How to Develop Leadership Skills as a First-time Entrepreneur


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Now I know the title of this episode is How to Develop Leadership Skills as a First-time Entrepreneur.  But no matter if this is your first go-round because you just started to hire a team for your new business; or if you have prior leadership experience (perhaps in the corporate world – managing and leading a department or division).  I’ll tell you (because I know this first hand) – nothing else truly prepares you for the challenges and sometimes joys, of leading your own team, in your own company.

That’s because, this time around, it comes with all sorts of personal feelings and emotions – because it’s yours.  And the stakes of getting it right are much more impactful for you – personally.  At least, it was (and is) for me.  In the beginning, I found myself obsessing over everything – does everyone have enough meaningful work to do; do they have too much; are they happy; is the team getting along; will they hit our productivity goals, and on and on.

But, here’s the thing – becoming a good leader is evolutionary – it’s an ongoing process.  It’s not a set it and forget it thing – that’s because it involves people, and their various perspectives and feelings.  In fact, you can be really satisfied with your leadership, and the team can be firing on all cylinders – and then, one person decides to leave or gets swapped out.  You would be amazed how much that can impact the team.  The new person brings a new personality and a new perspective to the party.

Now, that may be good, or not – but either way, it’ll probably require you to at least revisit your leadership; at minimum a quick check in, to be sure you’re connected with the new team dynamic.

So sharpening your leadership blade is always a good idea. To give you a jumping off point, here are 4 top tips to think about:

I’m afraid there’s no way around it – to be the best leader you can be – well, it’s going to require some self work.  Now, before you roll your eyes and think to yourself – she’s going all woo woo on me – just consider for a minute that you have to have a level of self awareness.  If you can’t recognize, and admit to your strengths and weaknesses – then you haven’t got a shot at knowing what you need to work on.

A resilient leader doesn’t get derailed when they face a setback.  When you can bounce back after adversity and readily adapt to change– that’s resilience.”

For instance, maybe you’re great at problem solving, but your communication skills are rough at best.  Well, if you can’t see that, and admit it to yourself; well then you’re self sabotaging.  Because strong communication is a vital tool for any type of leader.  If you can’t communicate effectively to your team, how are you going to get them to follow you – or even know which way you’re going and what you want them to do to get there.

And speaking of communication – that’s the second tip.  Effective communication and relationship building.  Good leaders pay attention to other people’s perspectives and opinions.  Heck, great leaders actually seek it out.

If you’ve created a solid relationship with someone, and can encourage them to be candid with you – you never know what golden nuggets may come out of that.  Aside from making the relationship stronger; good communication helps people open up.  And some of their suggestions might be just what’s needed to fix that nagging production problem, or catapult sales.

And a quick pro tip – good communication will involve mastering the art of listening.  Actually, not just listening – but active listening.  Active listening is the process of actively paying attention to what the other person is saying, and engaging with them in a way that shows that you understand and care about their concerns.  This means putting away distractions, making eye contact, and asking follow-up questions to clarify any points that are unclear.

So, one of your employees just told you that she’s pregnant.  Feeling overwhelmed, with no idea where to start?  After all, HR just got dumped on your plate.  It’s not your zone of genius, and you don’t want it to be.

Managing California Leave is your answer.  It’s an easy to understand course, that explains what the various leave programs are – without the HR gobbledy gook.  And it gives you a clear step by step guide that walks you through the process of putting someone on leave

Yep, you get all the forms, notices and documents too.  Everything you need to do it right and do it fast.  After all, you don’t have all day – you have other things to do!

Use the link to get an Insider’s sneak peek  And don’t worry – you’ve got this.  And we’ve got you.

Next up – adaptability and resilience.  A resilient leader doesn’t get derailed when they face a setback.  When you can bounce back after adversity and readily adapt to change– that’s resilience.

When you find yourself in the middle of what may feel like chaos, yet you can be decisive and maintain a growth mindset – that’s resilience.  And remember, the job of an entrepreneur is to find solutions – and to find the right solutions, you need a clear, positive, focused mind.

If you’ve been with me for more than a moment, you’ve heard me go on and on about the value of getting help.  But, I’ll say it again – get a mentor!  Trust me, a good mentor, coach and/or mastermind, can go a long long way in refiling your leadership tank.  It will help you to keep from becoming narrow focused, and open you up to new possibilities and solutions.  I know, when I’m feeling behind the 8 ball, like there’s nothing but problems at every turn, or I can’t figure out solutions – it is crazy valuable for me to check in with a mentor.

Because they aren’t buried in the situation, they can see things I never even thought of – and offer suggestions and insights.  Listen, I won’t lie, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to hear – but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.  In fact, sometimes those are the most helpful suggestions.

And in a funny way, that takes us all the way back to the 1st tip – self work and self awareness.  Knowing who you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing is key to becoming a great leader. So, put your mask on first – and then get out there and become the leader you want to be.

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