3 questions to ask to determine if you are a good leader (Entrepreneur.com)

By: Deborah Mitchell  January 26, 2015

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242095

As an entrepreneur, what is your leadership style? I’ve worked for a variety of bosses over the years, all with very different personalities and leadership styles. Some were obsessive micromanagers while others were hands off and provided no guidance as a manager, leaving me to figure out more than a few important things for myself. When you Google leadership styles, one of the first results is courtesy of Wikipedia, which gives the textbook definition of leaders as such: “They range from the grouchy, live-in-fear type of boss, to the merry pack leader who builds a relationship of trust with his subordinates in order to increase productivity.” Further research reveals that good leadership traits include good communication skills, creativity and the ability to inspire workers, all while keeping their staff motivated.

If you are an entrepreneur or plan to become one, ask yourself these three questions and determine what you should do to improve your leadership style.

  1. Are you approachable? 

A company is not measured by the number of employees, but rather, by the employee culture it promotes and the ability of its leader to generate feelings of loyalty and a sense of purpose among his staff. Work performance is more likely to increase when leaders maintain an open-door policy, engage in non-work related conversations, show a sense of humor and stand by their employees when they are facing challenges.

Implementing a better leadership style:

A good exercise in sound leadership is to encourage activities outside the workplace. Activities where the boss joins along — even for an hour — such as training for a marathon, volunteering, taking yoga classes or attending a skill-acquisition workshop are all good ways to be approachable and build team camaraderie. It is also a great way to empower team members and provide them with a sense of purpose other than only focusing on the company’s bottom line.

  1. Have you created a climate of security? 

Creating a climate of security within an organization is a key component to any employee-retention strategy. Bosses should create a bond with employees, often reminding them of their worth and praising them for their performance. In smaller businesses, they should be kept in the loop about upcoming projects and given the sense of security that comes with knowing that they are building their careers on solid ground.

Implementing a better leadership style: 

Adding a personal touch — something as simple as knowing an employee’s name or a personal email complimenting them on a job well-done — can go a long way. If there is a problem or challenging situation at the office, meet with the team in person or send an email to address it. Don’t leave it to your managers to handle.

If your company is very large, employees realize that a true friendship with a boss may not be likely, but they want to feel that their contribution counts or at least is being acknowledged. If you are running a small company, then it’s easy to jump on the phone and talk in person when a job is well done.

  1. Are you leading by example? 

Are you behaving in an unprofessional manner? Employees notice everything, including the behavior and business ethics of their superiors. So if you are cutting corners, lying to employees or clients, or misappropriating funds — you get the picture — your employees have little reason to respect you as a leader. Besides, a sloppy boss will not have enough credibility to criticize a sloppy team!

Implementing a better leadership style: 

A leader should lead by example, be reliable and credible, and care about their reputation as well as the company’s reputation. When it comes to a leader’s work performance, hold yourself to a higher standard –one your team wants to emulate. If employees see you being professional, going the extra mile and/or caring about the work in the way you want them to, then you bet they will want to do the same.