Communication skills are critical to the success of any business. All business leaders will need to be good at delegating tasks to employees and offering clear and concise directions to reduce timely and costly mistakes.
Learning leadership skills is essential for anyone who wants to work in administration at any business.
Think of being a business leader as if it were a military position. You are in charge of a unit and are ultimately responsible for how well it performs. Teamwork, motivation, and morale are key to the success of any company.
Avoiding conflict is nice when it is beneficial to do so, but there are times when conflicts really need to be addressed in a fair and efficient manner. This means having guidelines in place to ensure that all parties are treated fairly and get a chance to voice their side of an issue.
Conflict within a company or department needs to be addressed promptly so that it does not escalate into something much more serious. Any conflict has the potential to slow down important projects and lead to lost revenue.
Business leaders need to encourage employees to compromise and learn to work together even if they have vastly different opinions.
Conflict resolution between your company and clients or customers is something that you will regularly have to do. Conflict may be a bit of a strong word in some of these cases. Undoubtably, there will be customers or clients who need changes made to a contract or order, or they may have a complaint regarding a flawed product. Correcting customer problems promptly is something that they will remember and tell others, thus encouraging others to choose your firm over competitors.
Teamwork is essential
Part of being a business leader is encouraging teamwork. This means offering employees the encouragement and tools they need to achieve their goals together. It is easier to get a project done if everyone takes on the tasks that they are most qualified to do. Of course, constant communication and regular meetings are essential for working in a team. Setting up communications networks and databases is helpful and keeps things organized.
Teamwork is not always easy. There will be challenges at times. Leaders need to stay up to date on progress and take note of employees who appear to be struggling to fulfill their duties, as well as those who are doing what is expected or more. Those who are struggling should be given a chance to explain what they are having trouble with and why. They may not be meeting standards for a reason that is beyond their control.
Great leadership skills boost company morale
When employees feel great about where they work and what they do, the company itself reaps the rewards. Employees who feel appreciated are far more likely to go above and beyond to get things done. Better morale fosters creativity and willingness to express new ideas.
When your company is known as a great place to work, every time you advertise for an open position, you are more likely to get some exceptional and highly desirable applicants, rather than the less motivated and inexperienced.
Great morale at a company encourages employees to stick with you for the long term. Above-average employee retention rates mean that you have staff who know a lot about your company. This makes work far more efficient and reduces human resource costs. Recruiting and training new employees costs money. In some specialized positions, it may take months for an employee to really become knowledgeable about working at a company. It is less expensive over time to work hard to keep employees loyal. Even with regular salary increases, it is well worth investing in loyalty and experience.
Networking builds leadership skills
There are many opportunities to network in the world of business. Seminars and conferences are constantly taking place both online and in person. While it may be tempting to only attend virtual conferences and seminars, there is great value in networking face to face with peers and colleagues. Not only will you make invaluable connections and gain opportunities, but you are also likely to find some great friendships and camaraderie.
You should also encourage employees to network. Occasionally setting aside the time for an entire department to attend at least some virtual conferences is a great idea. If your company is larger and can afford it, picking some team members to attend in-person events can really boost your company’s exposure.
Of course, don’t forget to utilize sites such as LinkedIn. A lot of people maintain a LinkedIn profile to boost their professional presence and reputation. Remember that it is a great tool for recruiting new hires to your company.
Improve your written communication skills
A lot of business that is conducted still relies on written communications. Writing skills are not always emphasized as much as they should be in higher education, thus resulting in a lot of people entering the workforce who are used to mostly communicating in brief text messages or emails.
Business leaders must know how to clearly write down announcements, instructions, press releases, and more. Taking a class on writing for the media or a writing class specific to business is highly recommended.
Advanced degree programs are another way to hone your communication skills. There are MBA programs online that you can complete on a flexible schedule while maintaining your day job. This means that you can put your new business skills to work right away. Kettering University Online offers an accelerated MBA program for aspiring business administrators that may be completed in 18 months.
Strong business leaders must have high emotional intelligence
Being a leader means going with the flow and being able to handle matters when things get tough. A high level of motivation and dedication to get a job done even if it seems as though everything is falling apart is a trait that will take you far in the business world. Of course, that is not easy to do. If this doesn’t sound like you, then don’t give up. You can become more motivated and take charge if you really want to.
Leaders need to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses and always be aware of them. No one is perfect. You must know your strengths and use them as best you can to achieve your goals and motivate your team. As you gain experience, your strengths will become more apparent to you. In areas in which you are weaker, don’t feel bad about sometimes delegating some of these tasks to other team members who are more talented in that area.
However, you should be observant and involved enough that you improve your areas of weakness over time. You may actually be able to gain a strength if you are dedicated enough to improving your skills.
Always look at the big picture
What is the main vision of your company? Is this something that is still unclear because your firm is just getting started? What are your company’s goals? What ideas do you have to take the company to the top? These are just a few of the questions that leaders should be asking. Having a vision of where the company wants to be in two years, five years, and beyond is important. This is the first step toward creating a realistic plan to move your company forward.
Leaders are planners
Strategic planning means taking small steps to reach a major goal. To maximize the chances of a major improvement, leaders must learn to make plans that are realistic and then try to exceed them if possible.
Always remember that it is terrible for employee morale if goals are set too high. It is far better to set the bar lower and then work as hard as possible and exceed it. The last thing you want is for your team to work in an environment where there is often a looming aura of inevitable failure.
Good plans take time and a lot of research to compile. Delegating tasks to create a strong plan will help it come together more quickly. Another advantage to involving a lot of other people is that you have a pool of feedback and different ideas and viewpoints that can make plans stronger from the very beginning.
Leaders need to be good at speaking to groups
There are actually very few people who are naturally good public speakers. When there is a lot of pressure to impress, it is normal to be nervous or apprehensive. Unfortunately, these feelings can make you seem as though you lack confidence in yourself and the ideas you are trying to present.
From board meetings to seminars, leaders must improve their public speaking skills. Successful leaders are often asked to give seminars and lectures. While you don’t have to do them all, there is something to be said for doing some.
Practice is the only way to get better at public speaking. Some degree programs may have public speaking classes built into them, but there is nothing like more practice. Your friends and family are good places to start, but there are organizations such as Toastmasters and other groups that can help. However, speaking to your work team is the best daily experience you can get.
Take ownership of your mistakes and learn from them
Always admit when you make a mistake or cause a problem. Not taking ownership of your mistakes is off-putting to your work colleagues. Employees need to realize that you do not think that you are better than them or feel as though they have to shoulder the blame when you make a decision that doesn’t work out.
Everyone makes mistakes, and smart people learn from them. When you make a mistake, you need to acknowledge it and figure out what led to the mistake and how you can avoid repeating it in the future. Never allow the blame to be placed on someone who is not deserving of it.
Be a great mentor
It is important to understand that as a business leader, there will be employees who look up to you and want to learn. An open-door policy when those with less experience want advice or guidance will lead others to admire and respect you more. Mentoring encourages loyalty and motivates your employees to do the best job they can.
When possible, pair new employees with more experienced ones during training periods and encourage further mentorship as the new hire continues to learn their role and settle into the company.
Know the difference between leadership styles and learn to utilize all of them
Different leadership models are useful. A good leader understands the different methods for making decisions and delegating responsibility. No model is ideal for all situations. One model may work better for one company department than another. There are pros and cons to all methods.
- Democratic leadership model
Using a democratic model involves asking employees a lot of questions and using that knowledge to make final decisions and strategic moves. The advantage is that you can learn a lot from your employees. This may be especially useful to managers who are new to a company. The downside is that getting a lot of input and considering the pros and cons of it takes a considerable amount of time.
- Bureaucratic leadership model
For jobs involving straightforward and basic tasks, a bureaucratic approach is useful. Employees have strict rules and procedures that they must follow. The advantage is that your employees always know what expectations they need to fulfill to achieve satisfactory performance reviews. The bureaucratic model is not the best type of leadership model if you want to encourage innovation and creativity.
- Autocratic leadership model
There may be times when you really just need to make a fast decision. There is not always time to consult with other people, or at least not as many as you are used to collaborating with. The advantage of the autocratic model is that you do not have to deal with people who think that they know a lot more than they do, or that simply have far less experience in an area than you do.
When used too often, the autocratic model can make people feel excluded. Relying on your own decisions too much can also be stressful and sometimes lead to the feeling that you let everyone down. Reserve autocratic decision-making for specific decisions that you really need to take charge of.
- Servant leadership model
Serving your team is the main priority when using this leadership model. As a leader, you will be working toward creating a great team environment that keeps employees happy. This is a fantastic model for building morale and employee retention rates. However, when situations arise where you have to make tough decisions that are going to negatively impact some team members, it can be very difficult.
A good example would be if your company is changing directions and you have to eliminate several people from employment, or if you have to ask people to work extra hours when you know that this is something they would prefer not to do.
Remember that you will never make everyone completely happy all the time
Being a people person is an asset when you want to work in business administration. The desire to keep everyone happy is a noble one, but it is impossible to achieve this all the time, especially if you work at a big company and deal with a lot of clients.
Leaders must do what they can to satisfy their work requirements and gain and retain clients. However, there are times when you can try to do everything right, make considerable accommodations, and still get negative feedback or lose customers.
It is important to not get too upset over the occasional negative review or loss of clientele. Sometimes companies are better off shedding a difficult client and using their time to do a great job for the clients they already have. Alternatively, the extra time can be spent recruiting more clients that are eager to work with your firm.
Business leaders need to make an effort to hone their communication and leadership skills. By doing so, they will experience greater levels of success than their counterparts that do the bare minimum.
Employees will want to work with you and trust your leadership if you take the time to empathize and keep them in the loop about what is going on at the company.
It is important to understand that leadership and communication skills do not come as naturally to some people as others. However, this does not mean that these skills cannot be improved drastically with experience and effort.