Failure and financial disasters are operational hazards as far as company directors are concerned and it is only those of us who can overcome setbacks that really stand a chance of becoming truly excellent business leaders.
With that in mind, here are some simple but hopefully helpful tips on how we all might improve our business leadership skills:
1. Be proactive as a spokesperson for your company.
Now more than ever, the personalities that lead companies are obliged to represent their businesses in the best and broadest ways possible. The huge popularity of social media as a business tool has helped create that circumstance and the savviest directors around are increasingly finding ways to turn the latest online tools to their company’s advantage.
2. Focus on building morale.
Low levels of morale among a workforce can weigh heavily on any organization and a business will ultimately suffer along the bottom line if its staff members are consistently unenthused. Of course, perks and conditions will be fundamental issues affecting employee satisfaction levels, but inspirational leadership can also have a big impact in improving morale among teams at all levels.
3. Get to grips with advanced budgeting skills.
However long a person might spend in a leadership position at any kind of business, one issue will never be far from the agenda and that is budgeting. An ability to oversee effective and fully competent financial management might come naturally to some but to others the skills involved have to be steadily acquired over the course of a career. What’s important to remember is that it’s never too early or too late for business leaders to focus on improving their accountancy and budgeting skills.
4. Pay attention to credit ratings.
A company’s credit rating should be protected with great diligence by company directors, and the credit rating issue should be regarded as a high priority at all times. Failing to maintain a strong position as a reputable and reliable provider and purchaser of services will leave any business finding it increasingly difficult to operate smoothly and to work with equally creditworthy companies. Responsibility for keeping track of a company’s credit rating lies ultimately with the corporate leadership and there are no excuses for ignorance in this crucial context.
5. Work on your delivery.
Some people are born with wonderful communication skills and they rise to the top of corporate environments on the back of their ability to sell their side of any story to any audience. However, being a business leader is about more than just salesmanship, and there are often fine balances to be struck between what can and cannot be discussed or revealed at certain times. Communication in leadership positions is as much about providing reassurance and inspiration as it is about persuasion or winning a particular argument.
Anyone can be a bad business leader but to succeed at the top takes not just talent but self-awareness and an ability to learn from mistakes and missteps along the way.
About the Author
Emily Trant is Managing Director of Check Business, a technology start-up that helps SMEs solve the key business challenges of getting paid, finding new customers, and raising finance. Emily has a successful track record of delivering growth and innovation in digital businesses and loves getting under the skin of small business challenges.