Think of the most inspiring leader you know. What makes him or her great? What qualities do you admire in that person? How do they inspire you to excel in your own efforts? Regardless of industry, profession, or position, there are certain attributes that all great leaders share in common. These 6 traits are characteristic of successful small business leaders:
1. Communicates Effectively
Great leaders know how to communicate with their employees and vendors. They should be able to:
- Set clear expectations and guidelines
- Provide helpful and honest feedback
- Lend an empathetic ear when concerns are raised
- Praise good work and encourage improvements when needed
2. Brings Perspective
The savviest leaders are always able to keep things in perspective based on what’s already happened, what’s happening now, and what might happen in the future. Seeing the whole picture, rather than focusing on the immediate goal or challenge, is what sets a leader apart from someone who merely manages operations.
3. Inspires Others
Leaders who make a lasting impact are those who inspire others by example. Their passion, drive, and enthusiasm rubs off on the people they work with and motivates them to constantly do better work.
4. Takes Responsibility
Strong leaders aren’t afraid to take responsibility for both successes and failures. They use mistakes as instruments of positive change, rather than denying faults or blaming them on others.
5. Behaves Consistently
Leadership positions require consistency. A leader who has inconsistent expectations, reactions, and needs is bound to frustrate employees.
6. Committed to Excellence
The fate of a small business is closely tied to the quality of its products, services, and operations. It’s only natural that a small business leader should be committed to excellence in all areas, whether its merchandise, staffing, bookkeeping, or marketing. A leader who strives for perfection, even though they know it can never be fully attained, is the kind of leader who inspires greatness in others.
The Bottom Line
As you read this list, you may be thinking that it’s a tall order to be a great leader. But keep in mind that great leaders aren’t born, but created. Consider your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and what you can do to up your game. You may also want to solicit feedback from trusted colleagues and employees to help you make an accurate assessment.
Every small business leader has the potential to be great. With passion, dedication, and a willingness to keep learning, your dream can become a reality.