“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”-John Maxwell.
Being a leader in business is more than just having a position of authority. It’s about using that power to impact people inside and outside of the company positively. Whether growing your team or advocating for change, these tips will help you become a leader that people trust and respect.
Leaders in business are decisive and able to make difficult decisions quickly. For new leaders, establishing oneself as a competent decision-maker is paramount. When your employees know that they can trust your judgment, they’ll follow whatever you say with confidence and enthusiasm. In addition, competent decisions appeal to employees’ emotional and rational thought processes. Therefore, it can affect a leader’s ability to establish social influence within the organization.
Decisiveness is the ability to make clear and timely decisions with the appropriate amount of relevant information. Decisiveness is essential to effectively executing plans and achieving goals in the workplace. Most importantly, decisive leaders make decisions that are clear and unquestioned. Successful leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact themselves, their employees, customers, stakeholders, and their organizations. We tend to view such leaders as decisive and able to communicate actions and goals to stakeholders.
How to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills
Defining the Problem: Before making a decision, it is vital to understand the problem at hand. Applying decisions or solutions will only create new issues when problems are not fully understood. Conversely, the more we know about the problem, the more likely we understand the root cause and develop corrective actions so the problem will not reoccur. Understanding the problem is the first step in problem-solving.
Defining the problem involves diagnosing the situation to focus on the illness rather than its symptoms. For example, fear of public speaking only becomes a problem when your career is dependent on speaking to large groups of people. Frequently, finding or identifying a problem is more important than the actual solution.
Business problems are current or long-term challenges and issues faced by a business. These may hinder a company’s ability to execute strategy and reach objectives. In some instances, business problems also threaten the long-term survival of a firm.
Determining the optimal desired outcome: Desired business outcomes’ are clear, specific, and measurable. Examples of business outcomes include: increased retention rates, improved acquisition rates, increased revenue, reduced costs, process improvements or efficiencies, culture change, increased profitability, increased word of mouth, increased sales conversion, and more upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Identify Optimal Solutions: The first step in developing a solution is defining a problem, determining the cause, identifying, prioritizing, selecting alternative solutions. Consider the following framework:
- Define the optimal outcomes into measurable objectives and then begin brainstorming possible solutions.
- Analyze and compare all the alternatives regarding the resources required for their implementation, including time, data, personnel, and budget.
- Use economic or non-economic metric criteria to evaluate proposed solutions against defined objectives.
- Eliminate irrelevant proposals and rank the viable solutions aligned with the established goals.
Weigh the Risk of Proposed Solutions: Understanding the risks means that an option is accepted if the sum of all individual benefits outweighs the risks. For example, consider the following seven types of business risk:
Economic Risk: The economy is in a constant state of change. As markets fluctuate, affecting consumer and business confidence. Keep a reserve fund and maintain a steady cash flow to offset financial risk. Additionally, practicing lean budget principles, including low overhead through all business cycles.
Compliance Risk: Non-compliance with government regulations or labor standards may result in fines or business closure. Regularly reviewing government regulations and industry standards is paramount. If required, consult legal expertise.
Data Security Risk: Loss of data can impact company reputation and make the company vulnerable to liable suites. Data security must focus on solutions, fraud detection, employee and customer education about protecting their data.
Financial Risk: High debt levels can expose the company to fluctuations in interest rates. Implement practices that maintain low and decreasing levels of debt. Reduce dependency on any one single client. It is critical to keep the company’s finances in good order.
Reputation Risk: Unhappy customers, product failures, negative press, or lawsuits can adversely impact a company’s brand reputation. As a result, it is crucial to monitor what stakeholders say about the company online and offline. The company must be ready to respond to comments and address stakeholder concerns immediately.
Operational Risk: Operational risks are many and wide-ranging, from internal and external to unexpected natural disasters, fire damages, or an event that destroys the physical business. These potential threats must be addressed through training and a business continuity plan.
Competition Risk: Competition risk involves a company leader becoming so comfortable with their success and the status quo. Risk management means a company must continually reassess performance, refine its strategy, and maintain solid and interactive relationships with stakeholders.
Making the Decision: Making the decision involves implementing the chosen solution via a plan based on established objectives, focusing on goals, metrics and considering possible risks.
Leaders must be good at motivating people and working together towards a common goal.
Motivation is the driving force behind human action. Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and reinforces goal-oriented behaviors. A motivational leader inspires employees with enthusiasm and urgency. This leadership-style makes people feel valued by investing time and learning about their priorities, strengths, and goals. A motivated leader recognizes the value of hard work and encourages their employees’ potential by providing them with meaningful work and growth opportunities.
Leaders in business need to think on their feet and devise creative solutions to problems.
Problem-solving is the primary funtion of leaders in business. As leaders, the goal is to minimize the occurrence of problems. Leaders must tackle issues head-on before circumstances overwhelm their ability to act. They see around, beneath, and beyond the problem itself.
Creative problem-solving (CPS) is a method of solving problems or identifying opportunities when conventional thinking has failed. It encourages you to find fresh perspectives and come up with innovative solutions so that you can formulate a plan to overcome obstacles and reach your goals. Leaders with CPS skills can stimulate, challenge, and inspire others to continually pursue innovations and devise creative solutions to feed future organizational growth and success.
Leadership requires having a solid understanding of financials, marketing, and operations.
Leaders devise the vision and goals for the company and then communicate those to managers. Managers then recognize the potential problems and utilize their functional expertise to mobilize the company’s assets and capacities towards achieving the leader’s vision. Having a vision provides purpose to an organization. However, without understanding the business apparatus, realizing a vision may be impossible.
The levers of business can be broken down into functions, for example, operations, marketing, finance, or human resources. Business functions are the things it does: production, sales, marketing, research, and billing, for example. The organizational structure defines the relationship and interactions between the parts of your business and identifies how decisions and actions become business outputs.
Finance, marketing, operations, or human resources, are the groupings of a company’s capabilities and processes that describe its work. Business functions also ensure an organization runs smoothly and does well for its customers, employees, leaders, and shareholders. A company can have one primary business function or may have several.
Managing and leading are two complementary qualities that are invariably linked. Leadership is about knowing where the organization needs to go, whereas management is concerned with how to get there. Leaders inspire and motivate, whereas managers plan, organize, and coordinate.
Finally, leaders in business must be able to build relationships with clients and employees alike.
A leader may provide shared vision and supervision; however, leaders must also develop positive relations with the people they intend to lead. Leaders must cultivate strong relationships in order to inspire people to become more than they imagined they could be and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Seven Ways To Cement Relationships With Your Team
Develop a culture of listening: Leaders need to listen and understand their employees. For instance, running meetings in a way that ensures everyone has a voice and feels heard. What’s more, leaders should allow everyone to communicate concerns and ideas. This approach produces better meeting outcomes in less time, engenders employees with the courage to act, and leaves the team feeling positive and motivated.
Learn to Recognize Emotion in Others: Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize emotion in others. EI helps leaders recognize emotional states allowing them to demonstrate empathy and adapt communication styles. Leaders who can effectively command EI build higher levels of trust, are better liked and can cultivate loyalty.
Use Praise: Praise can be a great motivator when it is authentic since it fosters positive emotions and can boost performance. Leaders should have the ability to clearly identify an individual’s contribution to the company and its impact on the organization’s overall performance. Sharing this knowledge boost positive emotions amongst team members creating a motivational effect.
Act like a Leader: A leader’s role isn’t to be everyone’s best friend but to behave in a leaderly fashion that inspires confidence. A leader provides a vision and objectivity. In short, a leader must be someone your team can trust and rely on to demonstrate fairness, empathy, compassion, and firm boundaries.
Set Expectations: One way to ensure everyone knows what is expected is by simply telling them. Don’t be afraid of articulating your expectations, and ensure they are reinforced daily. Once a leader understands a team’s strengths, setting challenging goals can help everyone develop and grow.
Ask Questions: This way of communicating has several benefits. First, it signals interest in employees, both personally and professionally. A questioning and coaching leadership style allows individuals to be solutions-focused and concurrently empower individuals to act.
Develop Shared Values: Values are the internal rules by which we make decisions and take action. In short, they govern our behavior. Furthermore, establishing a shared set of values cements relationships between colleagues and stakeholders. When individuals agree upon a set of values, it reinforces the company’s mission and a leader’s vision.
Leadership In Summary
Leaders are invaluable when it comes to formulating and communicating new directions and communicating with and motivating employees to increase dedication to organizational goals. Leadership skills training is necessary to ensure that leaders are on the right track. Leaders come in all forms, but the one common thread that ties them together is their ability to inspire others. Whether through determination, confidence, or charisma, a good leader can motivate people to achieve great things. If you want to be a successful leader in your field, start by developing these key qualities. And if you need help getting started, our team at timewellscheduled.com is here to guide you on your journey to success. What have been some of your biggest challenges as a leader? How did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments below!