Leadership January 07, 2014By: Anthony Pollino

leadership quoteBeing a CEO and an entrepreneur is about more than dollars and ideas. It’s about people.

To run a successful business you must be able to lead people. You must be able to lead people to buy and love your product. You must be able to lead people to build and sell your product.

Here are 7 ways to improve your leadership skills and become a better entrepreneur.

#1 – Never Stop Learning.

Innovation is a war cry for many a startup and small business. As an entrepreneur and leader of your company, you need to embrace innovation personally and professionally. The best way to do this is to keep learning and evolving. Don’t assume you know everything about your industry.

Make a list of books to read, both business related and non-business related. Consider learning basic coding – which will help you communicate with your developers and understand more about emerging markets.

#2 – Focus on Solutions.

The business world can be uncertain. Failure happens, but don’t assume that every rocky time means the end of your big dream. You should always be realistic, but always seek the solution in every situation, rather than the problems.

#3 – Ask for Help.

The best leaders understand their limitations and know when to ask for help. You can’t be an effective leader if you’re trying (and failing) to do everything yourself. Hire great people and trust them to do their job. It’s also a good idea to use small business consultants to help you move your company forward.

#4 – Get Organized.

As a leader, you should never feel like you are juggling your tasks and it should definitely never look like you are struggling to get things done. If you want to improve your leadership skills, then you need to get organized. There are a lot of different productivity apps out there. Choose the one that works best for you.

Make sure you keep your office organized too. You don’t need to be a neat freak, but you also need to know where your important documents are located. Get your financial documents in order, as well as your client files – this means both offline and online files.

#5 – Listen and then Act Accordingly.

Listening and leadership go hand in hand. Every leadership blog and book will tell you to listen to your employees. Most of them, however, forget to mention what you should do after you listen – you need to act.

Don’t just give your employees the appearance that you care about what they say. Do something with the feedback they provide. If people have great ideas, put them to use. If people aren’t happy, find the solution to make things better.

#6 – Be Authentic.

People can spot a fake personality a mile away. To be a great leader you must be authentic. Be honest in your interactions. Your customers, clients and employees will be more loyal to you if you are open and honest. Be who you are.

Long gone are the days where people need to have a “professional persona.” People respond to personal stories and layered personalities. People also respond to faults. Own your mistakes and, like we say in #2, find a creative way to fix those mistakes.

Be yourself. Your business will thank you for it.

#7 – Remember It’s Not about You.

At the end of the day, leadership is about empowering other people. Whether you are empowering your employees or your customers, your leadership prowess all hinges on whether or not you can motivate others to succeed.

Take ego out of the picture and focus on your goals. If you want to bring a great product to the market, then focus on serving your consumer. If you want to build a strong business, then focus on empowering great talent and building a great product for people to use.

Staying focused on others will set you apart from other entrepreneurs and keep your small business ahead of your competition.