Leadership, Leadership, Leadership

by Lauren Schneidewind on January 20, 2016

One of the top reasons small businesses fail is a lack of effective leadership. Although management may be oblivious to their own shortcomings, employees notice. Even worse, poor decisions made at the top of the hierarchy will have a trickle down effect seen throughout the entire operation.

Most often the culprit behind poor leadership is inexperience, ignorance, or arrogance. Thankfully, all three can be fixed with time (and no small amount of effort). Otherwise, foolish financial, hiring, strategy, and marketing decisions will be the downfall of a promising small business.

The following are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Always Learning The cliché “knowledge is power” is true in this instance. A leader must know their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis will allow them to enhance their established skills while growing new ones through trainings, classes, informational reads, and mentors.
    Bonus: A boss capable of analyzing themselves and enacting change is more likely to effectively strengthen their employees and overall company through similar actions.

  2. Give and Take Communication should be a two-way street in any small business. Owners must clearly state desired outcomes, timelines, objectives, and goals in addition to the overarching vision for the company. Understanding these clear expectations spurs productivity.
    On the flip side, leaders must listen to their team. Once a dialogue is established, employees are more likely to ask for clarification on objectives, offer effective outside-the-box ideas, and alert leaders to potential problems.

  3. Be an Example A leader has the power to set the tone of the office. If an owner is tired and burned out, his employees are more likely to be lackluster and short-fused. However, an owner who infuses energy and pep into their work ensures a healthier, happier, and (ultimately) more productive workplace.
    The Trick: To avoid burnout, a leader needs to make sure they are watching out for themselves first.

  4. Make a Mistake and Move On Mistakes are going to happen. Some will be small. Some will be gut-wrenching. All of them will need the same reaction: analyze the situation, handle the problem, reflect on the events, apply the newfound knowledge to your brain bank, and continue on. History is filled with examples of men and women who made mistakes, learned from them, and went on to succeed in spite of the setback.
    Employees will also make mistakes. Some will be small. Some will be gut-wrenching. A majority will not end up in termination. However, depending on the severity of the situation, an employee may need a switch of responsibilities. Instead of holding the blunder over the employee’s head, a leader should take it as an opportunity to encourage growth in the individual.

  5. Keep your Eye on the Prize The leader of a company monitors which way the ship sails by keeping a clear eye focused on the company’s vision. This includes evaluating the business’ trajectory to ensure it is in line with the goals, objectives, timelines, and strategic plans. This also means visualizing where the company needs to be in three, five, and 10 years to ensure continued growth and success. Leaders weak in this area need to boost their strategic planning skills.

Incorporating these characteristics will ensure leaders, and subsequently their companies, have a higher (if not foolproof) chance at success.


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