Leadership is a vital part of any business. Poor leadership can have a devastating effect on staff morale, which in turn can cripple your business. Good leadership on the other hand ensures a positive staff engagement and a consequently an effective workforce. The skills required to exercise effective leadership may vary slightly depending on the situation but there will always be common factors. Develop the following characteristics and your business will reap the benefits:
A good leader is able to respond to any given situation. When everything is running smoothly your staff will happily get on with their jobs without to much direction from you. It is when the unusual occurs — an unforeseen challenge or problem to overcome — that your help will be most required. The ability to take everything in your stride and to adapt as situations change, will give your staff confidence that the challenges they face are not insurmountable. This is critical to good leadership.
Strength of character is important to good leadership. You will be called upon to take responsibility in difficult situations and to take difficult decisions. If you crumble, then in all probability so will your team, and you can’t allow that to happen. You need strength of character to remain calm and focused whatever the challenges you face.
A leader should inspire his or her team. This doesn’t mean that only charismatic people can be great leaders; inspiration can come in any number of ways. The key thing is to remember that every action you take will have a positive or negative effect on your staff. Show them your enthusiasm for the business and demonstrate how they can make a difference to its success. Think and act positively and your good example will rub of on your employees.
As a leader, the buck stops with you. If something goes wrong, then you must be prepared to face up to it and take responsibility. Shifting the blame to your employees will create resentment and will undermine your team. Taking responsibility when things go wrong is only fair. After all, you get credit when your team achieves success.
Responsibility also means being prepared to make the big decisions. Not everything you decide will be popular and some decisions will carry inherent risks. A leader must have broad enough shoulders to cope with decisions. He or she must be able to respond to changing events quickly and decisively and give clear instructions. Failure to do so will cause employees to lose confidence and the business to stagnate or miss opportunities.
A leader must be more than simply a dictator. He or she should engage as an active member of the team. A leader should encourage collaboration, as well as frank and open discussions. He or she should welcome honest feedback and will use tools such as employee satisfaction surveys to ensure that staff morale is kept high and that he team continues to function as efficiently as possible