Consider this: The success of your business rests largely on your leadership skills. So how do you rank as a leader?
Eric Gordon suggests you can find out by asking yourself these questions.
“What do my colleagues and employees think of me as a leader?”
One way to gain a realistic view of how you’re doing as a leader is by getting the opinions of people who have seen you in action. The same way you’d offer constructive criticism to your colleagues and employees, they can do the same to help you perform better.
The key to getting honest feedback is to keep it confidential. People are more likely to tell you how they really feel that way. Use open-ended questions that encourage people to delve into detail.
“Do my employees fully understand our company’s mission?”
Every company has a story, and as the owner, you’re the main storyteller. You build the foundation of your company’s origin and future. If you’ve done your job as a leader properly, then every employee should understand what you wish to accomplish.
“Are my employees motivated to do their best and also satisfied with their jobs?”
One of the simplest ways to consider leadership is that leaders inspire others to take action. There are different ways to motivate people. Some leaders use the power they have over their employees as their main motivational tactic. Others inspire because they’ve proven their abilities. Still others inspire through their charisma. The right way of motivating your employees differs depending on the situation—and your strength in any one area.
Check how motivated your employees using an annual or biannual survey of employee’s satisfaction.
“Do I demonstrate integrity in how I lead?”
Trust is a critical component of leadership. If your employees trust you to be upfront and honest with them, then they’ll also feel that you respect them, which motivates and empowers them. If you keep secrets or lie to them, then trust quickly breaks down. Once that happens, it’s extremely difficult to build trust again.
“How effective are my communication skills?”
Not only do you need to be a good communicator as a leader, but you also need to be able to communicate in different ways. As you know, negotiations require a different approach than meeting with potential clients or speaking with your employees.
“How knowledgeable am I about my business?”
You obviously know what your business does and generally how it operates, but there’s more to knowing your business. For example, do you know the responsibilities of each team? Do you understand each team member’s role? Can you identify up-and-coming leaders or assist employees in avoiding conflict?
While founders and leaders shouldn’t be expected to handle spats between staff or conduct the day-to-day work of production, they must not appear disconnected or out of the loop.
“Am I good at dealing with stress and anxiety?”
It’s natural to feel nerves in certain high-pressure situations. Your decisions as a business owner affect far more people than just you. As a leader, however, you’re required to remain poised. Even on the hardest days, focus on what you’ve learned and move forward instead of wallowing in misery. Your team looks to you during tough times, and they should see you as a source of steady calm and confidence.
Written for EO by Eric Gordon, an independent business development and marketing specialist. You can find Eric on Twitter, @ericdavidgordon.