Monday, August 07, 2017

Navigating The Precipice: Business Leadership Skills You Need




It is something that we deem the pillar of human existence in many ways the ability to lead and to be seen as someone who has a take charge attitude is a very desirable quality in anyone. For those that have positions of power are usually deemed not to be good enough to hold these positions, yet the people that want to lead have never had their opportunity to shine. It begs the question, is it possible for us to develop better leadership skills when we either have none or with limited time? Stresses we have in the workplace usually revolve around the same things, and at the core of things like deadlines, productivity, or quality it will boil down to ownership of the work. When you are the owner of a start-up company, the usual progression is of someone who has never had the experience of leading but started up a company purely as a flight of fancy. Or they felt they had an idea to sell to the world which they are trying to do with gusto and passion but it's difficult when you are trying to learn how to lead concurrently with building up your business. So what is the best way to develop your leadership skills?

Taking On More Projects
This can be a double-edged sword especially when you are running a startup company. Taking on more responsibility can be a recipe for disaster, but on the other hand, you do need to step outside of your comfort zone. By doing this you will learn new things, and in the prospect of business, you will be getting more contracts, acquaintances, and clients.

The Importance Of Discipline
Every great leader needs to be disciplined, and if you find you have a haphazard approach to running your business, then it's a great place to start. Do you have papers piled everywhere, a lack of organization, or do you even a filing system? It's important to start small by integrating healthy habits into your working day. It doesn't even need to be at work, you can start at home by, for example, waking up at the same time every morning, and getting some exercise and from there you can build it up. Habits of effective leaders can be learned but for them to truly stick they need to be integrated into your life. After all, these are what habits should be! It goes back to that "fake it til you make it" approach to things. So if you can maintain the habits of an effective leader, then this is going to be the foundation on which your entire new personality will be built.



Always Be Learning
The great leaders never rest on their laurels, there will always be a new challenge to take on and always something new to get to grips with. This is why you need to develop that insatiable hunger for information as this is what will push you into new and exciting territories, which are, in many ways, what being an entrepreneur is all about. This is something that you can bring to the plate when it comes to inspiring your employees, such as bringing tailored learning programs into the office where you can. And so, your staff members learning on the job and develop in the right way that is suitable for the business. You, as its leader, set the benchmark so you need to be as information hungry as you possibly can. The great leaders will always move on to the next task as soon as they've completed the current one. Elon Musk is a shining example of this!

Listen!
Do you really listen to others, your colleagues, your employees, or your clients? If you did, you would run into fewer problems because you will have taken the necessary information on board first time round and you will have got necessary feedback. But also people know when you're not listening to them, no matter how skilled an illusionist you may think you are! Listening effectively is a lot harder than you think. While we need to address the proper body language such as eye contact, avoiding distractions and responding only when it's appropriate, it's all to do with concentration. If you are doing a million things all at the same time and you are unable to listen to someone if they've got a problem that's more important, you need to readdress your priorities. Communication and, indeed, listening is about being open and receptive to the other person. A leader with their guard up is one that's not going to be trusted 100%. So think on…

Seeing The Bigger Picture
This is probably the hardest skill to learn when you're not in charge of anything, but as the boss of a start-up company or a small business, you do nothing but see the bigger picture. Seeing the bigger picture is a good sign of developed situational awareness, and if you can see the bigger picture, it means you can anticipate problems before they arise, giving you the edge as an effective leader. The person overseeing many different projects needs to have this skill as they are wearing many different hats and if they can see what every part brings to the final product, it helps them to communicate the vision much clearer. Clarity and transparency are simple ways to get people to do what you want them to do. If you muddle through blindly without telling people what the fruits of their labors are it makes for a very fragmented organization, and it doesn't put you in a good light.

Being Calm
We all have our attacks of anxiety on occasion and when you've made the leap from modest worker to business leader the hard thing is to maintain that focus on the vision. There is a lot of pressure being applied in all directions on your skills as a leader, this is why it is so important for you to find methods to quieten down that little voice in your head that says you can't do it. Being calm isn't just a skill you can switch on and off at will, but you need to think of it as a well of reserves. You need to keep replenishing that well when you feel pressure and begin to doubt your skills. Every leader has a crisis of confidence, and this is something you should always bear in mind because it gives you that important idea of perspective. While it's a cliche that every trailblazer has had their share of detractors, from Christopher Columbus to Steve Jobs, this is a very important lesson for every single one of us. The moment you give in and listen to what other people say you should or shouldn't do is when you've lost the game. There was a reason you wanted to lead in the first place, and that was because of your passion and conviction, so hang onto that in whatever way you can. But it's much easier if you can do it with a sound mind, so do whatever replenishes the well, take a weekend break go for a walk, meditate, play your favorite music, but make sure it's something that helps you to forget about work and the pressures associated with it.



Inspire And Empower
Yes, you may be the leader, but you are still part of a team, so something like collaboration is a very good thing to throw into the mix because you need that sense of transparency and cooperation and communication that you need to improve your business. If you spot a flagging team or if somebody needs additional encouragement or guidance then you should offer it. Sometimes it's something as simple as needing a few positive words or even someone to listen to their problems. By the same token, people will feel down on themselves because they're not good at something. It's a fact of life, but nobody is brilliant at everything, and the sooner you are able to realize that as a leader, the more efficiently you can delegate tasks to the right people. An effective leader is able to spot the skills in people where they are most needed, but also the people who are able to rise to the challenge and have the potential to go further. Understanding that fine balance is something that may take a lot of time, or it may take no time at all if you start to communicate with your team better.

Resolving Conflicts
Another fact of life is that not everybody will like each other and there will be inevitable conflicts of interest which will need to be diffused rather than ignored. This is where you will show that being a good leader is also being a good mediator, someone who listens to both sides and is able to get to the fine points of the conflict and resolve them effectively.

For those that are struggling with their own identity as a leader either in a small business or as a line manager in an office or anywhere, it's not about leading in the standard barking orders at people until they do what you tell them methods to work! It's about a lot of light and shade, so if you are looking to be that effective leader, examine these qualities and ask yourself if you have them. If not, it's not that you're aren't cut out to be a leader, but more that it's time to do some homework!



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