Being a business owner means you need to be a leader and this is not a role which you can opt out of when the going gets tough. Employees look to you for support and results and, having mentioned the difficult times, it’s a fact that great leadership not only emerges but comes into its own within the individual when the pressure’s on.

Hard work and the challenges that come with it sorts out the men from the boys – the very able business owners from those who are weak in leadership terms or those who are, well, merely competent.

Some Golden Rules

There are three golden rules for honing leadership skills – skills which can be practiced and applied daily. They are:

  • Be a Good Listener. As every great communicator will tell you, listening to what people tell you is probably more important than anything you have to say. Trouble is, we can all be a lot better at it than we are at any given time in our lives by turning off the habit of being too quick to judge without all the information to hand. By paying attention to what we are hearing and taking it all in.
  • Making Good Decisions. The crunch time when a decision has to be made is a great opportunity for a leader to display and exercise excellent leadership abilities. But ask yourself – will you make the decision on your own and, if so, how will you put it across? Will you need to involve other members of your staff in the decision-making process and, if so, to what extent? However, at the end of the day, you will be responsible for the decision reached as the leader.
  • Don’t fail to see the wood for the trees. Take time out to step away from the business for an hour or so, at least once a week. While you’re taking a break, just have a good think about the way things are going in general and where the work done so far is leading. Don’t get bogged down in the detail – view the thing as a whole. In your absence it will also give others a chance to view things and perhaps develop their own ideas. With your head clear you can return and be ready to face the next stage of growing your business and any challengers this may throw up.

Remember, there will always be more followers than leaders in this world. Rather like sheep, most people like to be led and, with no proper leadership in place, they will often just latch on to the first person to assume that role, genius or idiot. They just don’t want, can’t, or are in fear of, having to make their own decisions.