Tag: business leadership (page 1 of 2)

Helpful Podcasts for Small Business Owners

Being a small business owner has its benefits and challenges. As a leader, it’s important to always brush up on your skills and learn new ways to run your business. By being open to new strategies and influences, you can greatly improve how your small business operates and functions. Podcasts have become a great outlet for small business owners. Take a look at the most helpful ones:

 

Entrepreneur on Fire

This entrepreneurially driven podcast is hosted by John Lee Dumas. Each episode of Entrepreneur on Fire runs about 30 minutes and focuses on subjects such as operating a business and becoming successful. Many of the episodes listeners have the chance to hear Mr. Dumas interview successful small business owners. With everyone from tech start-up founders to solopreneurs, listeners are able to hear about their journey to success. 

 

Online Marketing Made Easy

Marketing is a huge factor when running a small business and an incredibly imperative skill to have. The podcast Online Marketing Made Easy is hosted by Amy Porterfield who discusses the ins and outs of online marketing. The topics of each episode Amy Porterfield give advice for marketing an eCommerce business or blogging for business and brings on guests to joining the discussion to lend their helpful knowledge. 

 

Real Money Talks

A great podcast for empowering entrepreneurs is Real Money Talks. The host Loral Langmeyer uses each informative and entertaining episode to educate and empower entrepreneurs. This podcast’s main focus is to teach how to have important money talks that are straight, to the point. Not only is this great for entrepreneurs, but it can also be applied to everyday life. If your main concern as a small business owner is money, this is the podcast for you.

 

The EntreLeadership Podcast

As a business owner, it’s always important to brush up on your leadership skills. The EntreLeadership Podcast is the perfect resource for lessons on becoming a stronger and more effective leader. This show is hosted by Ken Coleman who uses each episode as an opportunity to provide listeners with new leadership and business strategies to help a business grow and flourish. This podcast also features celebrity business owners as guests to offer their tried and true business advice.

Master Your EQ to Enhance Your Leadership Capabilities

EQ, or emotional intelligence, has become a popular topic among leaders and managers in recent years for good reason. While this skill was largely overlooked throughout the past several decades, it’s getting a much-needed resurgence while propelling effective leaders to new heights and creating unstoppable teams. 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage yourself and your relationships effectively and is closely linked with performance and success. Use the following tips to enhance your skills to more effectively lead your team to success. 

Be Self-Aware

Self-awareness is a crucial skill to have as a leader. You must be aware of your actions, how you come across to your team, and how you express yourself in certain situations. In addition to knowing how you will react to situations, you must be aware of what triggers your emotional responses. These aspects together can give you a clear picture of how to best control these actions to lead your team towards a healthier future instead of regressing. Be open to criticisms and use them as a basis to improve and develop your skills. 

Be Socially Aware

Social awareness involves a sensitivity to another person’s feelings and emotions as well as your own willingness to be respectful. With more knowledge about how other people may react, you can compose a professional response without batting an eye. If your company implements a new policy that may trigger a negative reaction within your team, you can prepare them in a way that is respectful, ensures their concerns are heard, and you can make the proper adjustments to maintain efficiency. 

Facilitate Collaboration

With a higher emotional intelligence, it’s possible to improve day-to-day interactions amongst those on your team. A higher EQ means you can manage larger teams more effectively by helping others work together and to motivate them to work harder in a way that inspires instead of threatens. The happier your team is the more it will show in their work. Once you prove the worth of your EQ to the team as a whole you can teach others to do the same to create a positive and productive workforce that truly values its employees. 

Ways to Foster Belonging at Work

The human sense of connection is incredibly important: it impacts our health and productivity. While it may seem that belonging only matters in our personal lives, research conducted by the leadership development startup BetterUp indicates that workplace belonging is key to employee well-being and organizational functioning. Exclusion can beget both pain and psychological ailments. 

BetterUp found, among other statistics, that employees see a 56% increase in job performance when they feel like they belong. Furthermore, belonging benefits workers’ careers, since those who felt highly connected received twice as many raises and were 18 times more likely to be promoted in a six month period. Cofounder and CEO of BetterUp Alexi Robichaux states that the most important assets to your company are your people. “Belonging should be at the heart of every human capital strategy.” 

If you’re not sure how to do that, here are some strategies that came out of their research.

Create Allies at Work

A powerful solution to prevent feelings of exclusion is to add an ally to the team. Having an ally can counteract the 25% productivity loss seen in those who didn’t have one. This can be as simple as having someone who acknowledges and includes you. Peers make for very effective allies, and fortunately, there is no hierarchy to allyship: anyone can be an ally. 

Encourage Healthy Interactions

Psychologists Jane Dutton and Emily Heaphy coined the term high-quality connections (HQCs) to describe interactions that have a positive impact on our lives and work. In a high-quality connection, each person reciprocates positive regard and care, and as a result, both feel valued. HQCs play an important role in close relationships but also have the power to unlock meaning in less intimate interactions. These interactions can be brief and emotionally neutral, but the key is that they happen regularly and are not negative. 

What Successful Leaders do Differently

In today’s business world, becoming an effective and successful leader requires skill building in areas such as integrity, empathy, and the setting of healthy personal boundaries. Fortunately, learning to strengthen skills in these areas is something that anyone can do with enough effort; it may require time and hard work to master leadership skills, it is true, but the results can be truly life-changing. Here are just a few of the qualities that set successful leaders apart from the pack, and why they matter more than ever.

 

Great leaders admit when they’re wrong

Anyone who has had a manager who refuses to own up to their mistakes knows that an irresponsible leader quickly sinks company morale. Being an effective leader doesn’t just mean keeping one’s word when times are tough, and deadlines are looming, it also means admitting when one has chosen the wrong course of action. Without taking personal responsibility for mistakes, there is little guarantee that the same problems will not arise again and again in the future, and that is an outcome that can spell disaster for a business. Indeed, to be a truly successful leader in the long term, a sense of personal responsibility is a must-have skill.

 

Great leaders don’t confuse being nice with being a pushover

Unable to cope with the idea of being disliked, some leaders want to accommodate the demands of everyone they meet, despite the fact that their need to please others may be undermining their ability to lead effectively. Focused on being the office “nice guy,” these leaders too often burn themselves out by taking personal responsibility for making everyone around them happy. While kindness is an essential quality of effective leadership, it’s important to recognize the difference between caring about others and becoming their personal doormat.

 

Great leaders empathize with employees

As anyone who has seen the negative effect of a high employee turnover rate on a company’s reputation, employee satisfaction isn’t just about making a good salary or negotiating a competitive benefits package. Without empathetic leaders, simply put, a workplace becomes a toxic place for everyone involved. Just as being a pushover is a detrimental quality in a leader, a manager who does not empathize with their employees will often push talented workers towards better opportunities at other companies. For these reasons, knowing the difference between setting healthy boundaries and setting impossibly rigid boundaries is an essential skill for a truly successful leader.

 

While it can feel intimidating to begin the path towards mastery of interpersonal and leadership skills, the truth is that top-notch communication abilities in business can be developed with time and dedication. Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight, but fortunately, the personal rewards of a journey towards becoming a great leader are more than worth the effort. For those willing to take the high road towards business success, that is life at its best!

Where to Learn Free Leadership Skills Online

There are many free resources online for those wanting to learn valuable management skills. Here are some of the best websites that offer university-level seminars and classes to aspiring leaders.

MindTools.com
MindTools is an easily navigable website offering everything from essays to YouTube videos on leadership skills in various contexts. They also provide courses on related subjects including stress management, decision making, and communication skills.

Level 5 Leadership
The concept of Level 5 Leadership was coined by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. His website contains an hour-long lecture on ambition and leadership as well as several shorter videos and articles.

Latitude Learning
Effectively managing others is an important aspect of being an exceptional leader. Latitude Learning’s course “Supervising Difficult Behaviors” teaches users how to handle troublesome employees and workplace conflicts.

Coursera
Coursera is an established website offering hundreds of free courses on everything from product management to emotional intelligence. Users can complete courses on their own terms, making it perfect for people with a hectic schedule.

The Open University
The Open University offers a choice between undergraduate and postgraduate courses on business management, teamwork, business psychology, and more. Users can choose introductory-level or more advanced courses.

Alison.com
Alison.com contains hundreds of topics for every aspect of leadership in business. Users can participate in courses like “Leadership Skills in Business” or “Intro to Communication Skills” to learn hours worth of free information to increase their skill sets.

MIT Online
Plenty of universities offer free online courses, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is no exception. They offer “Organizational Leadership and Change,” which is a graduate-level course exploring leadership qualities and the skills needed for future success. “Building and Leading Effective Teams” informs users how to manage and communicate as a group leader properly.

Master Class Management
Master Class Management displays an organized list of topics all relating to leadership. Users can easily pick from titles like “How to Delegate Confidently, “Holding a Meeting,” and “Dealing with Conflict” to improve weak points and gain confidence in their management abilities. Each section includes a story, a presentation, and a short test at the end.

These free resources make it possible to be a great leader without investing thousands of dollars.

Five Types of Leaders in the Workplace

No two leaders are the same. With so many different kinds of employees, there needs to be different kinds of leaders suited to their needs. Certain styles of leadership will work for one person, but not another. It’s up to a good leader to determine the style that works best for their team and stick with that. Here are five of the most common types of leaders you’ll see in the workplace.

 

Transactional

A transactional leader is one who rewards their employees when they reach a certain goal. This type of leader will set goals with their team and use a carrot-and-stick approach to get those goals accomplished. With rewards for good behavior, there are often punishments for bad practices. This style can be effective in the short-term, but most employees won’t feel they can reach their full potential under this rule.

 

Laissez-faire

Originally an economics term, laissez-faire literally translates to “let them do.” This style of leader is known for their hands-off approach, allowing their employees to take control over their work. This style of leadership is especially effective in creative settings, or when managing very experienced employees. However, this style hinders those that rely on feedback from their supervisor. With no leadership or supervision from a leader, there can be a lack of control and lead to poor production. Research has shown that this style is the least effective and least favorite of employees.

 

Autocratic

Autocratic leadership is similar to transactional leadership, just to a more extreme level. This type of leader has complete power over their employees and rarely listen to employees or share any power. This type of leadership is common in military environments but does not lead to great results in a corporate workplace. Because these types of work environments have little or no flexibility, it can lead to a high turnover rate and frequently absent employees.

 

Transformational

Transformational leaders are considered the most desirable among employees. These types of leaders use effective communication to create an intellectually stimulating environment. This style focuses on initiating change in a work environment. This leader sets high expectations and motivates their employees to do more than they originally intended.

 

Democratic

Democratic leaders put a high value on team input. This style boosts morale because employees get to feel that they have a say in the decision-making process, though ultimately the final decision rests in the hand of the leader. Workers report high levels of job satisfaction in these environments. One downside to this style is that decision-making takes longer, making it an ineffective option for an environment where quick-decision making is crucial.

How to Lead When You’re Not the Boss

Even if you’re not in charge, it’s important to demonstrate strong leadership skills in the workplace. By being a leader even when you’re not the boss, management will see that you possess the necessary skills and may keep that in mind when you’re up for a promotion. Here are six ways you can be a leader at work, even if you’re not the boss (yet).

 

1. Be flexible
Flexibility is one of the most important qualities to have as a leader. Things often don’t go according to plan; you need to be able to adapt to any situation that may arise. When things go astray, people need a leader to look to. This is your time to shine and emerge as that leader. Leaders should also understand there’s more than one way to accomplish a task. They should be open to different work styles and understand the difference between a wrong way to do something, and a different way.

 

2. Communication is key
A leader needs to be able to communicate one-on-one and in large groups. You aren’t in the position to give instructions, but you can offer advice and feedback when appropriate. Simple appreciation is always appreciated and will help your coworkers to respect and trust you. Leaders must also be clear communicators; they need to make sure everyone understands and there’s no chance for things to be misunderstood.

 

3. Don’t be a doormat
Because you’re not the boss, people may try to take advantage of you in a way they wouldn’t if you were in charge of them. Don’t let them. Leaders stand up for themselves. Don’t put up with things your boss wouldn’t. This doesn’t mean you should never help others out. Provide favors out of kindness and good for the company, not because you can’t say no.

 

4. Engage others
An effective team utilizes everyone. A strong leader will seek out the interests and strengths of each team member and do their best to align those with the tasks that need to be completed. Make everyone feel heard and appreciated. If there’s a quieter member on your team, do your best to include them in conversations.

 

5. Listen
All ideas can be good ideas. Listen to team members and make them feel like part of the group. This is especially important when you’re not the boss; if you aren’t respecting their contributions, they’ll question the leadership role you’ve taken on. If you show everyone you appreciate and value their ideas, they’ll be more accepting of your position. A true leader acknowledges that good ideas come from many different sources.

 

6. Take risks
Failure is a crucial component to success. When you acknowledge the potential payoff is greater than the risks associated with it, you’re showing strong leadership skills. This doesn’t mean you should jump into a risky endeavor without evaluating the situation first. It means you’ve assessed the situation, are aware of what may happen, and decide the outcome is worth it.

How to Become a Better Leader in 3 Simple Steps

Keeping a business thriving requires more than just a solid business plan; you have to be a strong leader to keep your team progressing. Whether you are a novice leading a team for the first time or an experienced CEO, you can become a stronger leader by following these three simple steps.

1. Take total responsibility for yourself.
Most leaders are quick to take responsibility for their successes, but a true leader also needs to own their mistakes and failures. When you make a mistake, apologize and take ownership of it. This sets the tone for your team that the mission is more important than one person’s ego. Own each step of the process: if a member of your team has fallen short, recognize your own role in that failure. Even the most capable team member will fall short if not given proper training, encouragement, and feedback. Keep this in mind when addressing staff issues.

2. Show respect for your team.
It takes mutual respect between a team and their leader to reach goals, so ask questions about your team’s personal life to show your interest in them. Respond thoughtfully to their suggestions and show respect for new ideas. Recognize that you can learn from your team as much as they can learn from you. Humbling yourself actually elevates you as a leader because your team will have greater respect for you and your vision.

3. Make staffing decisions with intention.
Think ahead with each staffing choice you make. Look for the potential in each staff member and make a specific plan to mentor them and foster that potential. Consider promotions thoughtfully and make sure that each person is ready to be moved up before placing them in a role that could be beyond their experience or skill set. If more mentoring is required, take that extra time to coach them with that newly elevated role in mind. If it’s clear that a member of your team isn’t a good fit, let them go. To keep someone on your team who isn’t fitting into the company culture is a disservice to your company and to that team member.

While these three steps are simple in theory, putting them into practice can prove difficult. However, with practice, these steps can guide you toward being an effective leader capable of uniting a team and working toward your goals cohesively.

The Importance of Delegation

 

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you have to learn to delegate.” One of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, spoke these wise words. He has taken great strides to achieve all that he has and as many leaders do, Branson hasn’t done it alone. As a leader, it is important to make decisions that will better the organization you represent. Sometimes, those decisions include allowing other to take on some of the responsibilities that you hold. Knowing the right time and situation to delegate is a crucial aspect of successfully leading a group.

 

Delegation must come in the form of trust. While many leaders choose to delegate to those in manager roles, giving important roles to others is also key. Authoritative figures should be constantly looking at their team, for those who have a potential future in leadership. Even young CEOs and Presidents look to their team with hope for the future. Not only does delegating give responsibility to up and coming employees but it also instills confidence and sense of purpose. For many employees, reward in the workplace comes less from monetary means and more from praise and promotion. Delegating work is a way of showing team members that you, as their leader, trust their work ethic. You also show them that you have faith that they will accomplish the task at hand.

 

In addition to employee empowerment, delegating also provides relief for those whom the work normally falls upon. As the leader of an entire organization, delegating almost becomes necessary. If your organization begins to develop from its roots, you are going to want someone along for the ride. The path to success should not be lonely. Delegating authority to those around you provides support and enthusiasm. This group of people all want to achieve a common goal of a thriving organization. The alleviation of tedious tasks allows you, the leader, to focus on the pressing matters. The smaller issues, though still important, can then fall to those who support your cause.

 

A leader will always face challenges. How they handle such situations is a testament to the kind of leader they are. Delegating responsibility to those team members that you trust gives them a sense of purpose while allowing yourself to lead the best organization possible.

 

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

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