When you start a new business as an entrepreneur or takeover an existing one, you often have to assume a wide range of responsibilities, starting from deciding your niche of business, developing the business, marketing and selling your products or services, maintaining accounts, keeping track of the inventory, appointing the right people, and above all maintaining cash flow.
It is highly unlikely that you will be more than efficient doing each of these tasks, and would be better advised to concentrate on your core expertise and experience and bring in other people more suited to perform each of the much-needed tasks for making a success of the business venture. You will then have a core team that can perform all the needed functions. Any team can only be as good as its leader, and here is where you need to develop the necessary skills to be an effective business leader.
You can be a well-rounded business leader if you start with refraining from bossing over the team you have gathered around you, but instead just working in close context with them. You must work alongside those who consider you their leader, and this will often require you to get your hands dirty and learn to undertake any task that you are delegating to the others.
You must understand the work that the people you lead carry out. You must also be capable of doing the same task yourself while understanding that though you may not do it as well as they do because they have the expertise that you do not. By doing so, you will have a better understanding of their work and will be more appreciative of their efforts.
A good business leader is always humble and never full of his importance and position. Allow your team members to make mistakes, and even acknowledge ones that you make yourself. Inculcate in your team an ability to learn from their mistakes and develop systems and procedures that allow for corrective measures and future guidance to avoid these mistakes. Difficulties will arise during the conduct of any business.
Confront these obstacles and even discuss it with your team, so that any way to overcome them comes from a collective effort and thinking that all agree to. This will ensure that you build up a cohesive culture where every member of your team feels that he or she is very much a part of it, and both success and failure are part of the business and are required to be taken in the right spirit.
Do not ask for perfection in the way people perform their tasks and duties, and do not judge members of your team when they stumble or make mistakes. Help them to get over them, identify their weaknesses and find ways to overcome them by reskilling or by creating new skills. Never scold a team member for a mistake, but point it out and help them to analyse the reason why they erred. A good leader understands that any progress requires patience.
A good business leader always tries to inspire the members of the team to achieve well planned and laid out goals. People must follow you because they accept your leadership and not because you have a dominant position in the company. They must believe in any mission or goals that you have laid down, and this is more likely if you discuss them with the team, the need for them and the ways you can achieve what you have set out to do. Involve them in the setting of these goals and mission and appreciate any valid suggestions that they make. This is the way you can become a well-rounded leader and have a clear and concise mission that inspires the members of your team to give of their best efforts.
The process of learning never stops and as a leader, you must always be aware of the latest developments in your field and how they can affect your business. Encourage the members of your team to also always upgrade their knowledge and skills in a way that can benefit your business. Encourage any innovation and new ideas, always giving full credit to those that show such initiative. This attitude will help your team members to gain confidence because their efforts are constantly being acknowledged, and any new knowledge benefits every member of the team besides its leader.
Your style of leadership must be one that is suited to your business and the aims that it has. If you are highly dependent on the customers and their needs, be always aware of any feedback that you get, and ensure that the members of your team have this same attitude when they are dealing with customers. Make sure that you also have a good reputation in the community and with all the people that you work for. Develop a reputation for reliability and being decisive, as these are traits that enhance your position as a leader.
Never be in the habit of conducting long and interminable meetings. Respect the time of the people in your team, and communicate with them in ways that are quick and do not require too much effort from either side. Make meetings agenda-driven, meaningful and result-oriented.
A good business leader will always evaluate any information that he gets quickly, and will always correctly estimate any difficulties that will come in the way of the business. Try to foresee problems and look for ways to get around them so that they do not hamper your team in any way.