It’s interesting how many small business owners and solo operators believe that leadership is not necessary for their business. A comment we hear often is ‘I don’t have a team, I’ve never thought about leadership.’ Do we necessarily need a team of employees to be an effective leader? In short, the answer is no.
Even when you are a solo operator there is a place for leadership in your business. Those fundamental principles of leadership apply to yourself, your clients, your suppliers and as your business grows and you take on staff, you will be prepared to apply those same principles when dealing with them.
Are Leadership Skills Important?
A great number of similarities have been found when comparing the leadership of a small business to a large organisation. They have much more in common than first meets the eye. Running a successful business requires a number of basic fundamentals regardless of how many staff members or how large the turnover. Systems, procedures, organisation, and yes, leadership.
Many small businesses struggle for survival, research tells us that a leading causative factor is the lack of leadership and management skills. By developing and implementing these skills you can drastically increase the chance of success.
So how will strong leadership skills help you to run your business, no matter how large or small it may be?
When you are implementing leadership principles you will find the following:
You have clear direction
Operating with the mindset of a leader gives you a strategic plan. You know just where it is you want to reach, and you set the direction you want to take to get there. Once you have this direction in place, it is then that you utilise your management skills. They will drive you to do what needs to be done on a daily basis.
You stay on track
When you are thinking strategically you always have the big picture in mind. Day to day tasks and small incremental goals have a place in achieving your long-term plans. Too often small business owners do not tie their day to day activities to their vision and purpose.
You are aware of development and growth
Although the growth of your business sounds like it would always be good news, it can often be the undoing of a small business. With growth comes many other issues, including the financial cycle. Many small business owners have prospective work in the pipeline, but they are unable to stay afloat until the payment for goods or services sold have come through. Understanding what it takes for you to maintain operations allows you to grow at a rate that is sustainable.
You can comfortably switch between Leader and Manager
There is no question that we require both leadership and management skills. An effective leader needs to know when to switch between the two. A little time spent at the beginning of each day thinking strategically will put your vision and purpose clearly in mind. Taking a closer look at the tasks and actions required to get there lets you think as a manager as you attend to the details.
There is a definite place for you to wear both leader and manager hats with practice the exchange comes with ease and the benefits to your business, no matter how large or small, will speak for themselves.