Here at Direct Capital, we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2013. Obviously this is a huge milestone for our company, and we’ve had a lot of fun going back over our history and seeing all the small businesses we’ve been able to help along the way.
Over those two decades, we changed multiple times to better serve the market, survived multiple recessions and grew every year but one. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of them is this: We had leadership. Our CEO, James Broom, and the executive and management team at Direct Capital willed this company to new heights.
Every small business needs strong leadership to thrive, but not every small business has it. Whether you’re simply not a natural leader or you don’t feel you have the time to do everything you want to, it can be tough to focus on leadership.
It is, however, essential. In the good times, your employees need to see you forging ahead, finding new opportunities and encouraging them not to become complacent. In the bad time, you need to prop up your team and encourage them to keep going even in the face of bleak news.
It’s really a matter of making time and making the conscious decision to be a great leader. Here’s a checklist:
- Inspire by example. Be the first one in, the last one to leave and the most visible leader you can be.
- Engage with employees often. Take suggestions, drop in on meetings, learn more about their work and be a resource where you can. Hold company meetings.
- Be transparent. You can get employees to work harder if the business is struggling a bit, but you need to be upfront with your employees about that.
- Be out in front of everything. If there’s a major initiative, be involved, become an expert and a resource to everyone in your company.
There’s a lot more to leadership than these four points, but you’ll find you make a very positive impression by following these tenets. How do you lead at your small business?