5 Ways to Demonstrate Leadership in your Business

LeadershipLeadership does not come in a package or a three-ring binder. It does not come from a three-day workshop or a YouTube video. It can be learned, although it is no DIY project. Nonetheless, your business is not going anywhere if it does not have a leader to follow.

Workers at the lowest levels now feel a need for entitlement. They expect to be heard and
listened to. They are happiest in positions where they are empowered to lead within their
respective range of abilities. They value change and want to be part of it. It rarely occurs to them that they might work at the same job for a lifetime. In a small business, this includes office workers, retail workers, customer service reps, production workers, and other rank and file jobs. However, understand that if there are to be strategies, goals, and outcomes, there has to be a leader.

Leadership starts with you

When you are aware of your own leadership behaviors, you can encourage them among others because their strengths will ease your burdens.

1. Meaningful relationships - Build the employee relationships that arise from small talk and common conversations. In the midst of talk about the weather and family birthdays, ask them what they want to do with their lives and what it is that they like or do not like about their work. Then, you
continue those same themes and pick up where you left off in the next conversation.

2. Show concern for others - Stay abreast of employee problems with health and family. Express your concern and show empathy. If you are a good listener, you do not have to fix problems for them. But, your sympathy card on the death of a relative or your visit to their child in the hospital are appreciated gestures.

3. Show your “stuff” where you can - Look for chances to be “the leader.” You have knowledge, skills, and abilities in business ownership. You are in the position of leadership because you brought your talents, backing, and risk to the table. Employees need the confidence and reminder that you are in charge – and deserve to be. You communicate this through displays of expertise, product and market knowledge, self-confidence and authority.

4. Improve yourself – Treat and commit yourself to continual self-improvement. Read a book in front of your employees and share what you learned. Attend a workshop and join a professional membership organization. Let employees know that this search for professional development is in their best interest.

5. Develop teams - Create a “no fear” work environment where workers can contribute and offer feedback without fear of retaliation. Assign tasks with size and value for the employees to complete and report on before soliciting feedback from the rest of your organization. Plan on change, but empower the employees to make it happen. No matter how small your business, introduce the employees to change management and process improvement. Recognize and reward excellence and outcomes.

Transformational leadership

You lead when you are socially aware among your employees, when you value your own self-awareness, and when you manage your own performance. As a business owner, you have the right to be coercive and authoritative when you have to be. But, as the sole approach, this is not conducive to growth and development. Coaching, support, and pace setting builds harmony and productivity. If you are not in the business of innovation and futures, you will not identify and develop leaders. And, if you do not develop your employees, you probably will not succeed.