There is less a month left in 2012 and it’s time to look back on what tactics worked for your small business, what didn’t and look forward to what habits will take your business to the next level. As an entrepreneur, we know you are a natural leader but there might be some tricks that can improve your leadership skills.
We know you’ve already taken a big risk by starting your own business, but don’t let that be the only risk you take. Many small business owners are over-protective of their company to the point that they are afraid to try anything new. No one likes to fail but failure is one of the best ways to learn. Through learning, we become better leaders. Plus, your risk might pay off and increase the success of your business.
Risks don’t have to be big. Small risks can have a large positive impact on your business.
Stay On Informed About Emerging Tech.
You may not think of this as an important leadership habit, but knowledge of the ever changing technology sphere is key to leading your employees and your small business. It’s not just about leading your business into the future, it’s about keeping your business relevant in the present. Technology impacts every industry and those who are in the know and ready to adopt viable emerging tech first (take risks!) end up ahead of their competition.
Staying current with tech trends will increase the faith that your employees have in your leadership skills. They’ll recognize that you have a pro-active approach to leadership and business. Technology is exciting and discussing industry relevant applications and software with your staff is a great way to get them excited about their work.
A lot of entrepreneurs are great at big ideas and telling other people want to do but are disorganized themselves. Make a conscious effort in 2013 to get organized. You may be a great leader, but a messy office or un-managed schedule does not convey that message.
Take time every morning and every night to put everything in its place – including your mental stress. Don’t just focus on all of the things that you still have to do. Take a moment to reflect on what you accomplished and give yourself props for those things. The small business sphere is fast and dynamic. There’s a lot to juggle. The only way to juggle those things successfully is to take a few moments to gain clarity on which tasks are the most important.
There’s a lot of calendar and project management software out there that will help you examine the big picture and manage the fine details. Take advantage of those resources. Try a few out and find the one that works for you.
Collaborate With Your Employees.
Leadership does not mean control. A core leadership skill is the ability to empower those you lead. It cannot be said enough that micro-managing employees is the very antithesis of good leadership. We understand the inclination to monitor carefully every aspect and employee of your business. Unfortunately, that inclination is ultimately damaging. For one, it adds stress to both you and your employees. Micro-managed employees are unproductive employees. They are always afraid of doing something wrong.
Give your employees a voice. While we advocate staying informed about all industry related topics, your employees are still an incredible knowledge resource. You hired them for their skills, so make use of them! Plus, by inviting them to speak freely and brainstorm with you on certain business decisions, you may discover skills you never knew they possessed.
The more you empower your employees, the more they will trust and respect you – which means the harder they will work and the less likely they will be do look for employment elsewhere.
For more tips on empowering your employees, check out the CARE Movement.
The best way to brush up on your leadership skills is to hang out with other leaders! There are many small business leadership conferences going on around the country. It is worth the investment to attend at least one a year. You will meet entrepreneurs from every industry. You’ll be surprised the leadership tips you can learn from people in varying industries. You’ll not only learn fresh leadership ideas, but creative strategies for your business as a whole.
The overall key to being a great leader is to never fear innovation. Innovation is the entrepreneur’s best friend and with it, you will inspire those around you to be dynamic, pro-active and productive.