Stacy Talks & Reviews: Becoming a Confident Business Leader: Where to Start

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Becoming a Confident Business Leader: Where to Start

For many people, the idea of being “a leader” can fill them with dread. The notion of having to be in charge of anything can instantly throw metaphorical walls up. This is why everybody can benefit from having their moment in the sun, and being in charge can offer so many positives. Those people who are in charge of a business and slowly learning how to develop this properly can all benefit from improving leadership abilities. But what are the best ways to do this?

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

This is beneficial in business, but also in the person. Awareness is key to development. When we understand the combination of strengths and weaknesses, this provides a solid foundation for growth and development. One of the biggest obstacles we can all face is ourselves. We can have a belief that if we opt for self-preservation rather than growth or even admitting that we have a weakness, this pulls the wool over people's eyes, and we can get away with it. Identifying our strengths and weaknesses gives us a starting point to grow. 

Sometimes the solutions can be very simple; for example, streamlining our operations to avoid overwhelm. In any industry, whether it's manufacturing or construction, there are plenty of tools to make things simple. A construction time sheet template is one such approach that provides an entryway into working smart rather than working hard. A business leader should understand the importance of using the right pieces on the chessboard to accomplish certain tasks, rather than mistakenly believing that the leader has to do everything. 

The art of delegating and outsourcing are two vital approaches that will make a massive difference, but it all begins with identifying both strengths and weaknesses. A simple SWOT analysis can work wonders here.

Set Concrete Goals

We can be of the belief that our abilities to lead should be innate. However, the path to success is not about luck; it's having a vision with the appropriate steps to get there. We should invest time in clarifying our goals and solidifying them. 

A plan could benefit from a framework such as the SMART acronym, but you need to set meaningful benchmarks along the way. We can't fly blind, which is why proper planning and preparation are critical. When we have a methodology that guides our business through the weeks, months, and years, we don't have to keep relying on instinct or fear to guide us. The best leaders always have a plan A and plan B, but more importantly, they test both. A/B testing in business normally refers to products or software, but you can easily apply it to your leadership as well. 

Once you achieve a particular goal, you then raise the bar a little higher, consistently working to achieve greatness, which doesn't just benefit your business but gives your employees a sense of pride and meaning, and you will slowly and surely develop your leadership skills. We want to be able to look back 12 months from now and see that when we look at the big picture, we've actually learned a lot, but took little steps to achieve it.

Understand Leadership Styles

Knowing your particular leadership style will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. There are different management styles in business, and the one that closely aligns with you may help you make better decisions. There are eight different management styles:

  1. Authoritative, who is someone who can work well in a crisis or under time pressure.

  2. Democratic, which is very useful when an organization wants to develop talent from the inside.

  3. Laissez-faire, which is a style that works with self-motivated or experienced employees.

  4. Transformational, who works in a values-driven company where employees are willing to take the right risks.

  5. Collaborative, which is an excellent approach when there's open communication and a clear objective that could benefit from more innovative ideas.

  6. Transactional, which is useful for managing short-term goals and a strict time limit.

  7. Coaching, which is an approach that works for those who value long-term progress and have small teams.

  8. Visionary, which is a method of leadership that benefits companies that need to make significant changes.

If you recognize your approach to leadership in any one of these styles and feel it's delivering results, you can carry on. However, you may benefit from incorporating a different approach to managing. Identifying your style can involve various approaches, such as understanding the company culture or taking a leadership assessment to identify strengths and opportunities for growth. 

Confidence is partly about ensuring you understand who you are, and being comfortable in your own skin. You may not like the idea of putting yourself in a box, but understanding your current leadership style or what style you would want to be provides greater opportunities.

Demonstrate Passion

Our approaches to work are always formed by the people we've worked for. We can become inspired by a certain type of team leader who is constantly enthusiastic, and we can easily be dismissive of this attitude when it's a type of role that isn't going to set the world on fire, for example, admin. However, as a leader, it's your responsibility to demonstrate passion for the work. Running a business should mean that you automatically have a passion for it because it's come out of you, but the skill lies in inspiring others. 

Inspiring employees can encapsulate a number of different strategies:

  • Paying attention to and communicating expectations by showing genuine interest in your employees' well-being.

  • Establishing trust within the culture, and providing employees with the autonomy to make better decisions in their roles.

  • Offering employee rewards, incentives, and recognizing accomplishments can motivate and inspire.

  • Provide opportunities for learning and growth by supporting your employees to elevate their individual value.

Because a group of employees can feel like one of many, we've got to flip this on its head. While you may have a passion for the business, your employees may not share it. Fostering a positive work environment that promotes innovation and teamwork will reap dividends in the long run, but of course, it all comes from you. Modeling the behavior you expect from your employees is a lot of work; however, if you are incredibly passionate about your work, this will shine through naturally.

Seek Feedback

A leader shouldn't be someone who is completely authoritative. While you may have one of those types of approaches to leadership, you should actively seek feedback from colleagues or mentors. This will give you a better understanding of your leadership style and also identify where you can improve. 

We should strive to learn from others. In fact, we should strive to learn because it is going to provide us with a template to be constantly improving our abilities. Whether it's learning how to promote your business properly or understanding how people can do their jobs better, feedback is one of those things that some leaders actively avoid because they think it means giving in to some form of weakness or criticism. 

Criticism is something that can and should be constructive. If we seek feedback and it's incredibly negative or berating of our abilities, this will instantly get our back up. However, this goes back to setting that example for others.

A confident business leader is someone who is at ease in not just how to run a business but in who they are. We should strive to create an environment that inspires, engages the workforce, and improves results. But it all begins with us.

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