Many people in business resist calling themselves a leader but if you really want to grow your business, leadership is essential.
I was talking to some business people last week and they were questioning my constant use of the word ‘leader’.
“We’re just business people,” said Brad. “I don’t think anyone really thinks of themselves as a leader – we’re just doing the best we can to survive in business.”
This was a great comment and I totally understand what he means. So, I want to take a moment to explain why I use the word leader all the time – and why I think it’s important that all business people start thinking of themselves as leaders.
When we go into business (either as an owner or a manager) we are often very driven and motivated. We have a vision of what we want to achieve and the success we are building.
At some point in the process of achieving that vision we realise that we need a team around us. While some people may try to avoid enlisting the services of a team by doing everything themselves, they usually fall short of achieving their goals.
A team of committed highly driven people can speed everything up and create dramatic growth. If we’re clever it looks like this diagram to the right; The Cycle of Business
In an ideal world;
YOU recruit a team to help you achieve your goals.
The TEAM work hard and look after your customers (think suppliers, as well as paying customers).
Your CUSTOMERS pay for your services and look after your business.
Your BUSINESS then makes a profit and looks after you.
Consequently your most important role is to look after your team by supporting them, training them, motivating them and keeping them on track.
In other words, you need to become a leader.
However, what typically happens is that when a business person is ready to take on staff they assume (or hope) these people will just jump in and work with the same level of commitment and drive as they have (and somehow intuitively know exactly where the business is going and how it is going to get there), and the Business Owner will be able to get back to what you were trying to do before.
They still think their main job is to look after the customers and the business, and they neglect their highest priority, which is now providing support to the team.
Even the most talented team needs support and direction. Without it the team becomes the business owner’s major headache. Productivity is lost due to lack of clear communication, hard working people can waste time working on the wrong thing, there are agenda clashes and maybe even declining work standards due to lack of training.
All of these challenges can be experienced even with a good team of people who care about their work.
The only way to overcome them is by providing strong leadership.
Growing businesses need leadership
So, that’s why I say all business people are leaders. Once you take on a team, your role in the business changes and it requires a very different skill-set.
If you continue to think of yourself as just a manager or the best technician in the business – your business will never reach the altitude that you dream of.