The 6 most essential leadership skills every business owner should have

by April Cummins

Running a successful business isn’t easy

Running a successful business isn’t easy. You need to be creative, have the courage to take risks, and be decisive, amongst many other things. Most importantly, you need to be a leader. Developing strong leadership skills is an ongoing process. It doesn’t just happen overnight. If you aren’t a natural-born leader, don’t worry, you can learn these skills. Whether starting as an entrepreneur or running a large company of over 500 employees, strong leadership capabilities are at the forefront of every successful business owner. In this blog, I will review the six most essential leadership skills every business owner should have.

1. Communicate powerfully and be compelling 

The ability to lead others correlates with how well you communicate with your employees. Are you a compelling speaker? Can you motivate others with your words? Do you have the ability to articulate your ideas in an organized way? Strong leaders are very influential in these categories. Furthermore, they can flow freely through conversation in both negative and positive trains of thought. 

Developing strong communication skills is an ongoing process and can continually be improved. However you are communicating, strong leaders must be able to explain anything and everything effectively. From large-scale projects to small-picture tasks, leaders must always prepare to adapt. A business owner must speak effortlessly, whether during a presentation in front of hundreds of people, a small board meeting, or a written memo to employees. With skills such as those, you will have the ability to lead your followers through anything.

2. Solve problems and analyze issues

Problem-solving skills are critical for anyone in a leadership/ownership position. There will be many times throughout your career when you will need to solve problems, whether big or small- and provide solutions. You must have critical thinking skills and evaluate complex issues. Without a leader possessing these skills, a business can fall off the tracks fast. 

For example, if your business pivots to a new direction or you begin to sell new products, issues will arise that you will need to address. The stronger your problem-solving skills are, the less scary these situations will be. As your business grows, these skills will prove to be an asset. As a result, you will feel more prepared and ready for the unexpected. 

3. Inspire and motivate others

Every business owner or leader should have the unique ability to inspire others. Employees who feel encouraged by their leaders will work harder and be more committed to your business. The goal is to create a work environment that inspires the highest level of performance. Commonly, companies that succeed always have one thing in common; their employees love where they work and appreciate their boss. You want your employees to feel like they are working towards a common goal and that what they do matters. Creating a team-like atmosphere in your workplace is vital in leadership and will help your business succeed.

4. Build positive relationships

To lead others, every successful business owner must be skilled at building positive relationships. They must network with people inside and outside of work. Business owners should be a staple in their community and get to know their clients, strategic partners, etc. Most importantly, influential leaders build relationships with their employees. A happy, healthy work environment is a productive one. Look for small ways to engage with individuals on a personal level. Showing interest in your employees’ lives, opinions, and suggestions will go a long way in developing successful relationships. During conversations, practise active listening. Your employees and colleagues will feel more valued and understood due to this. For example, one day, have coffee with a lower-level employee and be visible around the office. These minor suggestions will make your workplace less stressful and more pleasant.

5. Display integrity and honesty

The strongest leaders are transparent and hold high standards of value and integrity. By being honest and open, you build trust with those around you. Employees who respect you and believe the words you say will be more willing to go the extra mile when it is needed. Once you have broken trust, it is nearly impossible to reclaim. Hold yourself to the highest standard, and your employees will fall suit. People want to follow leaders who demonstrate high ethical standards. To summarize, employees want to be proud of their business owners and know that if something goes wrong, they have their backs. 

6. Set goals and drive for results

A leader’s primary responsibility is setting goals and ensuring things get done. For business owners, this may include measuring economic growth and supervising projects until they are complete. A leader cannot have success unless goals are met on time. Ultimately that is the measurement of whether you are thriving or merely surviving.

When driving for results, set goals and establish a time frame for them to be completed. Be clear and concise about your expectations. If you have not provided an accurate description of the task you want to be done, or your employees do not see a clear picture of the end goal, you have not done your job. If strategies need to be adjusted, always provide room for revision. No matter what happens, make sure the goal remains the same. Remind your employees of what needs to be accomplished if they fall off track. 

Lastly, setting benchmarks is also an excellent way to identify what you expect out of your employees. Every day they should be leaving the workspace asking themselves, “Did I do enough today to reach my goals?” Set a standard and stick to it.

The bottom line

Successful business owners possess many skills that allow them to maintain a high level of performance. At the forefront of these skills is strong leadership abilities. Without the capacity to lead others, you will fall short of your goals, and your business will suffer. Lastly, if you feel you are lacking in some of these areas or are having trouble being an effective leader, it may be time to hire some outside help. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

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