean by leadership styles let me remind you, they include concepts such as authoritative, participative, consultative, benevolent and delegative behaviour.
Once you discover what yours is, you will have a better chance of increasing your effectiveness and hone it more quickly – and as a consequence see results.
2. “It wont happen overnight but it will happen” – Leadership is a Journey.
Some people appear to be born with innate leadership qualities (that’s the young Gen Y you just hired, that you just know is going to be your next 2IC). However, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential – ouch!
While its great to have the theory down pat – reading a book will do this, the daily interactions you have with your team will provide you with the best opportunity to observe and practice your leadership skills.
You don’t become a leader in one day and just stop.
Each day brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a test and to succeed in leading your business you have to be ready to face the leadership challenge each and every day.
3. Actions Speak Louder than Words.
Leadership starts with you and your actions speak louder than anything else.
As the business owner you are constantly in the spotlight.
The success of your credibility as a the leader of the business relies on every single interaction and decision you make – with your friends, family, team, your personal time management, organisational responsibility and even how you talk to the lady in the deli across the street. (no pressure!)
4. Share the Trust… Leadership is shared.
As much as I state as the business owner you are the leader, you are not the sole leader.
Leadership is a shared responsibility among team members, especially when that team is large.
Effective leadership requires members to do their share of the work, and work towards a coherent and performing team. Learning how to work together requires a great deal of trust, and again, actions rather than words are what builds trust. When mutual respect exists, trust is fostered and confidence is built.
5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.
Why is that a dictatorship works in some countries and not others? Aside for believes, value systems and culture, the current state of a nation also affects the style used by its leaders. It is quite normal for you as a leader to use different styles of leadership depending on the situation you find yourself in.
In high moving situations, decision making needs to be quick, so as a leader you cant always have a consultative style, it can in fact slow the business down at times. Where as on bigger projects, where team buy in is essential, a more embracing leadership style is imperative.
The way you lead individuals will depend on whether they are highly motivated and have great skills or vice versa. In this case a delegatory approach is fine where as a team member with low commitment and low competence will need more of a coaching and directive leader.
Now that you are reminded of a few of the leadership basics, keep these in mind. Sure, you knew them, but like most things, it’s always good once in awhile to reflect and ask yourself “How am I going in this area of leadership in my business?”.
So how are you going?