About 20 percent of all businesses fail within the first year of operation. One of the main reasons why small companies end up closing their doors so early is poor management.
Without the proper leadership, employees will lose their motivation and experience the dreaded burnout.
Nobody wants to go down with a sinking ship, either. If it seems like management doesn’t have any clear goals in mind, employees will leave before the company can fail.
Becoming a leader that can set goals and motivate employees isn’t as easy as it seems. That’s why we’re here to walk you through it. Check out this guide to learn how you can keep your company going.
1. Realize Mistakes Will Happen
The first step in being a leader is realizing that mistakes are bound to happen. You may be the head honcho over a company, but you’re still only human.
It’s almost impossible to not get stressed when things begin to spiral downward, but you can’t show your team that you’re worried. Doing so could send them into a panic, which isn’t good for productivity.
Do your best to keep a cool head, and whatever you do, don’t point fingers. If things are going south due to a mistake you made, it’s important that you own up to it instead of placing all the blame on your employees. Doing so will earn you more respect amongst your hires.
2. Become Self-Managing
It’s hard to manage your team when you don’t even have your head on straight. A crucial trait for all leaders is to become more self-managing.
What this means is you need to learn how to manage your time effectively. It’s important to look at all the tasks you have ahead of you and be able to divide your attention in a way that will allow you to get everything done.
Becoming a leader that’s self-managing doesn’t end in the workplace. You’ve got to balance your life in the office with your personal life without getting too overwhelmed.
3. Leading by Example
Employees soak up feelings and behavior like a sponge. If you have a bad attitude, it won’t be long before it spreads around your entire office.
To this end, you should lead by example. Display the traits and behaviors that you wish for your employees to emulate.
Show your workers that you’re invested in the company’s goals. If they can see how devoted and confident you are, you’ll become an inspiration to them.
4. Be All Ears
One of the most important leadership tips we can give you is to keep your ears open. If an employee or customer comes to you with a complaint, listen and solve their issue to the best of your ability. It will make them feel appreciated.
When you keep your ears closed, you’ll miss out on a lot of great ideas that could help you improve your business. You would be surprised at what your employees and investors can come up with.
5. Delegate Tasks
Your business is your baby. You don’t like the idea of putting important tasks in the hands of someone who isn’t you, but you hired your staff members for a reason.
Their purpose is to better the company and help make things easier. If you aren’t letting them do anything you’re not challenging them, and you’re putting too much on your own plate. You’re also sending the message that you don’t trust your employees.
Take a moment every day to order your business tasks from most important to the least. Decide who would be the person to tackle each project and spread assignments around accordingly.
6. Look at the Big Picture
You’re a busy person. You’ve got meetings to attend and projects to take care of.
It can be so easy to get so caught up in these little things, that you forget about the big picture. As a business owner, there are constant opportunities available beyond the horizon.
If you’re not seeking out these opportunities, you’ll miss them. Don’t let that happen to you.
Taking on new challenges may be risky, but you’ll find that as long as you weigh the dangers, it’s worth doing if you want to grow your company.
7. There Will Be Disagreements
The decisions you make in the office won’t always make you popular. There will come a time when someone disagrees with you. As long as you know how to handle these disagreements and nip them in the bud before they become a huge argument, they will be a nonissue, however.
Find a Place to Talk
The first step toward resolving a problem in the workplace is to pull the disgruntled party over to the side. The last thing you want is to call them out in front of all their co-workers. That will only make them angrier.
Take them to your personal office where you won’t be interrupted. Arrange to meet with them on their time as well. If you try to set something up with them when it’s not convenient for them, they’ll come into the conversation angry.
It’s human nature to become defensive when someone has an issue with your actions. Resist that urge and take this time to listen to the employee’s point of view.
Avoid interrupting them while they’re speaking. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get further clarity on what they have to say.
Discuss and Resolve
Reiterate the areas of conflict and come up with a plan to resolve them.
Offer to set up further meetings with your worker to stay on top of the problem if need be.
8. Set Your Goals and Go After Them
Unless you write down your goals, it can be easy to lose track of them. If that happens, it can send your entire company spiraling out of control.
After you pencil down your goals, come up with a plan of attack for each of them. This won’t only give you some direction. It will pave the way toward your employee’s success as well.
If you’re not sure where to begin, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. Many leaders struggle with the goal-setting process.
Determine What Your Goals Are
Think about what you want to accomplish vs. what goals you want to set for your company. Looking at things that way will make the process a bit less daunting.
While you should look at the big picture, you shouldn’t get so caught up in it that you forget the small stuff. Sometimes taking care of one tiny task will pave the way toward completing the larger ones.
When you’re writing your goals down, be as specific as you can. The better you can visualize your goals, the more likely it will be that you’ll see them through.
It’s Time to Commit
When someone has the goal to lose weight, what do they do? They come up with a killer exercise routine and start up a diet. You should approach your business goals the same way.
Commit to them and never question them. The moment you begin to second guess your decisions is the second that you’ll start to lose your motivation.
Get Your Team Involved
Again, once you have your goals established, you’ll need to get your team involved with them. You shouldn’t have to take on everything by yourself. Delegate tasks to your staff.
Hold weekly meetings to find out where everyone is with their team or individual projects. If you’re between a rock and a hard place when it comes to meeting your goals, discuss possible solutions with your staff.
Talk about what business operations are and aren’t working. Make any changes to your plans if necessary.
Hold Yourself Accountable
If you have trouble keeping yourself productive, it’s our recommendation to set deadlines. Assigning your goals with a specific date will allow you to hold yourself accountable if you’re not done on time.
When you reach the goals you set for yourself, don’t forget to celebrate. It doesn’t matter how small the accomplishment, it’s worth throwing a party.
Buy a cake for you and your employees to share in the breakroom or take everyone out for a group lunch.
9. Strive for Diversity
Having a diverse staff is great for a number of reasons. If everyone on your team has the same thoughts, there are no fresh ideas coming in.
Hiring a bunch of people from all different backgrounds will also improve your reputation as a business and increase your cultural awareness.
A diverse workplace is a productive workplace. People can bring experiences from their life into the office and provide fresh ideas.
When people from varying cultures and backgrounds put their heads together, it promotes creativity.
Better Cultural Awareness
Having people of different backgrounds on your team allows you to do business with companies from all over the world. For example, let’s say that you want to open up negotiations with a Chinese business.
It might be beneficial to have a staff member that knows mandarin. They’ll be able to translate and act as a positive representative of your company.
Potential employees want to work with a company that accepts people from all walks of life. If you have the reputation for turning people away that are part of certain minorities, you might not receive as many applications as you would like when you open yourself up for new hires.
Your customers will look down on you if they feel like you don’t treat all your employees equally, too.
Customers don’t want to feel like they’re doing business with a corporate machine. They want to deal with real people who represent them.
As the leader, you get the final say over who gets hired in your company. The more diverse employees you consider, the more diverse customers you’ll attract.
10. Acknowledge Your Employees
You didn’t get where are you today on your own. Most natural-born leaders aren’t afraid to acknowledge that.
You don’t have to throw a huge celebration every time a worker does something helpful but saying thank you never hurts. It’s the small stuff that will make your employees feel appreciated.
Give your workers a little something to celebrate milestones. An award or gift card when they reach an anniversary with the company is a great place to start.
Be sure to acknowledge birthdays with a small cake, or better yet, give someone their big day off.
11. Never Stop Learning New Tricks
Never stop learning. Find out what your weaknesses are as a leader and work on them.
Continue to develop additional skills by watching leadership keynote speaker Adam Markel. Keep track of new technology in the business world by attending seminars.
12. Alter Your Approach
The same leadership approach isn’t going to work for everyone. If you have an employee who performs well alone, don’t try to stuff them into a group.
You wouldn’t put someone on the night shift that works much better during the day. Some people do well working from home instead of heading to the office every day.
The Steps Toward Becoming a Leader
As you can see, becoming a leader can be a lot of work. If you don’t communicate with your team and fail to establish your goals, you’ll find that your business won’t have a purpose at all.
If your company doesn’t have any direction, it will put you on the fast track toward closing your doors for good.
For more tips that will help you flourish as a leader, visit the Business section of our blog.