Whether you’re running a small team or a medium to large business, leadership skills are critical to business success.
After all, as a business owner you are the master of the ship and those working with you will take their cues from you.
Importantly, leadership skills are honed and refined over time. So let’s take a look at how you can sharpen your key leadership skills.
Know your style
According to Harvard Business Review there are six distinctive leadership styles demonstrated by the most effective business leaders.
- The authoritative leader – Who offers a combination of support, confidence and vision.
- The democratic leader – who achieves through consensus, seeking the opinion of their team and involving them in the vision of a business.
- The coaching leader – who builds the skills of their team using their experience to achieve success.
- The affiliative leader – who praises and nurtures their team into performance, with the belief “People come first”.
- The pacesetting leader – who sets high standards they expect their team to follow.
- The coercive leader – who demands compliance with the belief their team members should “Do what I tell you”.
In reality, most effective leaders use a combination of two or three of the techniques mentioned above, but it’s important to identify your style, so you can hone, expand it and improve over time, or use a different technique when necessary.
Leadership skills should not be something you set and forget, they should grow and change over time, incorporating experience and also feedback from your team.
They also benefit from ongoing training, whether that’s podcasts, workplace seminars, leadership courses, conferences or reading.
Training allows you to grow and evolve as an individual leader, drawing on your experience and that of others to improve your skills for the benefit of your business and team.
Walk into any bookstore and there is a wealth of great books dedicated to effective leadership. Each of these help offer a different perspective on essential leadership skills including communication and people management.
If you’re looking for some excellent reading to kick you off on your leadership journey, recommended titles include:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
- Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Your team can be the source of some of your greatest leadership learnings, so seek feedback from time to time about areas where you could improve.
This isn’t quite as straightforward as simply asking ‘what could I do better’, but involves questions like:
- How might I be shutting down good ideas?
- How might I be shutting down energy and creativity?
- How might I make it hard to make a mistake and learn and recover from that?
When you seek feedback from your team and seek to improve your own effective leadership style, you create a business environment where people are empowered and embrace the growth mindset.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to improve your leadership style and grow your business, I’m available to assist.
Talk Strategy with Clive
With more than 30 years’ experience in mentoring small to medium-sized businesses around Australia. Clive works with company owners and their teams to grow their business and achieve goals through startegic coaching.