By Rieva Lesonsky
You may think all it takes to get on the track to small business success is an infusion of seed capital or a new influx of working capital, but if you aren’t a good leader your business is likely destined for failure—or at least a lot of employee turnover. What makes a great leader? When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re not only the business owner but you’re also a motivator, nurturer, educator and mentor all rolled into one.
Sound impossible? Not really, if you understand the difference between being a manager and a leader. Entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin says being a manager and being a leader are completely different. According to Godin, “Managers try to get people to do what they did yesterday but a little faster, and a little cheaper with a few less defects.” Like most entrepreneurs, you’ve most likely both managed and lead, and feel the most comfortable in one of those roles. If being a leader does not come naturally, you’ll either have to hire one or learn how to lead. Here are some good leadership principles to follow:
– There’s no point to surrounding yourself with people who always agree with you. Get rid of your “yes men” or encourage them to offer their own opinions. Why bother to put together a staff of creative, talented people if you’re not going to listen to them? Encourage a debate and listen to everyone’s opinions.
– The psychology of being a good leader means learning what makes an employee tick. Get to know your team. Don’t invade their privacy; however, by understanding an employee’s motives behind his or actions and decisions, you can tailor your leadership style to his or her needs.
– Sometimes you just need to let go. The best leaders teach and then stand back and let the employees handle the job their way. Step in only if you see glaring mistakes being made, but if your employees can figure out what works and what doesn’t work on their own, it’s a learning experience for the next task.
– Be a believer in your employees and always support and encourage them. When your employees know you always have their backs, they’ll always have yours.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports