Being a small business owner and being a small business leader are two different things. However, as a small business owner, it’s important that you are also an effective leader or that you have a partner (or someone else) in the organisation who is. But what does it take to be an effective leader? Following are the 7 key skills to have.

  1. Be a great listener – As a leader, it’s important to really listen and understand what not only your customer say but also your employees. Both can be a great source of new ideas as well as providing feedback on what isn’t working.
  2. Be a great communicator – Being able to communicate effectively is essential to ensure employees understand your goals and vision for the organisation as well as giving them an understanding of what is required from them.
  3. Be honest with yourself – Having a deep appreciation of not only your strengths but also your weaknesses is vital as it ensure you can build a team of people with the skills you lack.
  4. Be able to delegate – There is no point having a great team of people working for you if you don’t delegate effectively. This means not just giving employees task to do but empowering them to take ownership and feel free to do the things they do best. It’s also important to know when you need to get expert help from someone outside the business.
  5. Be willing to make mistakes – Nobody’s perfect and all good leaders understand this more than most. It’s important to make quick, confident decisions, even if they turn out to be wrong. Great leaders know they will make mistakes; it’s how they bounce back from them that matters.
  6. Be accountable – Set clear expectations for yourself and your team and make sure everyone is held accountable for their actions. Lead by example and ensure the standards you apply to employees are also applied to yourself.
  7. Be visionary – Have a clear vision for the future of your business and a plan for how you will achieve it. It should also be clearly communicated with all of the key stakeholders including employees and customers.

Being a leader doesn’t come naturally to most people but, with some work and self-discipline, it is possible to become one. The results, in terms of improved employee engagement and enhanced customer loyalty, make the effort worthwhile.