If you are a business owner, you are a leader. Whether you’re a one-(wo)man band or manage a team in your business, you are in charge of your own development. So how can you actively build your leadership skills to improve your business outcomes?
- Lead with Purpose and Values
Purpose driven leadership and business has been proven to be better for business. The Conscious Capitalism movement is showing that you can stick to your ethics and morals, care about your customers and employees and still run a profitable business. What is the higher purpose in your business? Can you articulate your values that guide your business?
- Maximise your Strengths
As an entrepreneurs you must maximise the use of your time. Often you can get caught doing everything from strategic planning to service delivery to updating your website. You can only become the best leader you can be if you focus on maximising and mastering your strengths. What are you better at than anybody else? How do you spend more time everyday doing that and organise the rest of your workflow in other ways?
- Leaders Focus on Strategy
It’s difficult to get away from the day to day projects and tasks but make time to rise above it and look at your long term strategy. Where do you want to go? And how are you going to get there. Set aside time every week or month to observe what’s happening in your industry, consider your business goals and how you are tracking and consider any risks in your business. It might be useful to join together with others either through your industry association or a mastermind group to do this.
- Build your Networks
A key part of leadership and entrepreneurship is cultivating a network that will support you. Now let’s get strategic about your networks, it is not about the quantity of your networks necessarily but about the quality. Janine Garner, author of It’s Who You Know, notes the four key networks to develop for success:
- Promoters – cheering you on to think bigger.
- Pit crew – keeping you on track and stable.
- Teachers – developing your wisdom and foresight.
- Butt kickers – keeping you accountable to what you say you will do.
- Meeting management
Meetings are the ever present component in your calendar, be it team meetings, client meetings or a coffee with a colleague. Get clear about your meeting’s intent and manage your meetings for maximum benefit. Do your meetings have a clear purpose at the start and actionable steps at the end? This is a good place to start!
- Stand Up and Be Heard
Public speaking can be an exceptional skill to have as a business owner. The opportunity to share your business story, comment on topical issues and attend networking events to speak rather than just attend can boost your business bottom line. Check out the public speaking clubs or courses to boost your skills and confidence.
- Master your mental mindset
Do you effectively manage your emotions? Or do you crumble at the first sign of trouble. You can develop your mental strength through mindfulness, self reflection, exercise and positive mental habits to thrive in an ever changing business environment.
- Give back
Think you’re too busy to give back? You may miss out on the best opportunities to grow your business. Use your greatest talents in service of a cause that is important to you. Not only does it give you many opportunities to expand your network, develop skills and learn more about an issue – you are also making the world a better place which will energise you too!
- Cultivate design thinking skills
Design thinking goes beyond traditional business problem solving skills to innovate, collaborate and create value for your clients and stakeholders. Learn new methodologies to expand the way you think to improve your business plans, service delivery, client relationships and profitability.
- Create a Learning Plan
What skills and expertise do you need to cultivate to get you to where you want to go? How will you do this? Your professional development plan can include mentors, workshops, online courses or formal education. List the skills you want to develop each year and then put time and money aside to develop yourself. Make time to develop your leadership and watch the ways it improves your business.