Every position comes with its rewards and challenges. The role of a small business owner is no different, but often comes entangled with multiple roles all at once. You’re an accountant, a salesperson, a photographer, a lawyer, and above all, you’re a leader.
What does true leadership mean?
True leadership means making the tough decisions, the ones that will benefit the majority, even if you are not in that majority.
It means understanding that real change takes real time; that the best results are a series of small steps.
It means having empathy, compassion, and caring, while still remaining fair and pragmatic.
It means service; you must continue to give.
It means stewardship. You must guide your ship, but you cannot force people to row if they do not know or believe in your direction. It’s understanding that the winds and tides will change, but having a plan in place to continue towards your vision.
How does true leadership affect small business?
While many of us run our small businesses individually, it’s rarely a one-person show. It takes cooperation and networking. If you cannot lead, you cannot successfully run your business.
You have to look at the big picture and form a vision. You must work every day to bring your vision to life. Sometimes this means making cuts and eliminations, sometimes this means trying something new, but this always means eliciting feedback from the people who are affected.
There are dozens of hard decisions to be made as a small business owner, but as a true leader, you have to know when to make those decisions for the betterment of your business. Some customers or employees will be unhappy with your choice, but you must take the time to hear them out and then explain how and why your decisions will create a better business.
Leading With Grace
The key difference between just leading and leading with grace is the commitment to explanation. Taking the time to have conversations with all the important stakeholders, whether they are your customers, employees, friends, or family. It’s hearing each person’s side of choice before making the best possible one.
Change for the sake of change, or remaining at the status quo for fear of change is not leading with grace. Learn how people will be affected before making changes, and learn how the status quo is affecting your vision.
Leading with grace includes passing-the-torch. Understand that you can’t be 100% of your business all of the time. Leading with grace is teaching, mentoring, and guiding without fear. To lead with grace, you must see the strengths in others and show them how to use those strengths for absolute potential.
Leading with grace is recognizing when you need to say no. An honest no, not a maybe, not a false timeframe, but a sincere no followed by an explanation. But leading with grace is also understanding when you need to say yes, no matter how difficult it may appear to be. Leading with grace is having the ability to discern the two.