Leadership:
Characteristics of a Good Leader

Successful business owners need to develop the characteristics of a good leader in order to grow their business. While each individual's style and approach to leadership will obviously vary according to their individual temperament and values, good confident leaders tend to have a particular set of qualities.

Business Coaching Insight:

Personal growth helps business owners become more confident in the role of leader

The key factor that underpins many of these leadership characteristics is self confidence.

The more confident you are in your role as a leader the more likely you are to be effective.

It is precisely because of this that personal growth is important for business owners because it's very difficult to be an effective leader if you don't feel secure about your own performance.

It obviously makes sense to educate yourself about leadership in order to gain in confidence but sometimes it may simply require a change in perspective.

Mental Shifts for Confident Leaders

When a business owner feels confident that they're a good leader it allows them to:

  1. Keep Things Simple

    Confident leaders are focused on their team and keep looking for ways to simplify things so they can be more productive.

    By contrast, insecure leaders tend to over-complicate things. 

  2. Aim for Excellence Rather than Perfection

    Business owners who are 'technical' experts often fall into the trap of setting perfection as the standard.

    They start out as technicians but when they move into running their own business they require a whole different skill set that puts them outside their comfort zone.

    They tend to divert these feelings into judging and criticizing the work of their technical employees to make themselves feel better. 

    As a result of being judged negatively against the technical skills of their boss, these employees end up feeling disillusioned. 

    There is obviously an important distinction between striving for excellence and perfection. If you aim for perfection you focus on what's not quite right instead of seeing all the good points. 

  3. See employees as partners

    Sometimes new business owners have beliefs about what it means to be a leader that really hold them back.

    Two common beliefs that small business owners have about being a leader are quite counter-productive.

    These are: 1) Thinking you need to be brutal like Donald Trump in 'The Apprentice'! and 2) Thinking you need to have all the answers.

    Good leaders surround themselves with a diverse range of people and invite their participation rather than dominating the decision making. 

  4. Give Recognition

    It's fairly common for small business owners to think that the only thing they need to do to show their appreciation for the work their staff do is to pay them.

    When you treat your staff as commodities like this it creates a very transactional relationship – “you do a job, I pay you money for it.”

    The result of this is that your employees will see their job as a pay packet too.

    One of the characteristics of a good leader is giving your staff recognition for the work they do. It costs you nothing but it can have a major impact on motivation, productivity and loyalty to your business. 

    As you develop your leaderships skills and grow in confidence, you may find this comes to you more naturally. Your ego will be strong enough to handle giving other people praise and allowing them to share in the limelight. 

Business Coaching Questions:

  • What characteristics of a good leader do you possess already?
  • Which characteristics would you like to develop?
  • What beliefs do you have about leadership that may need changing?

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