In any company or business operation, leadership is one of the most essential skills. This is even more so in a small business setting, where employees often look to the founder or small business owner for guidance, delegation and general direction. However, leadership consists of significantly more than just waving a big stick around and speaking in a loud voice. There are many nuances to leadership that, when executed correctly, could make a significant difference in gaining the respect of your employees. Strong leadership permeates the entire company from top to bottom so, in a way, leadership is an important component of branding your business and establishing a desired company culture. Here are several leadership tips with small business owners in mind.
Have a plan, know your plan
Much of leadership has to do with providing guidance and acting as a beacon of light in times of darkness. Having a clearly established plan from day one is an important aspect of running a small business, and employees will look to you as the owner to comfort them in uncertain times. Expand 2 Web recommends working your long-term plans into your day-to-day operations and sharing these plans with your employees. If there is a clearly defined responsibility and goal that the entire team is collectively working toward – with you leading them toward this plan – they are likely to be more reassured and confident in their own work and progress.
Be responsive and accessible
It is often said that a good manager or boss is one that always keeps the door to his office open for employees of all levels to come in. While this is important in a big company with multiple departments and channels of communication, it is even more essential in a small business. With the multitude of ways that an employee can reach you in the modern technological era – from traditional mediums like texting and calling to social media and emails - Inc. Magazine recommends limiting your channels but being responsive in all of them. Let it be known to your employees that all topics – ranging from personal issues to concerns about the company’s general direction – are up for discussion.
Strive for right but it’s ok to be wrong
As unfair as it may be, leaders are expected to have all the answers. Inc. Magazine suggests doing all your homework and making sure that you are right as often as you can. However, acknowledge to your employees that you are comfortable being wrong (on occasion) and that they can challenge your assertions, as long as the company is bettered in the long run.
Martin Jones is a Social Media Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution across each of the company’s social media platforms. Today, over 400k fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.