Development for Small Business Leaders
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Small business: Leadership development
by Mark Wager
When people think of leaders they usually imagine world leaders or heads of large multinational companies. When I deliver workshops on Introduction to Leadership, I ask the participants to think of who comes to mind when I say leader. The people who come to mind usually fall into one of two categories. The first is the global leader either of a country or a large organisation. The second is someone who has impacted them personally. This could be a teacher, a relative or a previous Manager. It’s usually someone who has inspired them to such a degree that their lives are influenced by them. Leadership is about inspiring people and that can happen regardless of the size of the company you work for. You can inspire people if you are a CEO of a large organisation just as easily as if you run your own small business. I stress that it’s just as easy but it’s a different type of leadership. There’s a different emphasis on skills depending on your position and size of company and effective leadership requires a different approach.
I work with small business leaders to develop their leadership skills which in turn improves the motivation of their team, their productively and ultimately the profits of their business. In this article I will highlight some of the key development areas that small business leaders require.
Development area: Awareness
If you are unlucky you could find yourself with a team that doesn’t feel comfortable bringing to your attention areas that you need to develop. In large organisations you may well be part of a chain of Managers where behaviours are often reviewed and observed. None of us are perfect and it’s easy for poor behaviours to creep in if we are not aware of them. I’ve trained leaders who fall into a trap of thinking the problem is with other people rather than with themselves. Awareness of how you react to situations and how people perceive your reactions is the key element of leadership.
Development area: Communication
When I develop communication skills of leaders who have the responsibility of leading large organisations the time they spent with each member of staff is limited. This means a lot of communication is directly from emails or via layers of management so a lot of development is focused on structuring emails and emphasising key messages to be fed down. With small businesses emails to your team needs to be minimal. Small business leaders key development communication areas are face to face communication and body language.
Development area: Motivation
People often fall into the trap of believing that motivation is a simple issue of providing financial rewards. Motivation is far more complex than that, everyone has a lock that keeps their commitment in check and a knowledge of motivation will give you the ability to unlock everyone's code. Money will always be important but if you want to be a motivating leader focus more on aligning peoples personal ambition to your businesses vision.
Development area: Team Building
When teams get larger, leaders need to be ware of the fundamentals of team building that turn effective individuals into elite teams. People perceive the world in very different ways and it's this understanding that governs how they interact with other people. This us why some people just "connect" while others seem like they are from different planets. It's this understanding of how people perceive the world differently that enables leaders to make teams understand each other better and become more effective.
Development area: Conflict management
The most commonly requested topic when I'm delivering leadership coaching is conflict management. A lot of leaders try to avoid conflict when in fact conflict is an essential element of every relationship. Conflict if managed correctly is a catalyst for improvement. I've been involved with teams for twenty five years and the one ingredient that every successful team I have ever witnessed is the ability to have honest open conversations without the team getting offended.
Business is tough and it's important to look for every single advantage that will give you the edge over your competitors. Developing your leadership skills is an area that could make the difference. The ability to motivate your team to be more innovative and committed will give you the edge that you have been looking for.
About the Author:
Mark Wager is a Leadership Coach who specialises in Team building and Leadership development with over twenty five years experience both in the United Kingdom and here in New Zealand. Mark is a best selling author and has written articles on leadership for magazines such as M2, Lifestyle for Men, NZ Management monthly and NZ business.
Posted: Monday 1 September 2014