If you are an entrepreneur, your focus may not be on being a great leader. Regardless of whether you are a solo entrepreneur, or have a small number of employees, I want to explain why you need to hone your leadership skills. You can’t be a leader without followers. And, if you want to grow your business, it takes a team. The team may consist of employees, independent contractors, vendors, or virtual assistants. These are your followers. No business can be developed long-term in a vacuum without others. Why not be the best leader you can be? Practice these three habits and watch the magic of business growth expand.
Great leaders are perpetual learners
I recently wrote a blog post that addressed why great leaders are perpetual learners. These leaders keep an open mind as they take in new information. They can see things from different perspectives. In many ways continual learning offers opportunities to think differently, and therefore act differently.
What you are learning obviously matters, but it is the habit of continually nurturing your mind that provides the most impact. As a leader of your company, you will want to keep abreast of technology changes, trends in your industry and soft skills such as motivating your team. Continuous learning is contagious. If you are curious, and demonstrate your quest for new ideas, those who work with you are more likely to share their perspectives, knowing that they have a receptive audience.
Being a perpetual learner offers other benefits such as the opportunity to take what you are learning and test new ideas. Being innovative is a powerful component of any business. Isn’t that a great way to stay ahead of the curve? Remember that without customers, you have no business.
A word of caution about continuous learning. Be careful not to use this activity to procrastinate handling other tasks in your business. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. Productivity is always king in any business.
Great leaders develop a servant first attitude
The servant leader philosophy was first developed by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970’s. According to Greenleaf, the servant leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve and wants to serve first. Servant leaders have the keen interest in helping their followers grow as individuals, aside from performing their assigned tasks.
In many cases with companies, on the organization chart which graphically depicts the staffing hierarchy, the CEO is found at the tip of the chart with other positions cascading downward depending on responsibility levels. In the case of the servant leadership model, think of the chart as an inverted triangle. The CEO is at the bottom assisting the performance of those charted above him or her. It lends a different perspective to how we lead in our organizations. If you are like me, administering a purpose driven business, then you can begin to appreciate the value of being a servant leader.
Ask yourself, how you can assist the performance of those with whom you work. How can you make their jobs more meaningful? If the people with whom you work realize that they matter as individuals, the company can have a more powerful impact because everyone will be striving for the same goals.
Great leaders consistently communicate a clear vision
As a leader, have you clearly communicated where the organization is going? As a follower, do I want to go where you are going and why would I want to follow? These are critical questions to answer. If your organization, including those with whom you work, are not on board with where the organization is going, you will find a mutiny.
Successful leaders embrace the habit of clearly in describing the path the company is forging and why it will make a positive impact. The values are articulated. Everyone who is associated with your company needs to understand those values so that they understand your ethics, and trust your motives.
How you communicate your vision is important as well. Words in a vision statement posted on your wall or website only go so far. Modeling what you believe demonstrates in an observable way why you are crafting your vision. People like to be a part of winning organizations, and having a vision that they want to support is the foundation.
In summary great leaders keep learning, are of service to others, and communicate where they are going with clarity. These are the hidden secrets that will continually motivate both your clients and your team. These are easy to implement. Improving your business comes down to doing, not just thinking. So, do what the great leaders do and build a better business.
Download 3 Habits to Transform from a Good Leader into a Great Leader as a pdf.