Think you have what it takes to be a great leader?

For small business owners trying to achieve growth, there will be a variety of considerations such as cash flow, funding, available resource and winning new business. However, one element that is crucial to the success of a growing business is being a great leader – and not all business owners consider this from the outset.

Being a leader comes natural to some, and not others, but that does not mean to say that those for whom it is not a natural skill shouldn’t be leaders. There are some general pieces of guidance that can stand any would-be leader in good stead.

Be professional but personable

Whilst everyone expects ‘the boss’ to be just that, there is no reason not to be personable and approachable, which will help you get the best from your team and help them feel at ease enough to come to you with concerns, queries, suggestions and ideas.

Don’t be afraid to break away from conformity

People will look up to an innovative leader and an innovative leader is one who will not shy away from trying something new rather than following form. Inspiring the team with a fresh new approach will provide energy that will be helpful to business growth. Invite staff to get involved in different tasks to mix up their roles, where appropriate and feasible. Putting a fresh set of eyes on something can often unveil new ideas.

Have a red line you refuse to cross

Every business owner should have a red line they never cross. This is about ethics – so whether it’s about choosing the right clients or suppliers that mirror your ethics, or choosing a business route that stays true to your beliefs, this is an important part of business leadership. Not only does it set your moral standard but also this will feed from the top down, to ensure the ethos runs right through the organisation, no matter what the size.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

A leader who thinks they are the be all and end all of the organisation will come unstuck very quickly. Ego can creep up on the best of us, and those who get wrapped up in their own self-importance will not be inspirational to a budding team. Take the business seriously, by all means, but not yourself.

Balance the here-and-now with the vision

Getting involved in day-today operations can be time consuming and sometimes stifles forward planning. Always ensure you take time out to consider the future plan for the business as well as ensuring the day-to-day is running smoothly. When staff see you do this, they also feel assured their future is safe.

Don’t shy away from leadership – skills will grow as the business does, and whilst mistakes may be made along the way, they are all part and parcel of building an empire!