Whether you are a startup founder or a small business owner, how you work with others and the personality you project can have a significant impact on the success of your company. From raising investor funding to acquiring new talent for your company, the leadership traits you display can make or break your business. Startup companies have successfully raised investor funding solely on the founder’s ability to exude confidence and leadership. Small businesses have secured major business-to-business contracts simply because the owner knew how to take charge of negotiations and appear dominant in their approach to business growth.
If you are an entrepreneur who wants to increase your leadership potential, there are a number of tactics you can integrate into your growth strategy. Remember the following leadership tips for entrepreneurs and you will be on your way toward improved business opportunities.
1. Focus your efforts on making a difference to your team members. Be willing to help them in their jobs, offer them advice on skill advancement opportunities, and show interest in them as people, not just as employees. Entrepreneurs who take an active role in helping their employees to become more talented and in-demand often find those employees are fiercely loyal to their employer. By helping your employees to become better versions of themselves, you show your staff that leadership isn’t about telling others what to do but instead helping them to see their own potential.
2. Helping others to feel empowered is a key skill to learn if you want to improve your entrepreneurial leadership skills. Knowing how to make others feel empowered instead of diminished is the sign of a good leader. From the way you speak about others — gossiping is a no-no — to the way you deliver guidance to your team, focus your efforts on helping those around you to feel empowered and invigorated.
3. Just as the way you speak is important, if you want to become a better leader, the way you act is just as vital. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a good leader who isn’t also a person of character. If you exhibit questionable behavior when making deals or show your shady side when outside of the office, the quality of your leadership will be called into question. It may be an arduous journey, but you must be willing to be a person of character at all times if you want to be thought of as a respected leader.
4. Your skill level must match the image you portray to others if you want to become a respected leader. You can’t profess to be one person in your Twitter bio or on your LinkedIn page and not have the skills to match the image you’re trying to portray. Your team will know whether you’re all talk and no action, and your willingness to pretend to be something you’re not will cause them to question everything you do. If you want to become a better leader as an entrepreneur, make sure who you say you are isn’t an exaggeration of the truth.
5. How you handle challenges says a great deal about you as an entrepreneur. If you panic or become frazzled when encountering stumbling blocks, your team will think you don’t have what it takes to lead the company forward. Work on improving your problem-solving skills and your troubleshooting skills, and those around you will grow to see you as a leader.
6. Honing your managerial skills is crucial if you want to improve your odds of becoming a successful leader. Managerial skills might seem boring to some, but they are an essential trait of top leaders. Interviewing, hiring, reviewing, dismissing and rewarding are just some of the managerial skills you will need to hone. Become a better manager and your odds of improving your leadership skills increase exponentially.
7. Top leaders are able to excite their employees and business associates. If you’re the type of entrepreneur who can convince others to believe in your business plans, you have a good chance of becoming an authoritative leader. Work on your public speaking skills to increase your odds of achieving the leadership status you crave. Watch videos of great debaters, immerse yourself in TED talks from top-quality speakers, and learn from how others speak in a convincing manner. If you can improve your ability to help others see your vision, your star will start to rise on the leadership stage.
8. Craving power is a challenge many hopeful entrepreneurial leaders face. The minute you start lusting after power, you lose your edge as a leader. True leaders don’t crave power, they long to help others (and themselves) succeed. Learn to spot the signs of power cravings and turn your energies elsewhere. Power is all about putting yourself above others instead of lifting them up. When you work on removing power manipulations from your daily life, you increase your opportunities to grow in ways that matter.
9. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to become a better leader, start expecting more of yourself in everything you do. True leaders tend to have high standards and expect the best of themselves in business and personal relationships. When you allow yourself to accept “good enough” behavior, you are signaling to others that top-notch effort isn’t required. Start setting high standards for yourself and meeting your goals on a daily basis and others around you will want to rise to meet your standards too.
Becoming a better leader as an entrepreneur doesn’t magically happen. It takes hard work and commitment to be better each day. You’ll have slip-ups and will occasionally question your quest, but with patience and humility, you will eventually achieve your goal. Regardless of whether you’re a small business owner or a startup founder attempting to build a thriving company, leadership status can be yours if you keep pushing and re-committing to your goals.
This article was originally published in: https://www.forbes.com