Owner founders who lead SME’s thrive on the ability to make the most out of every situation. They also need to be courageous, able to challenge and push the boundaries to grow their businesses. Making the move from founder/owner to strategic leader can be a bumpy road. Here are some skills you can develop to grow you’re your role as leader and support your team.
Listen to Lead
In traditional ‘command and control’ style businesses leaders are expected to have all of the answers. However, in today’s successful businesses leaders are great collaborators and listeners, they recognise they have a lot to learn and their team can provide many of the answers they are looking for. Learning to listen effectively can help leaders to:-
- Identify important issues and uncover conflict.
- Understand team motivations and values.
- Build great working relationships based on mutual respect.
- Discover trends driving the way business gets done.
Challenge to Lead
Successful leaders know they need to challenge before a crisis arrives to prevent it from snowballing out of control. Think about the following when you need to challenge your team.
- Keep the goal in mind, unfocused challenge feels like a personal attack.
- Be open and honest
- Be clear about your assumptions and objectives
- Allow others to challenge your ideas, don’t take it personally and adapt your thinking.
- Be respectful and supportive.
- Look for the positive intent – your team is looking for what’s best even when they don’t agree.
- Don’t get stuck - Commit to the next step and move on
Nurture to Lead
An employee’s potential will remain dormant if it’s not nourished with the right ingredients. Skilled leaders take time to support their people and invest in their growth. Think about how you can nurture and grow your people to build a high-performing team.
- Make supporting your team the core of what you do.
- Give timely feedback.
- Respond to work issues with understanding and help.
- Demonstrate support for a team member's actions or decisions
- Help alleviate stressful situations.
- Recognise great work privately and publicly.
Enable to Lead
Each person brings his or her own experiences, values, and motives to work. The best leaders appreciate these differences and enable people to achieve potential. Consider what you can do to enable your team to achieve their potential.
- Embrace your employees’ strengths and create opportunities for them to shine.
- Develop their decision-making abilities – help them see beyond the obvious.
- Work on the areas requiring further attention and development
Influence to Lead
It’s not possible to lead without influence, as influencing is how leaders lead. Improve your ability to influence by:
- Sharing possibilities by creating a compelling vision of the future for your business.
- Giving a sense of purpose and accomplishment to energise and focus your team.
- Modelling behaviours to encourage critical thinking and innovation.
- Mentoring, coaching and teaching.
Galvanise to Lead
Really great leaders can lead from the back, empowering and motivating their team, which in turn leads to outstanding individual performances. It’s important to:
- Recognise the hard work and efforts from others – make people feel appreciated for their contributions.
- Understand and accept mistakes but ensure that everyone can learn from the experience.
- Share success, to highlight practical tips others can use, and show what can be achieved.
- Celebrate early, congratulate in person and public.
- Reward a job well done.
Motivating, supporting, leading and rewarding your team is absolutely essential if you want to get the best from them. If you would like to develop your leadership skills and create a high performing team – get in touch with Sara to chat about the ways I have helped business owners become the leaders they want to be.