Honing leadership skills

The need for good communication skills cannot be overlooked. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

As a small business owner, it's crucial to be a confident and effective leader, as this will establish your credibility in the eyes of your employees, the people you do business with and in your relevant industry as a whole.

These are some tips that may assist small business owners to improve their leadership skills:

1. Know your strengths and acknowledge your talents

Firstly, take the time to refine your leadership skills. When leading a company, it is important for the owner to work with their strengths and improve on weaknesses to boost their confidence. Remember: Don’t waste time worrying about what you can’t do, instead focus on what you can do.

2. Leave your comfort zone

Don’t allow fear to prevent you from reaching your full potential. When a business owner is complacent, it can filter down to the staff and impact the business’s performance.

3. Build trust and use your influence

Your role as a leader gives you power to inspire and provide guidance. It is important to invest time to familiarise yourself with your employees with the view to build trust and to know how to use your influence to get things done in order to increase productivity and effectiveness.

4. Be innovative

Don’t let obstacles get in the way of your success. Don’t be afraid to tackle problems head-on and be creative about finding solutions — something which should come naturally for entrepreneurs as many of them are innovators, having recognised a trend in an industry or identified a shortcoming, and then proactively created a solution to capitalise on a demand or overcome the problem at hand.

5. Get a mentor

To further improve your leadership skills, small business owners may feel that they need outside help. Getting a mentor who has a proven track record of being a good leader can be done by identifying the traits you would like to build within yourself and ask your mentor to help you. Mentors provide ongoing counselling and support, based on experience, knowledge, skills and wisdom.

6. Hone in on people skills

The need for an entrepreneur to have good communication and people skills cannot be overlooked. Assertiveness, approachability, conflict resolution skills, etc all go a long way in effectively managing employees, service providers and customers.

7. Attend leadership training seminars/courses

These can enhance and build ones leadership skills. Through sharing with other leaders in such forums, one can also learn from the best and then apply some of these skills in their business.