Guide

Skills and training for directors and owners

Leadership skills for business owners and directors

Strong leadership and a sense of direction are hallmarks of almost all successful businesses. Good leaders offer direction to people, get them to share his or her vision for the business, and aim to create the conditions for them to achieve results.

Essential business leadership skills

Identifying and developing the following skills will help you become an effective business leader:

  • Communication - communicating effectively with your staff ensures they know their role, what is required of them and how much you value them. Ensure you give staff credit for a job well done and provide constructive criticism when required. See employee engagement.
  • Listen to your staff and customers - listening to the concerns of your staff as well as your customers can help you identify issues with your business that you can address before they become troublesome. Staff are motivated when they are listened to and feel involved in key business decisions. See staff feedback, ideas and forums.
  • Delegate - delegating gives staff ownership of key business tasks. This gives them greater motivation and also makes you more efficient enabling you to focus on growing and developing your business. Delegation skills for business owners and directors.
  • Take responsibility - your business is your responsibility. You must take ownership and responsibility for the business decisions you make, whether successful or not.
  • Get organised - being organised is essential for good leadership. Your time is wasted if you are disorganised as you will not be able to find essential business information when you require it. See planning business growth and set up a basic record-keeping system.
  • Be decisive - effective business leaders must be decisive and brave to take calculated risks in order to take advantage of business opportunities. If you aren’t decisive you could miss out on a valuable business opportunity. It’s important to trust in yourself and your business decisions. If a business opportunity doesn’t work out be honest with yourself and your staff as to why it wasn’t successful and see if you can learn from it.
  • Follow others - following others can help you learn eg encouraging your employees to communicate, brainstorm and be open can provide you with inspiration and ideas you may never have come across otherwise.

How to lead your staff

You can show leadership to staff by:

  • involving them in decision-making
  • providing personal encouragement
  • recognising and rewarding good performance
  • helping to build their confidence to use their own initiative
  • inspiring them with a vision for success
  • ensuring good two-way communication

Both you and your directors will need to use different skills at different times - there's no 'one size fits all' approach to leadership. Lead and motivate your staff.

In addition, the right leadership style will depend on your business and your own character. A softer, mentoring style of leadership may be appropriate - or you may opt for a more charismatic approach.