According to Jon Smith, CEO of HireYourTalent, it is essential in times of economic crisis to develop your leadership skills in your company.
Jon Smith says the high rate of small business bankruptcies in United States is often because of leadership deficiencies in key areas such as human resources management, strategic planning and soft skills.
“Leadership is the driving force behind best practices, innovation and productivity. Not surprisingly, there is a strong correlation between leadership development and business results,” he adds.
Whether you run a small business or a large organization, you can develop your leadership skills through these best practices in leadership:
1. Understanding the importance of leadership
“A visionary leader ensures that he clearly understands where the company is going. Your role is to be a person of influence who motivates his or her troops and displays a positive naturalness. You want your employees to be enthusiastic and supportive of your goals. If, for example, you need to improve your customer service, you need to set clear goals and mobilize your staff to achieve them. You may need to hold systematic one-on-one meeting with your team members to monitor progress,” he explains.
2. Know your strengths and weaknesses and then delegate to others.
A good leader must also know his skills and personality. “Make sure you know your strengths, weaknesses and shortcomings. Once you’re aware of these, you’ll be better able to focus on what you do best, while knowing exactly where you’re likely to need help,” says Jon. For example, you could strengthen a weak point in your skills by hiring an outside consultant.
“You can’t do everything by yourself. The inability to delegate is probably one of the biggest challenges for many entrepreneurs, who often practice micromanagement,” Jon insists.
Jon encourages entrepreneurs to recognize and build on the strengths of other team members. “It’s important to learn how to surround yourself with the competent staff. Through delegation, you also develop your employees, which is essential to the long-term stability of your organization, especially in times of economic instability. People rise to the challenges.”
3. Set up a coaching
“Leadership training is also important to ensure that employees have the skills needed to move your business forward, especially in tough times,” says Jon.
Your employees may not have the right problem-solving skills to help your company overcome common challenges such as operational inefficiencies and low productivity.
“Traditional formal training programs may not motivate staff. These days, it is better for experienced managers to train team members and pass on their knowledge,” he adds.
4. Be transparent with your employees
Good communication skills are also essential for leaders to perform well.
“The first step is to be transparent with employees and to tell them exactly where the company is and what their role is,” advises Jon.
“Be yourself and don’t hide behind a mask. Your employees need all the information you can give them to help you achieve your company’s goals. Withholding information can only get you into trouble along the way.”
5. Earning the respect of others, not love or fear
“Leadership is not a popularity contest. Your goal is to be respected, not feared. You have to show that you are fair in your dealings, competent and good as a coach,” says Jon.
Strong leaders must also be able to make tough decisions and focus on results. “Don’t be afraid to put your cards on the table and face conflicts and challenges head-on, but with tact. In the end, people will respect you more because of your transparency.”
6. Rewarding staff
Another excellent leadership strategy is to treat others as you would like them to treat you. “Always thank those who have done a good job. It’s a simple gesture that increases performance,” says Jon.
Besides the obvious benefits such as pay and bonuses, people really need honest feedback. “When you ask employees to work hard, especially in difficult times, show that you appreciate a job well done, which will also help build employee’s loyalty,” he says.
Last tip for effective leadership strategy: “Business networking is a leader’s best friend, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises,” says Jon.
“Entrepreneurs often need to network with other business owners, especially to share experiences and learn from each other.” Effective leaders know how to make connections and build beneficial partnerships and alliances.