According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, good leadership is the most critical factor for building a solid business team. Whether you’re a business leader by title, most people who run their own business have to do some bossing around. Your employees, relatives, and even your friends don’t want to hear it, but being a good leader means that you need to develop skills in building your team and managing people. Leading others isn’t easy, but you can help build a strong team that will follow your lead with these seven essential leadership skills.
1. Learn to communicate clearly & effectively
Communication skills are critical in business. If you struggle with communicating effectively, you must improve this skill as soon as possible because it is the foundation of great teamwork. It’s good practice to share your ideas and vision with your team members to understand how they need to do what needs doing.
An excellent way to improve your communication is by listening more than speaking. Listening not only helps you learn about your employees and their personalities, but it’s also a great way to gain valuable insights into the operations of your business.
Another essential aspect of effective communication is knowing when to give constructive feedback. Be sure that you offer criticism in a supportive way; this will motivate employees and empower them to take ownership of their work.
2. Make your team feel welcomed, valued, & Respected
Think about your business for a moment. How would you describe your group?
Is it strong? Is it weak? Does it work well together? Do the members share the same goals and vision? Or is there a lack of agreement on strategy and direction?
At times, you will run into challenges while operating your small business. You have to maintain focus on making sound, strategic decisions for your company’s future growth and profitability. You also have to ensure that the people working for you are happy and productive. In fact, in many cases, this is more important than anything else.
Building a solid team is difficult. It takes time and effort, but it doesn’t just happen. If you’re going to spend time with your employees on any level, you must make every effort to help them grow as individuals while setting aside time to coach them on their strengths and weaknesses. You also have to learn how to motivate each person on your team to help them succeed in their roles.
Remember: You hired these people because they have something valuable to offer your company. But they need you to guide them in the right direction. They need someone who believes in them to inspire them to achieve great things.
3. Inspire trust through competence & reliability
Inspiration is the core of effective leadership. Ask any great leader, and they’ll tell you that their ability to inspire others is their most incredible skill. A lack of inspiration within the team will lead to apathy and failure. Inspiration drives people forward, and without it, people will be more likely to give in when things get tough. The crucial thing is that you must also inspire yourself as a leader, or it will be difficult for you to inspire others.
You can inspire trust by demonstrating competence and reliability. Here are some tips:
Know what you’re talking about. If selling a product or service, be an expert. Check out the competition and know how your brand is different.
Be honest. If people ask you a question, answer honestly and directly. Don’t try to be cute or ‘spin’ the information because your audience will see right through it.
Keep your promises. Be someone people can count on for whatever you’ve promised them — whether it’s free shipping, a gift with a purchase, or even a coupon code for a discount.
Respect deadlines. If you say something will happen by a particular time, ensure it does, whether emails, social media posts or anything else with an implied “now” deadline.
Be open to feedback & criticism (and address them). It takes courage to admit mistakes, but it makes your audience feel like they can trust you more. Remember that being receptive to feedback and criticism doesn’t mean that you have to take all of it onboard — just that you acknowledge it and respond appropriately.
4. Provide support & guidance rather than micro-managing:
When managing a team, it’s essential to realize that everyone is unique. It would be best to cater to them accordingly to get the best from them.
By learning about different leadership styles and then using the right type for each individual. You’ll get more productivity and higher morale out of your team.
You can’t do everyone’s job for them, and you certainly can’t do it all by yourself. Hire team members that are smarter than you and let them do the work they are on the team to do in the first place. That means providing support and guidance rather than micro-managing.
Leave your ego at the door. Good leaders understand that they don’t know everything, and they’re willing to learn from their team members.
Delegate work to your employees, but don’t delegate responsibility. When things go right, credit the team as a whole. But when things go wrong, take responsibility for the failure — even if that’s not where the problem originated.
Good leaders show their employees appreciation for a job well done. Public recognition is good, but it’s even better when you recognize an employee one-on-one in private.
5. Offer constructive feedback in a supportive way
The most critical responsibility of any boss is to guide their workers in the right direction. You need to provide ongoing feedback about what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
Always give this feedback in a supportive way. Remember not to be overly critical or negative, or your employees will feel like you don’t believe in them or want them on the team. Instead, use this as an opportunity to help your employees grow and develop new skills; this will allow them to make meaningful contributions in the future. Be willing to learn from employees who may have more experience than you in certain areas.
Some of your employees will inevitably have more experience than you do in certain areas of business, and that can be an excellent thing. Many leaders hire people who have more knowledge than they do to help the company grow.
6. Be willing to learn
As a leader, you must be willing, ready, and open to learning from your team members, especially if they have more experience than you in particular areas or with specific projects or tasks. When you’re open to learning from others, it shows your employees that you value them and their contributions.
To build a strong team, one of the most critical things a leader can do is make sure you avail the opportunity for team members to share ideas and feel comfortable doing so.
When you welcome employees to contribute, they feel more invested in their work and more motivated to deliver. They will also feel appreciated and respected. And this sense of inclusion will help foster a culture that encourages collaboration.
You can achieve this culture by encouraging open communication and being receptive to new ideas, even when they may not seem feasible or practical. The best teams are those where everyone feels included and empowered to take the initiative.
Leaders also must learn how others think about their work (hint: it’s probably not as much fun as leadership).
7. Find the right tools for maximizing efficiency & collaboration
A business is only as good as the people behind it. And what’s true for your business as a whole is also true for your business operations. Access to the right tools and technology can make a difference in maximizing efficiency and collaboration in running a business.
Here are some tools you may need to run your business:
Business banking services
You’ll need at least one checking account for your business and a separate account for saving money for taxes or other purposes. You’ll need an account for processing payments and an optional merchant cash advance account for short-term borrowing if you accept credit cards. It may be helpful to have an additional account for making online purchases that don’t charge high fees for merchant transactions (like PayPal). Remember to consult your accountant or tax advisor for what’s best for your specific requirements.
Whether it’s phones, email, or social media, it’s vital to stay connected with customers and employees. Consider whether you want to invest in traditional landlines or go mobile-only with smartphones and VOIP calling services like Skype or Vonage.
Project management software
To keep track of tasks and communicate with team members, consider using project management software like the Decision 168 Platform. The web app makes it easy to identify goals, develop strategies, create projects, and assign tasks while empowering your team to collaborate effectively, with transparency and accountability.
Takeaway: The stronger the bond developed among team members, the more likely the new venture will succeed.
In a nutshell, a leader is a key figure that can and will shape the future of a group, department, or organization. Today more than ever, there is a high demand for leaders to build strong teams that can work together to navigate through the challenges of change.
The world has been changing at breakneck speed. There are too many changes happening in every aspect of our lives today: technology, economic, social, political, environmental, and legal.
To survive and succeed in such an unpredictable environment, you need leaders who can respond to these changes by building solid teams that quickly pivot.
Building a solid team requires more than just assembling a group of people with complementary skills and a good work ethic. It also requires consistent attention to the dynamics of your team and an understanding of the stages of team development.
As an effective leader, you’ll need to understand how to interact with employees individually and in the context of the team dynamic. Communication is key to motivating employees and helping them overcome obstacles that may arise along the way.
The DECISION 168 team is on a mission to Empower Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs, and Individuals. Through the relationships and experience of our network, we will make a difference together.