Whether specific to your business or industry, or as part of general economic turbulence, it is during difficult periods that leadership in business becomes more important than ever. Many companies that have a lot of potential fail to go the distance because of a lack of leadership, strategy and communication. An effective leader is at the helm of a business, sailing it through both calm and stormy waters, and it’s not an easy task. It doesn’t matter if you are running a company with just a handful of employees, or if you are the head of an international corporation, here are 7 ways that you can improve your business leadership skills.
1. Understand Why Leadership Is So Important
If you don’t appreciate the importance of leadership in business, you are unlikely to become the best leader you can be. Your purpose is to motivate and direct your team to ensure they know what the company is trying to achieve and how they are vital to the operation. Leaders do not simply give out orders; they communicate their objectives, values and wider mission while monitoring and supporting their team.
2. Be Aware of Your Own Skills and Weaknesses
You need to have a clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, both personally and professionally. When you understand what you bring to the organization, you can delegate tasks more effectively, i.e. to people with better-suited skills and experience than you.
3. Invest in Leadership Training
While some people may have personal qualities that make them more naturally suited to leadership, there are no born leaders, and everyone needs to invest in their own development. There are proven approaches to business leadership, such as the Six Sigma methodology, of which there are five certification levels. Consider advancing your leadership skills by attaining a higher Six Sigma certification level.
4. Be Open and Transparent in Your Communication
Communication skills are essential, and it’s particularly important that you are transparent with your team about key issues. We can all spot when someone is putting on a front or hiding something from us, and this will quickly erode confidence and respect in you as a leader.
5. Earn the Respect of Your Team
Being a successful leader is not a popularity contest or an exercise in exerting your authority or ruling with fear. The best leaders are those who are respected by their team for being competent, fair and supportive. This may mean that you have to make difficult decisions and tackle conflict from time to time, but you will earn more respect by showing you can overcome obstacles than by hiding away.
6. Recognize and Reward Achievement
Employees will deliver a stronger performance when they feel that their contribution is noticed and valued. Recognizing and rewarding achievement can be as simple as a few words of thanks, or you might choose to implement bonus or commission-based incentive schemes.
7. Network with Other Leaders
By networking with other leaders in business, you can learn from one another through sharing your experiences, achievements and challenges while keeping on top of trends in the market. In some cases, you may even be able to establish alliances or partnerships which open up opportunities and move the business forward.