Entrepreneurs have many different roles and responsibilities as they get their business underway. There are often in charge of finances, marketing, sales, inventory, and production. Although maybe not initially, there will come a day when an entrepreneur will also direct the human resources department. Sourcing highly qualified talent is practically useless if you can’t motivate them and lead toward promoting your business vision and carrying out the strategies devised in your business plan. In order to do so, you need well-developed leadership skills that can carry you through the early challenges of a business startup.
In the beginning, you might not have the funding or income for full-time employees, but there are also some things that you won’t be able to do on your own. You can still get the work done that you need by hiring freelancers. This is an inexpensive way to get help with areas of operations that you aren’t comfortable with or that need some extra attention. Rather than simply hiring friends or families for temporary help, invest in the long-term potential that freelances or part-time employees could bring to your business. A strong relationship with an independent contractor could lead to the ability to acquire them full-time once your business has grown and can support the salary expense. Once you are able to sustain full-time employees, your leadership skills will be tested. If you can be a great leader, you can avoid costly expenses of employee turnover, hiring, and training new employees. Here are some ways you can craft your leadership skills to develop your employees as assets for your company.
Even though you won’t always be in the trenches with your employees, occasionally working alongside them will help you understand your employees and their needs. It also gives them a chance to understand your visions and goals more personally. As an entrepreneur, you can take over some customer service tasks and respond to inquiries or complaints yourself. You can follow sales calls or post new content on the company’s social media sites. Knowing the details and challenges of the jobs you are asking your employees you to do, you know best how to equip them to be successful in them.
Being in charge of a business that you started from scratch doesn’t make you awesome. It makes you motivated, diligent, hard-working, and fortunate. Keeping your humility as you manage your business and employees will build a more sustainable corporate culture. One of the ways to remain humble is admitting when you have made a mistake or steered the company in the wrong direction. This does not undermine your authority or your ability. It gives everyone a chance to learn from the situation and move forward together. Sharing obstacles and how you have been able to overcome them gives you more credibility with your employees. It also builds transparency and trust between members of your team and with yourself.
While you will be keen on promoting the success of your employees and pushing them to strive for excellence, you must also recognize they are human and will suffer from imperfections that can affect their performance. Don’t berate or judge your team members when expected sales or results fall short or aren’t immediately achieved. Spend the time working on existing skills and developing new ones. Use creative and constructive measure that allows an employee to learn from a mistake rather than shaming or scolding them that it happened. Allow your employees their imperfection, and patiently work with them to make progress.
Although you can command compliance with your policies and expected behavior because you can threaten disciplinary actions or unemployment, you can’t force people to like you or do what you say willingly. A good leader is able to inspire people to follow them because of a mission statement or value system. It won’t even be your success that makes you inspiring. Mark Stevens is one of the wealthiest venture capitalists on the scene, but his wealth isn’t in how much money he earns, but how he appreciates and inspires the people around him. Sharing your mission with employees, clearly and concisely, can help establish the groundwork for why you and your business goals are mutually beneficial to them. Rather than forcing people to follow you, live out your passions and values as Mr. Stevens does and watch the difference it makes.
Entrepreneurs might be great in their area of expertise, but they don’t know everything about business and leadership. To be a good leader, you need to be willing to keep learning and finding applications for tips, tricks, and tools that you pick up along the way. This falls in line with remaining humble. There is always more to learn to develop your management skills, improve your business operations, and understand the market. Take the time to learn about your team, your industry, your financials, your competition, and your potential. You can instill confidence in your team members by demonstrating you don’t know everything but are willing to learn and grow. This also shows that your business has room to grow since you aren’t limited by the current state of information or knowledge.
You can either turn your employees into your greatest assets or your greatest headaches. Cultivating your leadership skills will help you become the boss that good employees want to have.