Five Steps to Great Leadership

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Great leadership can allow your business to grow quickly. Poor leadership will restrict a business or worse – bury it. Follow these five steps to be a great leader of a successful business.

Empathy

Good leaders have an ability to understand how a team member is feeling and act accordingly. They regularly observe and are aware of things like facial expressions, body language and other nonverbal indicators of their team and making decisions that are best for the team in that moment. This is the skill of empathy – as a leader it will create a positive impact on the overall workplace. It will lift morale and staff productivity. Empathy is learnt through practice so keep listening and communicating with your staff.

Decisive

The most important function of any leader is to make decisions. The growth of a business is determined by those decisions. Understand there is no such thing as a ‘right’ decision, rather a decision that will produce the results you are chasing. A great decision maker will consider the consequences of each option before making a choice. The key skill here is being able to think clearly and analyse all the data including intuitive and energetic data – how it feels is just as important as how the numbers stack up.

Communication

This is the biggest single factor that determines success or failure in a leader. The challenge in this is that every leader considers themselves to be a good communicator. This is dangerous because it can lead to not paying attention to the skill. The competitors in the Tour de France still train every day. Great leaders do well to take the same approach when it comes to the skills of leadership – practice and practice often. Get professional feedback and facilitation to assist. Ineffective communication can bring a team unstuck in a moment and it’s often not given enough attention.

Team Building

The success of a business is determined by the quality of the team working there. That’s why it’s so important to manage relationships existing within a team to ensure everyone feels as though they belong, they have a voice and are being heard. If a staff member is feeling irrelevant it will lead to discord and others may start to feel the same. The workplace is not only a place where a job is carried out it is also a place where special relationships are formed and successes shared. A team does not compete with each other – they support each other and are “givers” rather than “takers”. Hire people with a “giver” attitude and strong empathy skills to improve the chances of success.

Respect

This is not automatically received once you’re appointed leader or given a title. Respect is earned through your actions and the relationships you build with your team. It is about being authentic. Be interested in the business, in all parts of it. Get to know your team outside of work as well as in their roles. Be open to their ideas and give them your time to discuss them and support. You’ll receive the same back.

Mike Irving is founder of Advanced Business Abilities. He runs leadership skills accelerator courses across the country.