No one can achieve success in business on their own. Even running a sole trader business, we have many people around us that we rely on for support, advice, and supplies. Likewise, there are many who rely on us, from our customers to our families.

Leadership is one of those essential qualities for any business owner. A great leader can gather the support and attention they need to make a go of their business — no matter what market you are operating in.

But what is leadership?

A simple definition is “the ability to encourage and inspire others to follow you on a journey or quest”. Using this definition, it’s clear that even if you don’t have staff, there are people you need to encourage and inspire in order to get to your goals.

Great leaders possess the following qualities:

  1. They are able to communicate their goals and aspirations. Great leaders have an unerring ability to paint a picture of where they are heading in life, and in business. They tell stories, they use examples, and they are clear and precise about their goals in terms of quantity and timing.
  2. They can explain why joining them is a good idea. Beyond setting the goals or aspirations, they are able to encourage others to join that journey.
  3. They bring everyone along for the journey. Once a great leader has people on their journey, they don’t treat them as slaves just there to perform some task. They are constantly keeping each individual inspired, and informed about the role they are performing and how they are doing in relation to that role.
  4. They don’t take sole credit. A great leader communicates the importance of each person on their journey and for the results obtained.
  5. They celebrate success and milestones. A great leader celebrates milestones along the way and when a goal is reached. And they share the love for all who joined them and contributed to the journey. Whether this is in the form of loyalty, bonuses, awards, commendations, or a kind word.

You can be a good leader if you focus on being competent in these areas, but it also goes beyond the aforementioned qualities.

Great leaders also choose goals and journeys that have an outcome beyond just their own financial rewards. They choose to support the community, or their team, or some specific goal that elevates beyond this to true social and community benefit.

Any journey worth taking always has benefits beyond those to the individual leader. And people follow them because of this. Everyone who chooses to walk a road with you, does it because they believe in you, because they want to support it, because they want to play a part.

What’s one thing you can do today to begin the journey toward being a great small business leader?

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