At the best of times all entrepreneurs need vision, tenacity, drive and a strong work ethic. But what about during a crisis — one that diminishes your trade, interrupts your supply chain or shuts your business down temporarily? For that, you’ll need a whole different set of leadership skills to steer your venture to safety.
There’s nothing like a crisis to separate the wheat from the chaff, eh?
In this article, we're going to look at some of the good leadership skills you should focus on as you move through the coming weeks and months. We will also provide some resources for developing these skills so that you can begin using them now.
4 leadership skills to see you through the storm
There is a common misconception that leaders are born, and if you're not a natural leader, then you'll be bad at managing your business. This isn’t true. You can learn leadership by practicing these skills:
- Communication skills.
- The ability to spot and keep top employees.
- Willingness to delegate tasks.
- Knack for motivating people.
We include resources and tips on developing each of the four skills in our leadership skills list.
1. Communication skills
If you want to be successful, then you'll need to master the art of communication. You'll need to develop this skill so you can:
- Explain your vision to your team
- Delegate tasks
- Help others understand the ideas that you have for your business
- Close sales
In order to be successful at selling products, attracting investors, recruiting new employees or building an effective team around you, you'll need to have good communication skills. This is even more important during times of stress or challenge.
Think about not just what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it.
Since 'communication' is a broad term, here are some of the communication skills that you can focus on:
- Active listening skills
- Written communication
- Speaking/presentation skills
- Conflict resolution skills
- Negotiation tactics
- Nonverbal communication (i.e. body language)
- Active thinking and processing
As you develop these skills, you'll find yourself communicating more effectively with those around you. You'll also be able to view a situation from other perspectives by listening to those you're conversing with.
2. The ability to spot and keep top employees
As an entrepreneur, you likely have a plan for your business and a strategy to make it a success. But this isn’t all you’ll need.
The best leaders understand that their success depends on those who work for them.
If you want your business to thrive, you need to learn how to identify the top recruits during your hiring process. Once you have these top people working for you, you'll need to work to retain them and make them want to come to work for you on a daily basis.
3. Willingness to delegate tasks
One of the traits shared by all successful leaders is the ability to hand tasks off to trusted employees. If you can master the art of delegation, you’ll free up time for yourself while the daily tasks are being handled by employees who are right for the tasks that you have given them.
You'll find that every employee has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working. As a leader, it's important to understand these strengths and weaknesses so that you can give the tasks to the employees who are best suited for the job.
When you learn how to delegate properly, it'll become a win-win for you and your employees.
You'll have more time on your hands to spend on planning for growth. Meanwhile, your employees will get the satisfaction of knowing that you trust them enough to put them in charge of a given task.
Learn more about delegation in this helpful article from MindTools.
4. Knack for motivating people
The ability to motivate others might just be the pinnacle of good leadership skills. The best leaders can inspire those around them to become better at their jobs and put in more effort so that the best results can be achieved.
You don't want your workplace to be dull, or pay workers who don't care about their jobs or aren't invested in what they do.
Instead, you need to learn how to motivate your team on a daily basis so they bring their best selves to work every day.
Here are some of the ways that you can motivate your team members:
- Provide positive feedback when you’re pleased
- Always be respectful, honest and supportive
- Offer employee rewards
- Give them room to grow their skills
- Create a pleasant work atmosphere
- Be flexible with work hours if possible
If you want your employees to be motivated to work for you, then you need to understand their needs, interests and wants. Once you know your team members on a personal level, you'll find it much easier to find effective ways of motivating them.
Good leadership skills can be learned
We hope that this article has provided some insights into how you can develop better leadership skills as an entrepreneur.
Remember that your employees are getting their main inspiration from you on a daily basis. They will watch how you speak, act, and handle yourself while conducting business and then perform their jobs in a similar way.
You should always lead by example and live what you preach.
Be honest and ethical in everything you do and let workers know you expect the same of them. This will put your venture on a solid footing — one that can weather any storm.