Part#2: 5 more leadership tips for business owners.

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Helpful tips for tourism operators

March 18, 2024

Just to recap in the first blog on leadership we ran through the first 5 tips for leadership. 

These included;

  1. Learn to lead by example 
  2. Be goal oriented 
  3. Take responsibility 
  4. Share the glory 
  5. Know how to develop a team

This time around I am adding some more tips that will help you as a business owner improve you leadership skills as well as help you in your business. 

6. Become a master of communication.

Communication is the key to every relationship. Communication keeps people engaged and ensures they feel welcome and valued. 

Excellent communication skills are necessary to become an effective leader. The communication within your business needs to be two way. Which ensures you are communicating with your team and you are actively listening to your team when they are communicating with you. 

Communication in a business can be through lots of different channels and technology has made it easier to communicate however ensure you don’t lose sight of face to face verbal communication. Ensure you have time in your day to talk to people in your business not in meetings or training but in the workplace. Doing this will ensure your team feels connected and listens to it. 

As your business grows you may not get to speak to everyone individually however you need to ensure their managers or leaders are speaking with them on a very regular basis. In addition you as the owner need to ensure you are speaking to those managers and leaders on a regular basis as well. 

Think of communication like water 💦 flowing through your business. You need to guide it and direct it to where you need it to go. 

Have a communication plan if you have more than 20 staff and ensure everyone is connected into it.

7. Be courageous and assertive.

A leader needs to be able to speak up about the things that truly matter and be assertive about what they need and want from their team and for their team. 

This is not about being aggressive or demanding it about communicating what is required and why to your team.  Quite often business owners get bogged down in the day to day running of the business and things build up. By stepping up and being willing to face any challenges and obstacles you can show your team how to be courageous and assertive. 

It can also help you achieve your  goals and the goals of the business.

Example #1:

There have been times when I didn’t speak up while I was managing businesses. I had been travelling and came back to the businesses after an extended holiday. During my time away no one stepped in to manage the team so when I got back there were a range of staff issues especially around pay. I didn’t speak up initially, instead I went and did some research, I found out what their issues were and who was creating the issues. Funnily enough the person creating the issue was actually a contractor and not employed by me.

My initial thoughts around resolving this issue was to bring everyone together in one place and communicate to everyone as a group. Then I realised they had really rallied behind this particular person so me in front of the entire group wasn’t going to cut it. 

In the end I called every staff member, raised the issue and addressed it head on. In actual fact we had been underpaying people by 1 cent an hour. So I had calculated every single person’s back pay and told them over the phone I was sorry for the underpayment and I would have it resolved with payroll the following pay cycle. I also advised them that under the National employment standard we were no longer able to have contractors working for more than 80% of their full time hours, so we would be cutting back the hours of any contractors to ensure we were not breaking any laws.

Apart from the contractor who had caused all the issues to begin with everyone laughed when I told them their back pay and apologised. On average we owed 38 cents to most staff. 

Being courageous and assertive doesn’t always mean hanging yourself, you can do it in your words and actions every day.

8. Be confident.

Projecting confidence is probably the most difficult characteristic to develop.

I am in the middle of reading The Confidence Code that shares some amazing insights into why so many of us are not confident even though we have the skills, intellect and experience to be wildly confident. Often we hold back believing we are not good enough, strong enough, qualified enough. 

Some people are naturals when it comes to confidence, but not all of us are. There are other ways to go about it. you can develop a greater sense of self-assurance and self- worth. See your value, believe in yourself, remind yourself daily what you are capable of. 

Part of confidence is having faith and feeling secure in yourself and not needing to be accepted and loved by others, as well as being able to prove that you have the competencies and the skills to be an effective leader and to lead the team to its common goal.

Look at ways where you hide, step back or just don’t show up. Consider why you do this and what’s actually holding you back. Look at what the worst case scenario is if you start with confidence, self assurance and self worth. Look at what you can gain by believing in yourself. Not only will you be a better person for you, you will be a better leader.

9. Confidentiality

There are a number of conversations had between managers and leaders regarding staff, performance and internal issues. A key tip for being a leader is to keep these confidential.

If you are the leader, business owner or manager ensure you can be trusted with confidential information. Whether it is information your team member has shared about their personal situation or business IP, keep it yourself and only share when it is absolutely essential to the business. 

If you don’t have a confidentiality clause in your employment contracts add it today. Then educate your team on what is acceptable to be shared and what is not acceptable to be shared internally and externally.

10. Be Positive and Professional

Often in a work environment negativity can breed quickly as per my example above. 

When people work in close proximity to each other often things become heated or exacerbated by constant interaction. Many times there will be one rotten egg  that doesn’t want to be in the business that will go out of their way to poison everyone else. Often the rotten egg doesn’t believe they have a choice to leave so their resentment grows and festers spreading throughout the business. 

Your job as the business owner and leader is to calm the situation. 

Take the bad egg aside and ask them what their issues are, what they believe a satisfactory result would look like. Don’t add fuel by adding your view to the issue. Simply let the staff member know you listened to them, understand what they are saying and will look at ways to remedy the issue.  Before you leave the discussion ensure you have noted down each of the issues, confirm them back to the team member. Keep it calm and professional.

Before the meeting ends give the team member a timeline of when you will get back to them. Don’t talk about other team members unless you need more information, certainly do not comment on what has been said just ask the questions and abstain the answers you are requiring. 

Never buy into gossip.

When you have a clear resolution or response to the issue raised, make time to meet and positively and professionally step through each issue, outline what can be done to resolve it or what you are not able to do. Be open and honest while staying calm. 

At the end let the staff member know that you have done your best to address the issue and if they are still not happy they need to look for work elsewhere. By being positive and professional as well as open and honest you will put a stop to any continued negativity.

Conclusion

No matter where you are in your career, business ownership or life, it’s never too late to learn how to be an effective leader.  These tips will help you develop your leadership skills and make you more desirable in business and the workplace.

Being a leader isn’t always easy or enjoyable however if you can equip yourself with the skills outlined here and in the previous blog you will ensure that being a leader can be a little easier and a little more enjoyable. 

Be kind to yourself as you learn and grow. 

I have never met a leader or business owner that gets it right all the time. Just look to improve each day and you will begin to feel more confident and more successful. 

You May Also Like…

What do I want to do?

What do I want to do?

Everything changes, we change, business changes, our customers change and so does everything else on the planet....