Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ten Leadership Skills Every Entrepreneur Must Have

Being the boss means you’re the leader of your company. On many levels, the success or failure of your new startup will depend on your leadership skills. If you’ve started a business then it’s a safe bet you have some level of leadership abilities to tap into, but there is always room for improvement.

Consider these top 10 leadership skills that all business leaders must have to be successful in their businesses.

1.      Strong Mission Statement: Why did you start this business? It can’t just be about making money for yourself. Your mission statement defines the purpose of your company and will help inform every decision you and your team will make.

2.      Strong Vision: Unlike the specifics of the mission statement, the vision for your business paints the big picture. It tells your employees where you want to take your business and how your staff members can support you.

3.      Tangible Goals: As a leader you need to set the “bar” for your staff. You can do this by establishing goals foryour business. Whether its daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly sales figures, there should be a target to shoot for. You might have to adjust these goals to meet the practicalities of your business but without them you could find your company floundering without purpose.

4.      Strong Team: The major responsibility of a team leader is to actually pick that team. You need to strike a balance between the prospective employees resume, their interview and your own instincts to build that cohesive team. Just know that a good leader also knows when to make changes. If an employee isn’t working out, it’s better to sever the ties and move on than dwell on a mistake.

5.      Know-how: You need to present an image of competency to your employees, investors and customer base. This doesn’t mean you need a PhD in the particular business you are setting up, but all of those folks will be turning to you for answers. If you don’t have an immediate answer, don’t fake it. Take the time to get it right.

6.      Solid Communication: Building on the well written mission statement, vision and goals you need to keep those linesof communication open. Don’t just say, “My door is always open.” Seek out your staff to get their input. Challenge them to come up with solutions or new ideas by fostering a productive and open channel of communication. Be the model of how you want your employees to communicate with each other.

7.      Relate To Your Staff: This doesn’t mean becoming everybody’s friend. Although it might evolve to that you need to keep the boundary lines well drawn. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to relate to your staff and visa versa. The perfect example is with any company function that can involve families. The great “equalizer” among any group of people are the common bonds shared by families.

8.      Positive Attitude: “There are no problems; only solutions.” Projecting a positive attitude is infectious. Your staff will be looking for you to set the tone. Make it a positive one.

9.      Provide Inspiration: Providing inspiration isn’t just about coming in early and leaving late. A leader will often remind his team what they are “fighting for.” That type of affirmation can help drive up productivity in any company.

10.  Roll Up Your Sleeves: Every once in awhile you should step out from behind your desk and get into the trenches with your staff. Let them see you’re working as hard as they are and you’ll build extremely high levels of loyalty.

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