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Are you a leader? The importance of leadership in small business

The importance of leadership in small business

There’s a common misconception that leadership is only important in medium sized and large organizations. Some small business owners feel their company is too small for leadership to be all that critical. We believe otherwise. Whether you are the owner of a 5 employee company, or a solo entrepreneur, it’s critical that you are a strong and capable leader. The success of your company depends on it.

Still not so sure? Here are 4 areas of your business where leadership is important and tips to help you become a more effective leader.

Working with a small team

Good leaders do two important things. One, they get their teams and employees to maximize their potential. As a leader, you should constantly be thinking about ways to help your employees excel in their roles. When was the last time you asked your team members this question? “What can I do to help make your life easier?”

Good leaders also establish a culture that allows the organization to flourish. Your employees look to you for leadership. They observe and follow your work habits, attitudes and behaviors. They look to see how you respond to challenges and obstacles. Do you maintain a positive attitude? They watch how you interact with others. Everything you do sets the tone for the entire organization.

Picture your ideal team member and think about the culture you want to establish in your organization. Now think about your own actions and attitudes. Which of your habits are not aligned with this vision? Which habits are? You’ll want to build upon those.

You don’t have a team?

Many solo-entrepreneurs enjoy working by themselves and thrive under such circumstances. Many also make the mistake of actually believing they do indeed work by themselves. Even if you are a solo-entrepreneur with no employees, it’s likely you still rely on a team that you constantly interact with. For example:

Your vendors and suppliers: Your relationship with your vendors and suppliers is a big part of your business. Strong relationships require good communication. Do they understand their value? Do they understand what’s expected of them? When was the last time you communicated this to them?

Your customers and clients: Customer and client satisfaction depends on more than just good products and services. You also need to provide an overall positive experience for your customers and clients. You need to demonstrate excellent leadership when engaging with clients and customers. Consider the following questions:

  • How often do you check in with customers to make sure you are meeting their expectations?
  • How do you respond to negative feedback from clients?
  • Are you proactive or reactive when handling client issues and concerns?

Leadership is about accountability

Leadership is all about getting positive results. It’s about setting goals, identifying obstacles, coming up with solutions, and determining accountabilities. When you have a team of employees, it’s your job to help them understand their goals, take ownership of their goals, and coach them through the process of achieving these goals. As a solo-entrepreneur, it’s you and only you and your responsibilities are likely wide ranging. This process becomes even more important.

Whether working with a team of employees, or operating by yourself, referencing the organization’s long term and short term goals can help you stay focused and make proper decisions about where to allocate resources and time.

Actions you can take

Remember, leadership is about delivering good results and results require action. Ask your team members what they need to succeed in their roles. Ask yourself the same question! Think about your interactions with your vendors and clients. What can you do to improve those relationships? Think about your organization’s long term goals? What can you do to ensure your day-to-day actions are progressing you towards these goals?

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