Leadership is the catalyst of progress in a small business and while managers need to have leadership skills, you will want to find other employees to lead projects. While some leaders naturally step up, you will have to look for the potential in others. Leaders will provide guidance for your employees as well as communicating with employees and motivating them towards company goals. The leaders in your business can have many functions from training new employees to delegating tasks for a special project, but they should all have the same fundamental qualities. Listed below are three qualities you will want to find in the potential leaders of your small business.
You will want to hire leaders that have good communication skills, because they will be the link between employees and upper management. Potential candidates should be persuasive as well as have the ability to listen when others have good ideas. Leaders will carry ideas from management to the employees while workers need leaders to take their opinions and feedback to the employer. Business leaders will also have to share the company’s vision with customers and vendors alike.
2. Emotional intelligence
Employers who seek out leaders that have emotional intelligence skills will position themselves to succeed in today’s economy. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage their own feelings as well as influence the emotions of others. There are several benefits to hiring leaders with this skill including increased sales, improved employee retention and a more positive workplace. Employees with higher emotional intelligence will also increase productivity for your small business. For example, programmers in the top ten percent of emotional intelligence competencies produce software three times faster.
3. Problem solver
Your potential candidates should have good problem solving skills, because leaders must tackle problems and find solutions efficiently. While the leaders will have to unearth these problems, they will also need to be able to explain the issue to others. A good leader will be able to bring ideas to management and employees as well as create an environment where others can contribute suggestions. Your potential leader will celebrate when there is company success and take the responsibility when things don’t go according to plans.
Before you make a final decision on the leaders for you small business you will want to look at their leadership style and make sure it fits with the vision of your company. By testing candidates on what they would do in certain situations, you can determine their leadership style. If you are looking for a leader to carry out a special project with explicit instructions, you will want to find someone with a transactional style. This means the leader gets compliance from employees through both rewards and punishments. If you are looking for more of an open communication policy then you will want a leader with a democratic style. This style allows for employees to voice their opinions and help to make improvements in the workplace. One leadership style you will want to watch out for is the laissez-faire approach. This type of leader provides little to no direction for employees and prefers a more hands-off approach which can turn your organized business into a chaotic mess.
The leadership of your employees is an important part of making your small business successful. While it might seem easier to find a candidate from outside your organization that has worked for several big name companies, you should first search your current employees for the qualities mentioned above. Your current staff just might surprise you will their leadership potential.