Fast Track To SuccessLeadership Development

Fast Track To Success 11; Ways To Lead

People follow their leaders' actions. There is nothing like 'do what I say and not what I do' in leadership; you show what to do. To be a successful entrepreneurial leader you must develop success habits that you would like to see in your team. When you do, you will not have a problem getting them to follow your lead or leave if they do not fit into the company culture.

Recently I did some work for a company where the CEO was hardly ever at work. Being at start-up stage (though it should have moved past this at least 5 years ago) there is not enough cash flow to keep the team but because of a sense of responsibility to the team, the owners continually pump money to keep the business afloat. However, this has not led to gratefulness but complacency. From this experience here are a couple other things you may want to do in your business;

1. Take responsibility and be hands on; if you do not take responsibility no one will. Taking responsibility means you are interested in every facet of the business and what is going on. While it is not micro-managing, it will ensure your team is aware you know what is going on and there will be no surprises.

2. Be courageous; there are many ways of showing courage. This includes taking calculated risk and seriously evaluating the business to monitor and stop shortcomings. It may involve firing people you are close to when they do not do their job or are dishonest. Courage means being able to receive and give constructive criticism and objectively look at the business.

Entrepreneurs often do not want their business to fail and try to make it work by pumping money into the business instead of addressing the real issues. Pumping money into businesses without the necessary effort in looking for solutions is a form of lying to yourself about its potential and is acting in a cowardly fashion. Avoid this even if you have the money as it stops you from looking for other creative solutions to problems that could either make your business or product better.

3. Be a problem solver; It is quite embarrassing to meet a leader of an organisation who is a whiner; one wonders what to expect from the team. Being a problem solver requires you seeking solutions and not getting stuck in or encouraging office politics. Always ask yourself how something can be done better or a goal accomplish. This energises both the team and yourself. Politicking and whining, on the other hand, sap everyone's energy.


4. Be persistent; business is hard and if you easily give up you will not be successful. Be and encourage your team to be persistent by working on problems together, listening to different ideas on addressing strategic issues and coming up with a plan together after brainstorming sessions. This will show your team a practical way to choose what to be persistent about. Dogged determination has its place in business however one should also know when it is time to stop and what not to bother pursuing.

5. Listening; this is a skill that is very important for a leader. Many entrepreneurs by nature are not very good listeners. However to be a leader in your organisation requires this skill. People will work better when they feel heard and it is in your best interest because you will often hire people who are much smarter than you (if you are planning to be successful). Listening will enable you understand your team better and drive your business in the right direction. More important, as your business grows, your team is closer to your customer than you are. If you do not listen to them you may miss out on what your customer is saying.

6. Delegate; the purpose of having a team is to accomplish great things, improve efficiency and bring out the best in each team member. The art of delegation must be learned, more so if you are a perfectionist. When you do not delegate, you get swamped with work that could have been done better by someone else fully or partially. You will also not be able to bring out the best in your team. Delegate and encourage the team to delegate and coach each other in different aspects of the business.

7. Live a balanced lifestyle; this will keep you healthy and make you more effective at work. While delegation helps with this, having a balanced lifestyle will also mean better time and task management skills. Knowing who does what best and improving processes free time for everyone. By encouraging the same with your team, a healthy work environment is created. Remember that you spend a lot of time       with workmates and any toxic atmosphere affects their life work balance.

8. Work hard while focusing on results; there is no replacement for hard work. If you are lazy or are seen to be lazy on your team they will soon fill exploited (even when they are well rewarded). As long as you are working in the business, give it your best and naturally the rest of the team will do the same. If you can't help yourself then do not work in the business.

9. Manage your finances; one way your team members can easily lose respect for you is if you are not disciplined in managing your finances. This goes both ways; whether drawing from the business for personal use or using other sources of income to finance business activities, not keeping to budgets within the business or having none. Keep your personal business personal and your work separate. To do this, budgeting is crucial and making clear any financing the business has either from you or other financiers is important for yourself and your team.

10. Get a Manager if necessary; if you really can not commit time to lead your team because you have other commitments, you are better off getting a savvy hardworking manager so the team sees a leader they can emulate. This may be expensive but the other option is possibly not having a business at all; willingly or unwillingly.

Trust these will give you a good idea of habits you can develop and enforce that will help you be successful in leading your team and that the team can quickly emulate.

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