From chefs to CEOs, businesses depend on their leaders to set the tone for their organization. Strong leadership moves your business forward. Weak leadership can undermine the goals your business is trying to accomplish. Every leader has areas of strength and weakness. By looking at different aspects of your leadership, you can assess your performance, build on your strengths and work to improve areas of weakness.
Creating a Clear Vision
As a leader, your vision drives your business. Strong leaders have a clear, long-term view of their business and its goals. This keeps you and your employees focused on what’s important. When you run into snags, you’re able to evaluate how to move forward based on what’s best for your business. For example, if you’re working on a building and you find out materials you need aren’t going to arrive on time, you could respond in a number of ways. You could relay the scheduling delay to your client or try to find another supplier. Your response depends on the relationships involved and how those relationships impact your business now and in the future.
If you have a weakness when it comes to strategic thinking, you may get bogged down in day-to-day details. You may not have a fully thought out plan for where you want your business to be five or 10 years in the future. You can remedy this by sitting down and creating a clear vision with concrete goals for your business in one year, five years and even 10 years from now. Use this vision to inform your decisions and communicate it to your employees so everyone is working toward a common goal.
Building Strong Relationships
Strong leaders build quality relationships with employees, colleagues and clients. You trust and empower your employees to do their jobs and complete tasks. You provide positive feedback when an employee does well and coaching when you see an area where the employee struggles. You respect your colleagues and managers and communicate clearly with clients. If there are hiccups or challenges in completing work for the client, you let them know what’s going on and provide solutions.
If building relationships is an area of weakness, you may have trouble giving constructive feedback to employees. You may focus on the negatives or micromanage your employees, which can lead to low morale. On the flip side, you may worry about being liked, so you may be hesitant to give feedback at all. You may dismiss input from colleagues or managers. When it comes to clients, you may not communicate regularly, which puts you in the position of only contacting them when there’s bad news instead of building an ongoing relationship.
Efficiently Executing the Work
Execution means getting things done. You can depend on a strong leader to get things accomplished. You’re driven by results and committed to achieving those results. You’re not afraid to be held accountable and you hold those around you accountable as well. In a sales environment, for example, you might be accountable for bringing in a set amount of revenue. You keep that goal in mind and motivate your employees to meet that goal. You either get it done or, in the rare instances you fall short, you have a plan for achieving that goal at your next opportunity.
If your execution is weak, you lose credibility as a leader. People rely on you to get results, after all. It may be a matter of delegating some of your responsibilities to a team member so you can remain focused on your goals. If you have team members who are struggling, you may need to intervene and coach them.
Taking the Time to Reflect
When you’re running a business, it can be hard to take time out to reflect. This is critical to understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re unsure of what your areas of weakness are, ask a trusted colleague or manager for feedback. You can also seek out career counseling or therapy to help you evaluate how you perform as a leader. Either on your own or with the assistance of someone you trust, create a plan for tackling your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths.