How to be a successful leader in your small business

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Quite a few words come to mind when you think of an entrepreneur or someone working in small business. Successful, dynamic, ability to take risks, and many more. Unfortunately, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, six out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses in Australia crash and burn within the first three years.

So, what distinguishes successful entrepreneurs from those who struggle? We know that late payments can crush a business along with serious cash flow issues.

A key distinguishing factor is leadership. This is vital for any business to grow. Here are four questions to ask yourself to help you to stay on track.

Question 1: Can you ‘lead’ yourself?
Effective leadership is 90% about the ability to lead yourself. For us to guide others to success, we must be capable of leading ourselves. Through effective self leadership, we take ownership, responsibility and accountability of our actions. We also proactively look at opportunities to learn and grow.

How do we know when we are lacking self-leadership? Blame, excuses and denial tend to arise regularly. Instead of welcoming new challenges or opportunities, we view them as obstacles and start defending our position. Growth seems to be halted when we operate in this state.

Welcome new challenges and take responsibility

Question 2: Can you manage your own performance?
Self-management is our ability to manage tasks successfully and take them to completion. It is effectively followed when we consistently achieve self-leadership. With effective self-management we create plans for any initiatives undertaken and follow through with them. We are able to set goals and meet them consistently regardless of distractions. Tasks for achieving the goals are prioritised regularly and we often look at how we can improve upon our performance in future iterations. As we do this effectively we become more consistent and reliable. These are two of the most attractive qualities we can have as leaders.

Question 3: Can you successfully lead your staff?
When we gain credibility through successfully managing our work, we then inspire others to be the best version of themselves. This is where our leadership comes to life in a team context. We share with the team our vision for the business. We start creating a culture of trust and high performance by supporting and championing the team’s goals and encouraging them to think outside the box. We understand the impact of our behaviour on others and demonstrate effective emotional intelligence. We also consider the impact of our decisions on the team and our decision making becomes highly ecological.

Challenge yourself to inspire others to be better 

Question 4: Can you manage others well?
When we inspire ourselves and the team, we then look at managing team performance. Managing your team can be seamless when they are highly switched on and are aligned with your vision. If this appears to be a struggle the leadership of your team may not be effective enough.

Measuring management of others such as regular, accurate and consistent reporting are vital. As leaders we groom leaders within the team. We also provide opportunities for growth to team members through trainings. This is also where we start incorporating the team in the decision-making process. The ideal outcome when managing your team is to create self-managing teams.

As the leader in your business you may have achieved some or most of these aspects described. The key question is if you believe you are not getting the results you want which of these aspects do you need to revisit? And in doing so, how will that help your business?

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Your 4 step leadership plan

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