As a business owner, you do a lot. It can be hard to know how to be a business leader when you have a million and one things on your plate. Managing employees, handling accounting and payroll, and finding the time to focus on revenue-generating tasks are all important, but are they enough? Putting precedence on growing as a leader is beneficial for your professional life.
The importance of growing as a leader
If you focus on developing effective leadership skills at work, you will see a big pay off. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Good leaders know that they need to continually learn and grow.
Business owners who exemplify good leadership qualities can find the right talent to hire, foster a healthy work environment among workers, and expand their business.
Leadership begins with passion, patience, and humility. Employees should be inspired by a leader instead of discouraged. Someone who knows how to be a leader in business will encourage hard work, innovation, discussion, and dedication from employees.
Tips on how to develop as a leader in business
Leaders are busy. They don’t sit back while others do all the work. Here are some ways you can work toward growing as a leader.
1. Take action
If you know you want to be a better leader, you’ve taken the first step in growing. A leader who is all talk and no action won’t be a leader for long.
Think about your journey to becoming a business owner. You worked hard to develop your business idea and put it into action. If you had just talked about opening a business, you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Similarly, you also need to take action to grow as a leader.
Employees will respect and appreciate your effort if you work alongside them. Nobody wants to look up to someone who sits in their office and drinks coffee while others do all the work.
By putting in the same amount of work (and more) as your employees, you remind them why you are someone they can look up to. A business leader can relate to the stresses, aggravations, and pride of their employees because of the action they take.
Be sure to lead by example, not just the words that come out of your mouth.
2. Be humble
Employees don’t want to follow a leader who acts like they know everything. Leaders grow because they are open to learning new things.
If you are wrong, be the first person to admit it. And, if an employee has a great idea, give credit where it’s due. Having humility is one characteristic that separates a leader from a follower.
Business leaders are able to unite employees. By being humble, you recognize that your business would not be where it is today without the hard work of your employees and the people who helped get you to this point. Continue to have humility, no matter how big your business gets.
3. Find balance
You’re a business owner, but that isn’t your whole life (although sometimes it might feel like it). Your personal life is also an important part of who you are. To be a leader, you need to strike a balance between all aspects of your life.
Make time for sleep, nutrients, exercise, hobbies, and time with loved ones. Without taking time for yourself, you won’t get a chance to recharge your batteries. Good leaders can’t live on caffeine and determination alone.
Find a balance between your personal and professional life. Balance leads to decreased irritability and stress, and it increases patience and interest.
One study found that 45% of adults who got less than eight hours of sleep were irritable, 52% lost their patience, and 40% felt overwhelmed. Good leaders find a balance and strive to take care of themselves, so they can take care of others.
4. Try new things
Leaders aren’t stagnant. Growth as a leader might require you to try new things. Implement new strategies at your business to see what works the best.
You might consider having meetings to go over new procedures. Maybe you want to introduce a new product or service. Or, you might want to see if new team-building exercises increase teamwork in your organization.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t do the same thing day after day. Be willing to try and adapt to new things to grow as a leader.
5. Listen to employees
There’s a relevant saying that says, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Good leaders recognize that they don’t always need to be talking.
Improve leadership skills by conducting performance reviews, holding meetings for employees to share ideas or voice concerns, and hosting business events. Take the time to talk to your employees and learn from what they have to say.
Employees might have ideas about how to handle business operations. Or, an employee could have a problem with something about their job. You can’t fix or improve anything if you don’t listen to your employees.
6. Create new leaders
A good business leader knows they aren’t the sole leader at their company. Leaders are excited to see other people become leaders.
Encourage your employees to become leaders by giving them more responsibility. Helping develop employees into leaders can increase productivity in the workplace. Make it possible for others to become leaders at your company.
7. Recognize talent
Put more effort into hiring the right people. Learn how to find and attract talent for your business. Maybe that means outsourcing the process and hiring a recruiter so you know how to recognize talent.
When you interview new people, be on the lookout for leadership qualities in the candidate. Leaders know what to look for in workers and are quick to spot potential. Know what your business needs from an employee. And, understand what qualities are necessary for a worker to have. Being able to recognize talent will help you grow as a leader.
8. Have passion
If you don’t have passion for what you do, it will be difficult to be a good leader. Passion is not only good for business, it is necessary.
Good leaders are passionate about their work. Attitude is contagious. If you don’t care about your business, chances are employees won’t care about your business, either.
In order to grow as a leader, have passion. Be sure that the passion doesn’t lead you to be bossy or bulldoze employee ideas. Your passion should energize and excite employees, customers, investors, and anyone else you meet.