Every team needs someone whom they can turn to for guidance, inspiration and motivation. Without a great leader, a business may quickly find itself directionless and producing poor results.
As successful business leaders themselves, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council have learned a lot about effective leadership during their careers. Below, nine of them share some of the lessons they’ve learned recently, and explain how these lessons have helped them improve their leadership skills and, ultimately, their businesses.
Young Entrepreneur Council members share their top leadership lessons.
1. Great Leaders Should Be Willing To Serve
This has always been ingrained in me, but a recent incident proved it to be true. Everyone is short-staffed now, including us, and there weren't enough workers to finish a particular manual project. It had to get done, so I jumped in. It had been years since I did this kind of work, but I was capable. My employees developed a new respect for me because I was willing to work on their level. They also realized that I knew how to do it correctly. Many employees forget that business owners typically start by doing all the work themselves, and this showed them that I earned my right to own a business by doing the hard work. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
2. It’s Important To Be Transparent With All Employees
I’ve recently learned that everyone in a company should know what happens in the company. Moreover, I just discovered software that helps me create video business reports. In the following month, I will create a video report with the main things that happened in the past 30 days and share it with everyone involved in our business development team. Being more transparent empowers people and builds trust so they know they are working in a company that cares for them. - Alexandru Stan, Tekpon
3. It's A Leader's Job To Help Grow And Develop Employees
A great leader encourages others, helps them improve their skills and is rewarded with competent employees who can move mountains. I always said that it's the sign of a great leader if you can help grow an employee so much that someday they leave you and go on to find great success in their own company. You'll see this trend with some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our times. Some of the most successful companies (and entrepreneurs) spawn dozens or hundreds of other successful companies from just one organization. - Andy Karuza, NachoNacho
4. You Don’t Have To Do Everything Yourself
One of the greatest lessons I have learned as a leader in my company is the power of delegation. The belief that “I have to do everything” destroyed the productivity and efficiency of what I used to do. The day when I started trusting my subordinates and my fellow co-workers and started delegating tasks that can be handled in a very similar or better way, my life got so much better. Now I’m not just doing the tasks that I love to do, but I’m also expanding my wings to better learn about the industry and bring more value to the team. I can spend more one-on-one time with the team now, and do what's important for the longevity and growth of the company versus the immediate and urgent solutions. - Jay Dahal, Machnet
5. Leaders Need To Check On And Manage Employee Stress
Employees may not always share how stressed they are. This makes it difficult for them to perform and for you to retain them. We lost one of our top-performing employees because they couldn't manage their stress and burned out. This made me realize that, as leaders, we need to keep a check on our employees and help manage their stress. To create a healthy working environment and encourage employees to share, we conduct monthly meetings in which we discuss our successes and challenges. We've built an environment where every team member looks out for one another. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. You Don't Always Have To Have All The Answers
There's something to be said for being a great leader who always has the answers. But I've recently learned that it's just as important, if not more so, to be a leader who knows how to listen to and encourage team contributions. One of the best ways to do this is by asking for input instead of always giving directives. I have started incorporating regular input from team members on our projects, processes and work progress. Allowing team contributions has enriched how we approach client projects and tackle internal challenges, as everyone gives input on what they find to be the greatest blocker. Creating an environment where team members feel safe to make mistakes means learning and growing. When the team members grow, the whole team succeeds. - Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
7. Paths Are Rarely Linear
A lesson I've learned recently is that things often take longer than anticipated—the path is rarely linear. Sometimes it is easy, but one is better served by considering that more an exception to the rule. Knowing this reality, businesses can be built more resiliently. As opposed to overpromising and underdelivering, more realistic timelines and expectations can be set. If one is able to overdeliver and beat estimates, even better! By accepting the fact that things don't always go according to plan, leaders are also able to become more emotionally resilient to setbacks because they acknowledge them as part of the process. Having an outlook of the future that is more realistic and grounded in reality will make one more prepared and ready for the future when it comes. - Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement
8. Mistakes Are Opportunities For Learning
If you make a mistake, it's okay. All too often, when we're starting out, we think in black and white and believe that a single win or success defines who we are as a whole. However, this isn't the case. We're human, and we all have off days. It's important to learn from our mistakes so that we can improve. Being comfortable with changes in my situation and embracing both failures and successes has helped me become a better leader in my business. It's helped me to be more flexible and adaptable, which is an important skill. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
9. Doubling Down On Your People Pays Off
When the pandemic hit and so many businesses let workers go, I doubled down on websites and work. I made sure that my team knew I was invested in them and their future, no matter what. In turn, this doubling down and trusting my instincts really paid off as my clients appreciated how I handled the situation and my team developed more loyalty. We are stronger than ever, proving that doubling down on your people really pays off. It is also a lesson in trusting your instincts. My business improved because I listened to my instincts to really dig into our services and keep our team together. - Matthew Capala, Alphametic
Image Credit: The Individual Members
Membership is open to businesses and organizations interested in increasing visibility and brand awareness in Westchester County and surrounding areas.