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Leadership Qualities to Run a Small Business Successfully


By Amit Prasad on March 22, 2017

A leader is that person to whom everybody in an organization looks for when in need of a solution to a trivial or even a dire problem. But who is a leader? A facility manager in a multinational corporation, an executive partner in a partnership firm, a sole proprietor of a small business enterprise, and any person who has a job to provide directions, instructions and guidance to a group of individuals, also known as a team, with the purpose of achieving a certain goal.

Leader of the 21st Century

Leaders of past centuries were persons in command and control who used to issue directions for enforcing their execution while remaining at a distance from the daily work. Time has changed and with that, the role of a leader has also changed. Today’s leader stands in the middle of the action and is focused on identifying and developing the talent and working hard to build an environment which can nurture that talent and give it space and freedom to work creatively and efficiently in order to achieve that which is desired.

There’s much more that is new and different about the leadership, management, and communication in the 21st century. Customers, in this digital age, are empowered to seek out, compare, and measure value as never before. That’s why, today’s leader can’t afford to have a focus just towards maximizing the productivity of his employees, rather he has to learn to serve the target customer. Serving the customers by understanding their needs and wants is the best way he/she can harness the true potential of the employees more fruitfully.

Related article: Essential Qualities of a Business Manager in This Digital Era

Essential Qualities of a Leader

A small business runs mostly on the might of its leader who is the owner as well as the manager-in-chief of his company. He has to take care of the balance sheet of the company by maintaining a healthy cash flow in and out of the company. He also looks into the profitability, productivity, connections, customers, regulations, and the marketing of the company.
Let’s have a look at the essential skills and tasks of a leader:

  • Engenders Trust & Enthusiasm

    He should focus on building the trust of the customers towards the company by generating enthusiasm among the employees in working towards the fulfillment of customer’s needs and wants.

  • Thinks in Terms of Relationship

    Now every business is a relationship business. The better the company’s goodwill among the customers, the better will be the business. A leader who understands this and encourages his employees towards building that relationship will surely own the best team that fulfills the expectations of the company.

  • Creates a Stimulating Ecosystem

    He will understand that to harness the full potential of his employees, he has to identify and develop the talent by providing it with a stimulating environment that can support the employees in enhancing their knowledge and skills.

  • Guides a Continuous Refinement Process

    A good leader will build the strategy taking into account the inputs of his employees, and he will keep guiding them for continuous refinement process so that the plan of action must always remain a hundred percent productive.

  • Supports Experimentation & Learning

    A good leader understands that his employees are not puppets who will keep dancing on the indication of the strings attached to his fingers. He encourages each employee to develop his own style of working so that the employee can get the best score through his output.

  • Listens and Observes Carefully

    A good leader is a good communicator and a good communicator knows that the very idea of communication is a two-way process. It’s not just about speaking your mind but also about listening keenly to others, so as to be able to observe the gravity of the situation more accurately.

  • Takes Responsibility of His Team and Its Result

    A good leader will never refrain from taking full responsibility of his team and its result. He gives all the credit to his team in case of success. But he knows that a team’s failure is his failure and so doesn’t blame his team in case of a failure.

How a Leader Motivates His Employees

A leader can’t do everything on his own. He needs an efficient and productive team of working people to achieve his goals. But he faces many challenges in keeping his employees motivated. Some of these challenges are:

  • Preventing the employees from moving into other companies.
  • Providing them an environment where they can enjoy working and so maximize their output.
  • Keep encouraging the teamwork.

Related article: The Workplace Motivation: Show Your Employees That You Care

Employee Motivation

A leader’s first and foremost job is to keep his employees constantly motivated. A motivated employee is the most powerful asset to the company. So, how a leader can keep his employees motivated? Let’s have a look:

  • Taking Care of His Employees

    A leader who takes care of his employees both personally and professionally and keeps conducting one-to-one with them will find them giving the best output and with all the dedication. A leader tries to know more about his employees personally; about his tastes and preferences; his family, and also his idea of an amendment to the working ethics and culture so as to maximize the overall output of the company. This way the employees will feel to be a part of something big and will remain motivated.

  • Empowering Each Individual

    A good leader knows the value of each employee. Every person’s contribution is counted in the final outcome. That’s why a good leader keeps trying to harness the best out of each employee by tapping on their full potential. Empowering them to excel in their role, no matter how large or small, creates a sense of ownership that will help them meet and exceed their own expectations.

  • Supporting New Ideas

    If an employee comes up to you with a new idea, it shows that he/she cares for the betterment of the company. A good leader understands that and listens to the idea carefully, and if it is really useful, he’ll simply adopt it and also reward him for his contribution. This will not only encourage that particular employee but also others to come up with new ideas.

  • Encouraging Friendly Competition

    A competitive environment is a productive environment. Employees can be motivated by organizing healthy and friendly competitions. This will provide them with the spirit of a sportsperson. They will feel energized and highly motivated to work for achieving new heights for themselves and for the company.

  • Rewarding Accomplishments

    An employee takes his accomplishments as his identity in the company. He wants his accomplishments to be recognized by others. And, if it comes from top of the management or the owner, it means a lot for him. A good leader understands this and keeps rewarding his employees in many ways: by sharing their success with fellow employees and management, or by giving him some gifts from the company’s side, or by throwing a party in the office for celebrating his success. A reward or recognition for his accomplishments is the fuel of motivation for an employee- the more his tank will be full, the higher he will feel motivated.

  • Knocking Out the Boredom

    One of the most important tasks of a leader is to keep his employees motivated by avoiding boredom in the office. People have a short attention span. Not only the employees but even the leaders can feel bored in doing their work in a routine manner. Hosting a cupcake bake-off, planning a happy hour, start a push-up contest in the middle of the office on a Wednesday, or allowing a different person to run the weekly meetings can break the monotony. These little fun moments during the job will not only re-energize the employees but also help build a friendly ecosystem that will lead to an increased camaraderie.

  • Fostering Creativity

    Thinking outside the box helps in coming up with new ideas. It will lead to increased creativity. An employee never knows about his true potential himself unless he is able to tap on that creative section of his brain. A true leader is the one who helps his employees in being able to dig deeper and come up with those defining ideas out of their brain.

  • Treating Them Like Investors

    Another way to keep your employees motivated is to make them feel valued by sharing the same information with them that you share with the investors. You can also ask for their ideas on it, and if found suitable, can be implemented for the growth of the business. This level of transparency will engender a feeling of trust in them and can motivate them to feel more connected to the company.

  • A good leader possess all the essential qualities and tries his best to keep the employees motivated that helps in the growth of small business. He should also work towards employee retention strategies so he can retain the top talent that helps in increasing the productivity and profitability of his business.

    Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges that companies are facing today. The costs of losing a valued employee are substantial. According to a study by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), finding and training a replacement for an outgoing employee can cost as much as the equivalent of six to nine months of salary.

    Read more about Employee Retention Strategies.