Happy 2012, everyone – I hope that the new year is off to a great start for you.
With my first few posts of 2012, I’m going to continue to elaborate on the various topics that I discussed in the videos that I did with Docstoc last year. Today’s topic: leadership for entrepreneurs.
(By the way, I just want to say that Docstoc did a tremendous job with their “Expert Advice for Small Businesses” video series. If you’re ever looking to incorporate business video production for your business, I highly recommend that you watch some of these Docstoc videos to see how to properly create videos that not only provide excellent content, but also are of high-quality from a visual standpoint.)
Anyway, onto leadership… here’s today’s video:
I’ll admit the title of this video – “5 Secrets to Successful Leadership for Small Businesses” — is a little misleading because the tips that I provide aren’t really “secrets.” A better way to describe them would probably be “best practices” that you could incorporate into your own personal leadership philosophy – but either way, I think that they can certainly help you become a better leader for your team.
As I mentioned in the video, leadership is a topic that often gets overlooked by entrepreneurs simply because you’re wearing so many hats when you’re building a business, and leadership isn’t something that you necessarily think about when you have clients to appease, deals to close, and fires to put out.
Once you begin building your team with new people, however, it’s vital that you provide them with leadership in order to keep your company growing in a healthy manner. (This is another reason why you want to build systems and processes in your business to free yourself up to focus on important things — like leadership).
To expand on my points in the video a bit more:
1. Lead by example in everything you do. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “lead by example” a thousand times – but really, it’s something that you just have to do. You’re the leader so you set the tone for everything in your business – work ethic, discipline, how you treat people, attitude, energy level, enthusiasm, and so on.
You have to realize that your team members look to see what you’re doing and how you do it – and because of the example you set, they will follow. For instance, if you show up late to meetings, you can expect the people on your team to show up late for meetings. If you come into the office every day with positive energy and enthusiasm, you can expect for your team to reciprocate.
You can’t ask people to do the things that you’re unwilling to do, so you have to act the way you want your team to act.
2. Share in the “struggle” with your team. Sure, I know that I’m a big proponent for building systems and processes in your business so that you can free up your time to work on high-value activities. However, just because you are the leader of your business, it doesn’t mean that you’re above getting into the “trenches” with your team from time to time.
You’re not better than anyone else, so help out with the grunt work occasionally, and your team will notice and respect you more. An example of doing “grunt work” would be helping your bookkeeper out with journal entries if she’s swamped or helping your customer service team answer customer calls.
3. Do the things that you say that you will do. This tip is important because it helps you develop your credibility with your team. By following through with everything that you say you will do, others will appreciate your reliability and start trusting you more as their leader.
4. Make each person feel like he or she is the most important person in every room. Everyone likes to feel significant and appreciated. By giving your team members your undivided attention when they’re talking to you, they will feel truly appreciated and respect you more as a leader who takes their opinions into consideration.
5. Be resilient, and always view challenges as opportunities for growth. No one wants to be led by a “leader” with a poor attitude who is always complaining about problems. When problems occur (and they will), display leadership by viewing these problems as true leaders would: “opportunities” for you and your team to learn and grow from.
By having a positive attitude about challenges, you will inspire your team to develop resiliency as well — and they will follow your lead in these types of situations.