Leadership. Is it for me?

Many business owners, probably never imagined that they would be running a business and growing a team. They are forced out of their technical comfort zone in the laboratory or finance department, to become leaders. There are thousands of books written about leadership, probably enough to fill most of the British Library all by themselves. We’ve distilled some lessons from them – nine things within your control to help you become a more effective leader.

  1. Just do it
    So often we get in our own way when it comes to implementing our ideas. Stop limiting the business’s potential and prioritise your time to ensure the important things get done. Focus (see 5. below) on what you are good at and what is important, for example, strategy. Delegate or outsource the other stuff where possible.

  2. Vision and values
    Your vision is where you want the business to be in the future; your values are the compass that drives your behaviour to get there. Clarify and articulate these. Look at developing and sharing a Vivid Vision of where you want your business to be in three years time. This can have a powerful galvinising effect on your team, the business, your customers and suppliers

  3. Safety
    Never more important than right now with restrictions being relaxed and people beginning to return to work in the “new normal”. Some may be looking forward to it, while others may view it as a physical, mental and emotional challenge. It’s a leader’s job to ensure physical and emotional safety for their team at work. This goes beyond legal obligations; the safer employees feel at work, the more productive, innovative and loyal they’ll be.

  4. Teamwork and Trust
    Form a team of people who are smarter than you in different ways, using your collective expertise to achieve results impossible to achieve alone. Build a culture of trust so your team know they can rely on you and that the feeling is mutual. Also, consider building a team that will help you to grow over the next 18 to 36 months.

  5. Focus
    Bring focus to each team member’s individual contribution towards achieving the business goals and vision. Provide clear key performance indicators to ensure everyone knows what to focus on. Share this with the team and regularly monitor performance. Don’t leave it to the end of the year to see how you have got on, by then it will be too late.

  6. Opportunity
    Look for the opportunity in every mistake, challenge and difficult situation. These are key sources of learning. Consider how you will manage mistakes, they are sure to happen, particularly in a growing team.

  7. Resilience and Resourcefulness
    Resilience helps you recover quickly from difficult situations; resourcefulness helps you find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. Build resilience and resourcefulness in your team and yourself.

  8. Mindset
    This is the attitude you bring to your role as leader. Do you have an abundance mindset or scarcity mindset? Do you take ownership, accountability and responsibility for your actions? Your mindset has a huge impact on how you and your team feel about coming to work each day.

  9. Empathy and Energy
    Empathy is the ability to see things from another’s perspective. For example, instead of disciplining a team member for struggling, first seek to understand why they’re struggling, then offer support and training. Increased empathy increases energy across the team and the business and improves results. Take these nine factors and make a plan for how you can develop your leadership skills. Which one will you focus on first? If you need help implementing strategies to become a better leader, get in touch.