Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination, on Cooperation not intimidation. ~ William Arthur Wood.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you are the leader. As a business owner these are attributes that I believe make a great leader:
1. A great leader has to be confident while also being humble. This can be a tough balance because you do have to exude boldness and be sure of yourself when speaking to your team. You do not want to appear as if you don't know anything. People will not follow you. You have to understand that you are not the most important person in the room.
As the leader of your company, you rely on your team to provide clients and customers the best service and care possible. Therefore they are more important than you and as a leader it is key that team members know you are aware of what they provide and bring to the table. People want to feel valued and appreciated. Thus, you show confidence in leading your team by providing a vision, but you are humble enough to know that they are an integral part in the vision being a reality. Show gratitude for your team members. Say thank you and converse them as often as possible. If you have to put this time on your calendar, do it.
2. A great leader hires and listen to the people who are more knowledgeable. In our embroidery business, in the past, I started out on the embroidery machines while handling customer service and HR. However, as we have grown, we now have a Production Manager who has been with us 9 years. He is extremely more knowledgeable than me when it comes to embroidery projects. I lean on him and the production team for their expertise.
3. A great leader works to get to the root cause of a problem. When there is an issue within your company, you have to go below the surface to determine the root cause of the problem. For example if you have a lot of customer complaints, you could simply say we need to reduce customer complaints, but that will not resolve the issues. You must dig deeper...listen to your team. Listen to your customers. What are customers complaining about? Is it one issue or is it multiple issues.
In your business you have to be honest with yourself. Even if it hurts. Your business is your baby. You love it. No one wants anyone calling their baby ugly, but you can only fix a problem once you are aware of it and its cause. I have found when we get to the root cause of an issue our company is better off in the long run.
4. A great leader is not a tyrant. Perhaps that worked many years ago. But today people are not going to stick with a company and work hard for that company if the leader is rude, ungrateful, demeaning and arrogant. Walking around the office yelling and harassing people. No one wants to be abused by anyone. Everyone deserves respect from the janitor to the CEO. The adage "treat others how you would like to be treated" is a great value to have in your company and as a leader.
leaders inspire. Meaning they must have and communicate a clear and hopeful vision for everyone. Imagine if you had a company where the CEO only provided the long term vision for the company to a select few employees. No one else in the company knew the vision outside of those few. How far will that company get towards accomplishing that vision? Not very far. That is a company that will ultimately go out of business or fail. A leader may let their direct reports know the vision and then that vision gets passed down from there but the key is everyone in the firm must be on the same page...moving in the same direction.
You will often find that successful companies will have all company meetings to discuss the vision. To discuss the companies future. They do not even want to take the chance of the message being conveyed incorrectly. . A nation that is suppose to be UNITED. A leader of a company aims to inspire the entire team for the betterment of the whole. Not just a select group.
If you desire to lead your company well, you must be humble, hire smart and listen to those smart people, respect and be thankful for all of the people that are working towards the common goal and you as the leader must community that common goal and vision. You as a leader is ultimately responsible for the success of your company and no one else.