If you run a company, you’ll soon come to realize that it involves juggling several tasks simultaneously. Some people are natural leaders, but for others, the role of captaining the ship doesn’t always sit well.
If you’re the boss and you want to ensure your business fulfills its potential, leading from the front is often a good place to start.
Here are some of the simplest but most effective ways you can enhance your leadership skills.
#1 Research and Development
Before you work on aspects of running a business such as management skills, it pays to do some research to ascertain as much information as possible about the arena in which you plan to work.
There’s no point in hiring a host of employees if you don’t know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
All business leaders should have clear plans, which are backed up by research. If you’ve got a business idea, you need to make sure that you know exactly what you’re going to do to make those plans a reality.
Before you advertise vacancies or work on salaries, create a watertight business plan, work out what kinds of employees you’re looking for and start plotting your future.
Use research techniques to determine who you’re competing against and learn about your target market. If you’ve got extensive knowledge, this will help you set clear objectives, which will benefit those working for you from the outset.
It’s also wise to focus on developing your skills on a continual basis. If you have gaps in your knowledge or you’re new to the business, taking courses, doing workshops and learning online could help you to improve your leadership skills, as well as giving you skills in different areas.
Perhaps you’d like to learn more about the financial side of being a manager, or you’re keen to develop your conflict resolution skills.
#2 Understanding How the World of Business Works
If you’ve never run a business before, you may find that there are elements that you never even considered before you started putting notes and ideas down on paper.
Business owners have to be aware of legalities, for example, and this may be your first experience of overseeing accounts or liaising with clients.
Before you start focusing on what your employees are doing, it pays to concentrate on how you plan to run the company and ensure that you have the relevant knowledge to manage your business cost-effectively, efficiently and most importantly, legally.
Seek advice from legal and financial experts and ensure that everything is above board at all times. If you’re not doing things by the book, others may start taking shortcuts too. Reading is a really useful exercise, so take a look at business blogs and read books and articles published by the leading lights of the entrepreneurial world.
#3 Protecting and Respecting Your Staff
As a leader, there are few things that are more important than protecting and respecting your staff. If you don’t treat your employees well, they’re not going to take an interest in what they do or give their job maximum effort.
If they don’t feel valued or they’re worried about safety at work, they may start looking for jobs elsewhere. People talk, and before you know it, you may have developed a reputation for being a boss people don’t want to work for.
Safety should always be a priority, and as the manager of the firm, you have a responsibility to ensure that your workforce is safe.
There are health and safety guidelines in place for a reason, so make sure you’re aware of them and that you adhere to them. If one of your employees has an accident and it could have been prevented by effective safety procedures, you could be held liable for their injuries.
Business insurance from companies like Equify LLC can provide cover for accidents and mistakes, but prevention is always better than cure. Carry out regular risk assessments and take action if accidents do occur. If you’ve had a few people slip in the same place, for example, consider how you could make that area safer to prevent similar incidents.
As well as ensuring that your employees are safe at work, it also pays to try and ensure that they’re happy. It’s no secret that a happy team is a productive team.
If you love your job and you look forward to work, it figures that you’re going to put in more effort. You don’t have to lavish your workforce in gifts and offer them time off and bonuses to make your employer of the year, but it’s worth bearing in mind that their happiness will impact the success of your business.
Inject some fun into the working day, promote teamwork and offer rewards and incentives if you’re asking people to sacrifice their time.
#4 Creating a Pleasant, Harmonious Environment
Nobody wants to wake up every morning filled with dread at the prospect of going to the office or starting their shift at a clinic, restaurant or warehouse.
As the boss, it’s your duty to try and create a harmonious environment and to ensure that your employees look forward to going to work. Try and resolve conflict as quickly as possible, keep channels of communication open and encourage people to talk to you or other senior members of staff if they have issues with their colleagues or they’re struggling with the workload.
If you nip problems in the bud and show your employees that you’re willing to tackle any obstacles that arise, this will give them peace of mind and encourage them to act quickly if they are having difficulties. It’s common to experience situations where people don’t get on all the time, and if you can learn to handle these scenarios, this will help to keep morale high.
#5 Establishing Realistic Targets
Every boss should have targets. It’s brilliant to have goals, but it’s essential to ensure that they are realistic. If you’re expecting people to work around the clock to hit a sales target that still seems virtually impossible, there’s every chance that they’ll give up before they’ve even started.
Encourage people to work hard and put in the effort, but keep stock of what is actually achievable. If you are expecting your employees to give you more, for example working late in the run-up to a deadline, make sure there’s a reward on offer.
If your workforce feels like you’re taking them for granted and they’re working overtime for nothing, they may look for an employer that will offer them a more reasonable contract. Setting targets is important for completing projects on time and ensuring that everyone knows what they’re doing, but it will only work if the outcome is actually a viable possibility.
#6 Setting a Good Example
As humans, we learn from the people around us from day one. If you run a company, the people you employ are going to look to you for guidance and inspiration.
You have this role, so what are you going to do with it? As the boss, you should take the chance to use your position to motivate others and encourage them to work with you to hit those targets and reap the rewards.
Set a good example. If you’re not passionate about the company or the individual projects you undertake, how can you expect others to stay motivated?
If you’re not willing to work hard to achieve success, why should others work all hours for you? You don’t have to spend hours on the shop floor or spend all your time in the office, but make sure your employees know how important the business is to you and how much you value their industry and commitment.
There are few commandments more important in the leadership manual than listening. If you’re speaking all the time, you’re not going to have time to listen to what others have to say.
Invite open communication and debate, enable others to share their ideas and opinions and ask for feedback. Arrange an annual meeting or regular informal catch-ups to see how your employees are doing and what they would suggest making life better.
If there are comments or ideas on the table, spend some time thinking about what you’ve been told and use the feedback wisely. Put yourself in your employees’ shoes for a moment, and think about people who you have worked for in the past. Consider what you could change about your managerial style and how you could use your experiences to benefit your employees.
If you own a company, it’s natural to want to be a brilliant boss. Some people flourish in a leadership role, but for others, it can be difficult. If you’re hoping to use your leadership skills to develop and improve your business, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful.
Develop your own skills, learn what running a business entails, plan ahead and create a safe, harmonious working environment. Collaborate with your team, establish realistic objectives and listen to what people around you have to say.
So what are you doing to enhance your leadership skills? I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.