Are you looking to become a better business leader? Whether you are taking on your first leadership role and you are worried about how you will manage, or you have a number of years of experience and are simply looking to improve, there are always different options and ways to improve your abilities. People often say that leadership is a skill that you have or you don’t, which is not true. While some people naturally possess many of the skills that leadership requires, you will find that many of these traits can be learned and developed. So, keep reading if you are looking to become a better business leader.
Identify and Work on Weaknesses
A good starting point is to identify and work on your weaknesses. If you never improve your weaknesses as a business leader, your ceiling will remain low, and it will be hard to excel. Sometimes, it is obvious what your weaknesses are, but other times it is not so obvious. This is why it is worth asking for feedback from your team, clients, and anyone else that you regularly come into contact with.
Improving your weaknesses can be challenging and often confronting, but this is also one of the best ways to improve. Many people avoid working on their weaknesses, so if you really want to stand out and improve, then this is a smart first step to take and can often improve other aspects of your life too.
Listen to Staff and Encourage Idea Sharing
When it comes to leadership, listening is an underappreciated skill. Great leaders are those that always listen to others and value the input of their team. Not only is this a way to gain new perspectives and to bring new ideas to the table, but it is also helpful for making staff feel valued and for creating a stronger bond. You need to have this strong bond to find success as a leader, and making people feel valued is key for this.
In addition to this, you should always encourage your team members to come forward when they have ideas, questions, or concerns. Good communication is the foundation of leadership, and this communication needs to go both ways.
Provide Regular Feedback
Following on from this, you should also make sure that you are providing regular positive feedback to your team and telling them when they are doing a good job. Many business leaders refrain from feedback, but this can cause uncertainty and make people worried that they are not meeting expectations. Regular feedback can keep your team happy and motivated and create a positive atmosphere in the workplace that is so important for productivity and morale.
Improve Employee Wellbeing
It is hard to succeed in your role if you do not prioritize employee wellbeing, especially in times like these where COVID-19 has taken its toll on people’s lives in many different ways. When you prioritize employee wellbeing, staff will feel happy and supported and be able to work to the best of their abilities. This can also help to create a stronger bond between management and employees, which could help you to keep hold of your top performers and prevent high staff turnover. There are many ways that you can improve employee wellbeing, such as:
- Remote and flexible work
- Improving the work environment
- Social events
- Career progression opportunities
- Checking in on a regular basis
Develop Your Team
One of the best things that you can do as a business leader is to develop your team. Not only will this help to improve your workforce and take the business forward without having to recruit new staff, but you will also find that it helps to keep employees happy and motivated. Most workers have aspirations of climbing the ladder and advancing their career, so it is a good idea to communicate with team members to identify what their goals are. You can then find ways to help them achieve this within the company, which will keep all parties happy and help to take the business forward.
Embrace New Tech
These days, business leaders need to be familiar with and have a strong understanding of the latest tech. Tech can be used in all kinds of different ways to boost the business, and if you do not keep pace, then you could fall behind the times. You can keep up to date with the latest tech developments by reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and following relevant social media pages. You might also find it useful to communicate with other business leaders and/or those that have a strong knowledge of tech. There are currently a number of key types of technology that you should be aware of as a business leader, including:
- Cloud computing
- Artificial intelligence
- Internet of Things
- AR and VR
You always hear that networking is important in business, which is certainly true, particularly when it comes to business leaders. Having a large professional network is always useful as you will find people that will be able to help you to overcome challenges, people that you can learn from and improve your professional reputation. You should make an effort to network in person, as this is how you form the strongest connections and then use social media to maintain these relationships over time. Crucially, make sure that relationships are not one-sided, so always be willing to help out those in your network when you are able to.
Earn an MBA
One of the most effective ways to improve your abilities as a business leader is with an MBA. An MBA will help to develop key business skills, including the ability to lead and manage teams as well as execute effective business strategies. You will want to find an MBA that offers experiential learning, as this can make a big difference to your abilities, especially if you are new to leadership. The reason why MBA experience makes a difference is that you will get to apply what you learn in a real setting, which is the best way to sharpen your skills and build confidence. Completing an MBA should help to boost your abilities and confidence so that you can take the business forward, be a better leader and excel in your role.
Learn From Your Mistakes
As a business leader, it is important to accept that you will make mistakes. Even the most successful and famous business leaders will have made multiple mistakes over their careers, but the key difference is that they will shape these mistakes as learning opportunities. When you can use a mistake as a chance to learn and improve, not only will you improve your abilities and avoid making the same mistake again, but you will also take the negativity out of the action. Many business leaders make a mistake and then struggle to rebuild their confidence, which could then cause issues in other areas of the business. Instead, take some time to reflect on the mistake without dwelling on it and then move on.
Learn From Others
One of the best aspects of leadership is that it is such a well-trodden path, and there are always others that you can learn from and not just in business. Historical leaders, sporting figures, entrepreneurs, and even people in your life can all be inspirational, and there is a lot that you can learn. If possible, finding a mentor can be hugely helpful for those getting started in leadership and help you to avoid many of the common mistakes. In addition to this, there are many excellent books on leadership along with blogs, podcasts, and online communities to learn from.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to leadership is micromanaging employees. Not only is this a waste of your time, but it can also put unnecessary pressure on staff and create a tense feeling in the workplace. Instead, you should encourage autonomy so that people can find their best way of working and feel trusted. In addition to this, encouraging autonomy will free up time so that you can focus on the big picture and taking the business forward.
Setting goals is a smart way to ensure that the entire organization is always moving forward and improving. As a business leader, you should set challenging but achievable goals for individual team members, teams, and the organization as a whole. You then need to keep track of these targets and find ways to keep people motivated and engaged with their targets. When any target is achieved, the company should celebrate these together to create positive feelings and a culture of support and togetherness.
Being a business leader is a huge challenge and one that many struggle with. There are always ways to improve, though, and there are few things as rewarding as becoming a better leader and taking your company forward to new heights while forming stronger connections with your team.