It’s a rare thing to get through your professional life without encountering less than great business leaders. You know the type: Demanding, dismissive, rule-by-fear style tyrants who end up causing harm to an organization in the long run.
You don’t want to be that person. And I’m sure you’re NOT that person. But hey, life is busy, and running a business is extremely stressful, and I know that we all need to stop every once and awhile to take a hard look at how we’ve been functioning as business leaders.
Ask Yourself the Hard Questions
I’m working with an amazing business coach at the moment (you know me and my love of self-care!) and she’s really forcing me to take a hard look at how I run Spodek & Co.
She’s also engaging the entire team and having them fill out questionnaires about working here, as well as asking them to do their own “gut checks” when it comes to work, etc.
Why would I put myself through this, you might ask? Well, the best answer is that often the boss is the last person to get honest feedback. And as human beings, we don’t get it right every time!
Which brings me to a few questions you should ask yourself periodically, sort of a “gut check” on how you are performing as business leaders.
- How do I interact with team members? Whether day-to-day, or in times of crisis?
- What is the impact of that interaction on others? How am I affecting their workday or performance output?
- What should I do differently?
- What should I do more of, less of, keep the same?
Now let’s take a look at a few of the top traits most successful business leaders have, and see if there are one or two you might want to brush up on.
Top Five Traits of Successful Business Leaders
1. Number one is definitely top-notch people skills. Try and remember that everyone is going through their own, unique lives, with stressors and bumps in the road. Make people feel valued and respected, and you’ll have a team who will go go that extra mile for you.
2. Speaking of teams, be a team builder, not a “team destroyer.” Allow for creativity and imagination and give staff the freedom to make decisions. And most importantly, allow them to sometimes try and fail. In fact, be their biggest advocate, nurture ideas, big and small, and encourage brainstorming. And make sure they have what they need to learn and grow.
3. Be fair. Treat everyone equally when it comes to fairness, no matter the circumstances. Don’t leave room for subjectivity, instead, have concrete expectations, processes and guideline in place, and stick to them.
4. Look inward. Self-awareness is often in short supply in our busy worlds. You are not perfect. Get to know and understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and check back in with yourself from time-to-time! Trust me, it will make you better business leaders.
5. Bring the enthusiasm! If you want to inspire excitement and drive in your teams, you better be the one that brings it to the table first. Lead by example (in all areas, really), and use your energy and emotion to instil that same feeling within your teams!
Build a Solid Foundation
Of course, there are many other traits that help business leaders be successful. The list is practically endless. But personally, I believe if you don’t start at the core – yourself and your teams – then you aren’t really laying solid foundation for sustainable success.
What do you think? Have you worked for that “ogre” leader in the past? How have you dealt with it? What traits do you believe best helps you run your company? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!