8 Steps to Becoming a Leader at Your Business - 133T
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8 Steps to Becoming a Leader at Your Business

August 21, 2017

Being the boss is great. Becoming a leader is even better.

In the words of former president Eisenhower: “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Do you inspire that kind of loyalty and motivation among your employees?

Becoming a leader takes a lot of hard work, but it’s well worth it. Your company culture will flourish, productivity will thrive, and you’ll ultimately earn more money.

By becoming a leader and truly inspiring your employees, you’ll rise above “boss” status and become someone they look up to and want to work for.

But what are the qualities every great business leader has in common?

1. Be a Great Communicator

Bosses give orders. Leaders communicate.

Becoming a leader in your field means actively communicating with those who work for you. Don’t wait for feedback: Ask.

Listen to your employees, don’t just “hear” them. Constantly ask for feedback, and encourage your workers to come to you with their concerns. Take action when valid concerns arise.

Allow your workers to come to you with new ideas, and treat them as valuable. Ultimately, you have the final call on what you will (or won’t) apply to your business, but make it clear that all ideas are welcome.

2. Be Firm, Yet Fair

Bosses have a “my way or the highway” attitude — they command, not communicate. Going back to point number one, communication is key when it comes to your leadership attitude.

Becoming a leader means you’re well-aware that you are the leader, and that you’re running the business, but that your workers are just as important as you are when it comes to getting things done.

Be firm — deadlines must be met — but be fair. Ask your employees if they have everything they need to meet those deadlines. If they don’t, it’s your job to provide them with what they need to succeed.

Recognize that you’re working with human beings, not robots, and life issues will sometimes come up. If an employee tells you that their grandmother is in the hospital, or their pet passed away, understand that some schedule shuffling will need to be done. Don’t be the heartless “Do it or else!” boss — be the leader who knows the value of his or her workers and treats them as human equals.

This, of course, doesn’t mean becoming a doormat. If an employee has an excuse for not performing well every time you inquire, then they’ll need to be re-evaluated as a part of the team. As a leader, it’s your job to make sure ALL of your employees are performing. Understanding little life setbacks that come up from time to time and allowing an employee to walk all over you (and the rest of the team) are two different things.

3. Keep Your Promises

This section is also known as “don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Becoming a leader means having an air of credibility — always. Your employees should be able to trust you, and take you at your word, no matter what you say.

From big things like promising an employee a raise, to small things like promising to get a new coffee maker for the break room, make your word your bond. Follow through on any promises made.

By keeping your promises, you’ll show your integrity and discipline. These qualities inspire loyalty.

Earn their trust and they’ll quickly earn yours.

4. Be Generous

Sure, you can get your employees gifts from time to time (who doesn’t love an Amazon gift card around the holidays?), but generosity goes much further than that.

Be generous with praise. If your employees are doing great work: Tell them.

Encourage your employees unabashedly. And be confident enough in yourself to admit when one of your workers had an idea that you plan to put into action. Give credit where credit is due.

5. Be Positive

Becoming a leader means keeping your emotions in check.

If your energy levels are low, your employees will sense it and their energy will become lower as a result. If your attitude is negative, you can bet that your workers will be grumbling too.

Stay positive, come into work with high energy, and promote optimism each and every day. Walking into the workroom and saying “Today’s going to be a great day! Let’s do this, Team!” can make all the difference in the world.

This also means bringing your passion for your business to the table each and every day. If you’re passionate, your passion will spread to your workers. Get excited about each new development, and they will too!

6. Be Realistic

When setting goals for your employees, make sure they’re doable. Becoming a leader means recognizing what tasks can be completed when.

Make company goals as clear as possible. Welcome questions from your employees, and make sure they know exactly what they’re working towards.

As a leader, your number one priority is making sure your team is sharing and working towards a common goal.

7. Lead By Example

Bosses give orders and expect results. Becoming a leader means you’re willing to step in and show your employees how it’s done.

You never want to micromanage, but, when needed, know when to step in. Don’t leave your employees floundering and wondering what they’re supposed to be doing: show them.

Let them do their thing, trusting that they’ll get it right, but let them know that they have a “safety net” in you if they ever need help.

Lead by example and treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers. 

Encourage learning, show compassion, and have fun.

8. Becoming a Leader Means Taking Care of YOURSELF

True leaders know that breaks are important. A burned out boss is never a good boss.

You are your business: take care of yourself.

Take days off each week, and lunch breaks each work day. Give your creative mind time to rest and regroup.

A tired leader is a cranky leader. Remember point number five? It’s nearly impossible to stay positive and passionate for your team if your tail is dragging.

Put your physical and mental health as a business priority. You’re worth it — and your team will thank you.

Are YOU a leader at your business? Share the article on Facebook and let us know — we’d love to hear from you!

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.