By Akhil Shahani, an EO Kolkata member. Akhil runs SmartEntrepreneur.Net, an entrepreneurial portal dedicated to helping others become better businesspeople.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that successful management requires more than just assigning tasks to a team. It calls for a leader who can inspire team members to achieve their fullest potential.
People want to be guided by a person they respect, someone who has a clear sense of direction. To be that person, I’ve discovered that there are certain things an entrepreneur must be, know and do. Here are some of the things that I try to accomplish on a daily basis:
- Test the Waters: I make it a point to find out what people think about my style of management. This could be a real eye-opener for me, but it is also the key to making changes to my leadership style. I have found that a relaxing and open environment will help draw out their honest opinions.
- Listen Carefully: When my team members speak to me about all of their work-related worries, I do my best to hear them out. I convey empathy, suggest alternatives and create harmony within the team. Great leaders are great listeners!
- Make a Connection: I take complete responsibility for how I am heard, and I always try to rephrase my message to make it sound positive. Effective communication is a fine art.
- Try to Be a People Person: An integral part of leadership skills is to learn to respect your team’s capabilities. To do this, I let my team members take decisions on certain issues. Instead of being a watchdog, I trust them with their work.
- Leave No Room for Doubt: I communicate to my team my expectations for their performance, I tell them why the team has been formed and how important they are to the organization.
- Review Progress: Periodically, I make sure to talk through the team’s progress, so everyone knows where they’re headed. I find it’s important to have everyone on the same page.
- Be Generous with Praise: I anticipate and recognize their achievements. I reward an extra special performance to motivate them to take on further challenges.
- Make Room for Innovation: In order to stay accessible and approachable, I tell my team that I’m open to creative thinking, unique solutions and new ideas, even if they sound a little wacky at first. By allowing for a measure of risk taking, I may find the answers I never knew I needed.
- Let Them in on the Decision-Making Process: For most people, change is particularly hard to swallow. If I involve my team in the decision-making process, chances are I’ll improve the odds of a successful implementation when it comes to projects and tasks.
- Enjoy the Experience: Last but not least, I make it fun for staff to work with one another. People rarely remember what you say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel— that’s the crux of leadership team-building.