One of the most important and effective drivers of business leadership success is intentionality. For a business owner, intentionality refers to having a clear purpose, a well-defined plan, and a comprehensive infrastructure in place for not just running the organization, but also in creating a prosperous business and a thriving company culture. Many business owners conflate the concepts of running their businesses and leading their businesses. But the two are actually different – albeit interdependent – goals that require very different efforts.
Knowing how to run a business is certainly crucial, as it is the fuel that keeps the machine running. But business leadership? Now that requires something that transcends plans, processes and contracts.
Intentionality in business leadership includes having a clarity of purpose and a long-term vision for the future of the company. Intentional leaders are committed to employee development, enhancing their team’s overall wellbeing, and creating an environment in which people want to perform at their best.
It is important for business owners to think beyond their operational role. The distinction is the difference between being a boss who oversees the business and being a leader who fosters and inspires success throughout the business. Which would you rather be?
Business leaders are not born, they are cultivated. This is a journey that requires a commitment to personal and professional development. By intentionally navigating your rise to true leadership and thinking at a higher, more dynamic level, business owners can transform themselves into the leaders they want to become.
Here are five effective actions you can implement now to become a better business leader.
1. Focus on Self-Awareness.
Self-awareness involves having a comprehensive and fact-based understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, as wekk as the ability to recognize how your words and actions impact those around you. Self-awareness is foundational to every successful business leader, but it is also a hard thing to quantify within ourselves. Afterall, most people truly believe that they already possess at least some degree of self-awareness.
To enhance your self-awareness, set aside time each day to reflect on the interactions you have and the decisions you make. Analyze the outcomes and the impact that your choices and approaches may have had on them. Consider your emotional connection to certain scenarios and how those emotions might have affected not just your actions and behaviors, but also the reactions you received to them. Consider starting a journal with your thoughts and insights.
2. Devote Yourself to Continuous Learning.
Leadership improvement starts with a commitment to continuous learning. Learning opportunities expose leadership to fresh ideas, emerging innovations, and insightful lessons from the past. A hungry mind almost automatically increases one’s ability to problem solve, strategize, and make important decisions.
Consider joining a business owner peer advisory board, taking leadership webinars, and listening to relevant podcasts. Regardless of where or how you educate yourself, make learning a sustained goal and be sure to benchmark it in a way that makes sense to you.
3. Enhance Your Effective Communication Skills.
In a lot of ways, your communication skills are your calling card. It is important as business leader to communicate information and personal insight in a clear, concise, and transparent way. Effective communication increases organization productivity, improves employee engagement, and facilitates trust throughout your business.
For executable ways to improve your business leadership communication skills, download our free whitepaper titled “Say What You Mean: How To Enhance Your Communication Skills As a Business Leader.”
4. Create a Vision for Your Business.
Company vision is far more than a simple statement on where you want to see the business in five or ten years. Your vision is a long-term tool that, if executed effectively, will guide your decision-making, inspire action, and unite your team now and in the future. Great business leaders appreciate the power that a compelling company vision can have on their business and the people within.
Though it might feel counterintuitive, your company vision should first start with a strong personal vision. According to The Alternative Board Worldwide President & CEO Jason Zickerman, “You are much more likely to achieve the vision you want for your business if it is aligned with the vision you want for your life.”
5. Lead by Example.
As the owner of your business, all eyes are on you. Whether vocalized or not, your team analyzes every move and decision you make. Leading by example means modeling the behavior that is becoming of a business leader, while setting the tone for others to do the same. By embodying the qualities you expect from your team, you inspire them to follow your lead.
Be conscious of demonstrating integrity and respect in the interactions you have throughout your organization. Even when challenged or aggravated, always choose to maintain an objective and receptive demeanor in front of others. Be as transparent as possible, even when having to make tough decisions.
For more information on how to become a better leader in your business, read "The Importance of a Leadership Development Plan."