Leadership in Business
Being a leader means displaying certain key qualities. This is the first in a series of posts on leadership qualities; it focuses on confidence, courage, and inspiration. As Napoleon said: “A leader is a dealer in hope.” It’s up to small business owners to inspire their staff to do great things.
Bain Inspirational Leadership has a list of 33 traits related to being an inspirational leader. These included developing your personal resources and increasing your confidence. According to Harvard Business Review, “you need only one of these traits to double your chances of being an inspirational leader.” So think of what great a leader you would be if you develop two or more!
As a business owner you undoubtedly have a vision for where you see your business in the future. Sharing that vision can motivate your employees to work toward achieving it too.
Words are the tools leaders use to shape what is possible for the future, as well as what they are experiencing in the present: A leader’s words can:
Build someone’s self-esteem, or diminish their sense of self-worth.
Evoke excitement and enthusiasm, or stoke fears and trepidation.
Bring people together, or tear them apart.
Leadership is Learned
Leadership is a learned behavior. For many people, it doesn’t come automatically but will become more natural over time. Leader’s learn to lead through an accumulation of experiences, different circumstances and failures. Often our failures teach us the most valuable lessons. Successful leaders have learned to identify business patterns, find opportunities in pressure situations and have learned to serve the people they lead.
They lead by example. Leading by example sounds easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one. Successful leaders practice what they preach and are mindful of their actions. They know that everyone is watching them and they take every opportunity possible to teach. Employees want feedback. They want to grow and excel and they want their leader to recognize their contributions. Successful leaders always provide feedback and they welcome constructive criticism by creating trustworthy relationships with those they work with.
Great leaders create a positive and inspiring workplace culture. They know how to set the tone and bring an attitude that motivates their employees to take action. They are likable, respected and strong willed. They don’t allow failures to disrupt their progress.
Leadership is anchored in relationships and developing people. Once you start to grow and develop your skills, your leadership will become contagious (in a good way). You’ll inadvertently awaken the inner leader in those around you. This ripple effect is pure magic to see in action! And it is very gratifying to know that you had a hand in creating and developing those traits in those around you.
So long as you have the will to lead and an inclination to help others reach their potential, you will be a great leader.