Starting your own business is not the challenge; keeping it going is the challenge. Every year thousands of businesses get started, and thousands go out of business. So how is it that some keep going, while others don’t. There are a variety of reasons, and one of the major reasons is inadequate management or mismanagement. Managing a business successfully requires a number of leadership skills. The bigger the business, the more managers you have to oversee specific aspects of a business. The smaller the business, the more knowledgeable you need to be for each aspect of your business. And if you are self-employed you are doing it all when it comes to management.
Technically there is a difference between being a manager and being a leader. People can manage their business affairs, however leaders lead people. You can be a manager without being a leader, however to be a leader you also need to be or have been a manager. So in order to manage a business, it’s vital to have leadership skills.
There are a number of leadership skills and they can be categorized under nine headings. They include the following: Communicating effectively, managing performance, maximizing relationships, building trust, thinking critically, managing execution, driving change, demonstrating accountability, and demonstrating courage. These nine leadership dimensions are under the umbrella of energy, enthusiasm, execution and overall excellence.
Let’s take a brief look at each leadership dimension and how it relates to managing a business.
Communicating effectively requires conveying a clear picture of what’s important. It provides information in a timely manner which allows people to do their jobs. Effective communication enables the flow of information necessary to conduct business, and appropriately incorporates a sense of passion. Managing a business effectively requires communicating effectively.
Managing performance helps to develop people. The better those around you perform the more successful and efficient your business performs. It’s vital to accurately assess their skills and provide sensitive yet honest feedback.
Maximizing relationships shows respect and values diversity. Being approachable and considerate of others, while focusing on their needs inspires others to do their best.
Managing a business depends on those, both internal and external, having a solid working relationship where partners strive for collaboration. When managing a business networking takes on prime importance.
Building trust is imperative in managing a business. When actions consistently match words, and commitments are followed through, then trust is built. Integrity is the foundation of trust. A business relationship built on trust is truly sustainable.
Thinking critically or planning strategically sets appropriate priorities, pays attention to detail, and cultivates broad knowledge while staying current with information. It fosters a balance of analysis and data along with wisdom and experience. In managing your business you want to look for trends, focus on the future, and go beyond the obvious.Most importantly you want to understand the ramifications of your decisions (the ripple effect) on other aspects of your business, and those with which you work.
Managing execution requires making difficult decisions on a timely manner. It uses your business plan as a blueprint for action to get things done in a timely manner.
Driving change questions the status quo. It works under the premise ‘if better is possible, then good is not enough’. In managing a business, you are looking for ways to make processes more efficient and breaking through constraining paradigms. It’s innovative and creative.
Demonstrating accountability allows for an honest assessment of oneself. Open to performance feedback, learns from mistakes, and accepts responsibility rather than deflecting it elsewhere.
Demonstrating courage in managing a business is the willingness to do the right thing rather than focusing on what’s expedient. It’s the willingness to voice unpopular opinions and approach conflict proactively.
When managing a business, the business you’re really managing is yourself. You are the one that can make the difference in making your business successful. As the Zen Master said, “I am 10% of what happens to me, and 90% how I respond to it.”
You can make a big difference in that 90%.