The best leaders are those who can take a company from good to great. They are the individuals with a dream and who constantly inspire their employees to work towards its realisation. Some may think that leadership is something others are born with, but leadership is a skill that needs to be developed and improved over time.
Here are four actionable points to help you effectively lead your employees while growing your business.
#1: Communicate your vision
Your employees need to understand what they are working towards and it is your job as the business leader to paint a vision of that future. Inspire your employees by clearly communicating the vision of your company to them so that they understand what they are expected to achieve.
Set measurable goals with achievable milestones for your employees so that your vision becomes somethingtangible. Ask your managers to explain the vision of the company in their own words. This will give you a good indication of their understanding and whether you are, in fact, properly illustrating where you want your business to go.
Your business vision should be top of mind for you, and it shouldn’t be something that you only communicate once and expect your team to carry through. Rather, re-visit it to ensure that it remains current and your company stays true to it. Effective leaders also ensure that every employee understands the company’s goals, successes and failures. Leaders need to encourage two-way communication between employees and managers so that everyone is invested in the success and growth of the business.
“Starting up a business is always an adventure, and not everything comes together for every entrepreneur in the same way,” saysfounder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson. “As you face the challenges of keeping your business going, you may find that your vision for the company needs to be adjusted as you go.”
Great leaders never work in isolation. They are not only excellent at communicating their vision to their employees but are also prepared to delegate responsibilities to the best person that will get it done. Most entrepreneurs battle with delegation, fearing that no one can do it better than they can, but leaders understand that delegation is critical for taking the business to the next stage.
Key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalising on these. Understand what each of your employees enjoys doing the most and then delegate accordingly. The best person for the job is most often not the one with the best qualifications or experience, but rather the individual who will be the most motivated and excited to take on the challenge.
Delegating to your team shows that you trust and believe in their abilities, while also freeing you up to focus on the important task of growing your business.
#3. Coach your employees
For employees to work effectively, they need to have a company environment that is supportive, conducive and challenging. To create this kind of environment within your organisation, you need to understand what is really going on with your employees; their state of mind, what resources they require to work effectively and whether they are meeting the business’s expectations.
Don’t leave employee feedback to an annual review where they only find out at that time that they have fallen short of expectations. Rather adopt a coaching approach with your employees that allows for constant improvement – feedback resulting in your employees working effectively and growing consistently.
Keep your feedback positive and corrective – it not only goes a long way to encouraging engagement, but also allows for tangible actions that they can follow to correct where they might be getting it wrong.
“There is no more powerful engine driving an organisation toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for the future, widely shared.” – Burt Nanus, American academic and professor.
#4. Be firm but also fair
Excellent leaders understand that you can be an assertive leader while also remaining compassionate toward the people who work in your business. Employees often prefer a clear line of authority where the rules and responsibilities are well-defined.
Make sure that you communicate your expectations and requirements to your employees and let them know immediately should they not meet these. This shows that you are actively engaged and do care about the work that they are producing. Also, be quick to recognise work well done – this will keep them actively engaged and encourage them to bring the best of themselves to their tasks.
Be specific about your business goals. You might clearly understand where you want to take your business, but this may not be as apparent to your employees and managers. Take time to communicate what you want your company as a whole to achieve.
While leadership has many facets that cannot simply be mastered overnight, developing a leadership style that incorporates the actions outlined above will benefit you, your employees and ultimately your business.