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The 7 Leadership Traits Small Business Owners Must Possess

November 15, 2012

Running a successful business requires more than just having a great idea. It requires a skill that not all of us are born with—leadership. The good news is that leadership skills are something you can learn. They’re something you have to learn if you want to build a successful company.

There are tools and skills every good business leader needs.

What does it take to be an effective small business leader? You need to possess these 7 important traits:

1. Be a good listener – Listen to your employees and customers, and you’re guaranteed to find some great ideas that will help you improve your business. When you use ideas from someone else, show them a little love by thanking them and giving them credit.

2. Communicate with your team – One of the best ways to avoid disgruntled employees and a dysfunctional team is to communicate clearly with everyone. Always let your workers know what’s going on and what you expect out of them. Also, give them insight into the bigger picture so they know your company’s overall goals and vision.

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Nobody is perfect, neither are you. It’s impossible to run a business without making mistakes, but great leaders understand that mistakes will be made. That’s just part of being an entrepreneur. It’s how you rebound from those mistakes that really count.

4. Surround yourself with smart, talented people – As a business leader, it’s important that you build a well-rounded team. You should understand your own abilities—your strengths, your weaknesses—and surround yourself with talented individuals who possess the skills you lack.

5. Be willing to delegate – If you’re never willing to give up any control, your company will never grow to its full potential. There’s only so much you can do on your own. You have to let your team do the things they do best.

6. Always be looking forward – A good leader is always visualizing the future. You need to think about what you want for your company and create a plan that helps you achieve that. If you’re not looking forward, you’ll get stuck exactly where you are today.

7. Hold yourself and others accountable – Accountability is important in all companies. You need to set clear expectations for what you want out of your employees and yourself, and you have to hold everyone (yourself included) for the results they produce. That also means admitting when you make a mistake.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a successful small business leader? What are some other important leadership traits you think should have made this list?



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