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How to be a Great Leader and Inspire Your Small Business Team

how to be a great leader

Like it or not, as a small business owner, one of your primary roles (if you’ve got employees, that is), is that of leader. If you haven’t had a lot of experience in the past in leading people, you might need a few pointers for polishing your skills.

Not to worry. Even if you’re not a born leader, it’s something you can improve with a bit of effort and education. (Also, don’t be afraid to sign up for a leadership course if need be.)

The Qualities of a Great Leader

While everyone’s got their own opinion about what makes for killer leadership skills, most can’t argue that the following are qualities can help you manage others with grace:

How many of these qualities do you possess? If you need a brush-up, here are tips for expanding your abilities on each point:

Why You Should Strive to Be a Great Leader

Do you really need to improve your leadership skills? If you care about keeping your staff happy, you should care. As Eric Jackson quotes the old saying in this Forbes article, “People Quit Their Bosses, Not Their Jobs [1]“. Do you really want to be the reason you keep losing good talent?

Your staff looks to you for guidance on how to conduct themselves, as well as how your company is run. A good leader inspires [2] staff and doesn’t make them cower under their desks.

Owning Your Leadership Style

If you’ve been to business school or any kind of leadership training, you might be familiar with Lewin’s Three Leadership Styles [3]. These date back to 1939, and while others have been identified since then, these styles of leadership still ring true today:

Each of these leadership types (as well as others) has its benefits and drawbacks. The key is understanding which comes naturally to you, as well as which your staff responds best to.

For example, if you identify with the autocratic style, but your staff seems afraid to come to you with ideas or issues, try on the democratic hat for a week or two and see if results change. It’s better to align yourself with your staff’s needs than stick to what’s easiest for you.

The better the leader you are, the happier your employees will be. And a small business with happy employees makes for a successful company.

Excited Team [5] Photo via Shutterstock