Leadership skills are crucial if you are to manage a successful business. Even if you’re self-employed and you’re the only employee in your business, you’ll need to have many of the attributes of a good leader if you are to persuade lenders to help fund your venture, work with suppliers to secure your product offering, and attract and retain customers or clients.
For new franchisees, this can be daunting. One day you’re an entrepreneur on the lookout for business opportunities, and the next you’re recruiting staff for your new venture and leading them as a franchisee. Leadership comes naturally to some people and is more problematic for others, but while some people are born natural leaders, it is not impossible to learn the skills necessary for business leadership. Here, we’ll go over some of the most important attributes of good leaders and how you can develop them yourself.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re hoping to assess the leadership skills of an employee or potential franchisee. We’ll also take a look at how you can evaluate the suitability of an employee to take on a managerial role.
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5 Ways to Develop Franchise Leadership
Let’s imagine you would like to become a better leader or prepare yourself for an upcoming promotion opportunity. Here are five ways you can develop key leadership skills:
- Lead decisively. Employees look up to leaders to provide clear instructions. As a result, leaders should give employees the reassurance they need to understand that the business is in good hands. Leaders that take a long time to make a decision or keep changing their mi nd will earn the frustration of their delegates. You can’t always be sure which course of action will yield the best results if you’re faced with several, but your delegates won’t be either, so use the knowledge you have to make an informed decision and stick to it.
- Set your standards. If you are to keep the respect of your employees, you’ll need to be clear about what you expect from them and take action if their work or attitude is not up to the standard you set out – even if this is just a quick private discussion. When you set standards, your employees know what to aim for. It is likely that they’ll even feel a sense of achievement when they surpass your expectations. Of course, you’ll need to adhere to your standards too; a hypocritical boss is destined to lose the respect of his/her employees. If you set high standards for yourself, you can be sure you are playing a valuable role in the business.
- Listen. While you should earn the respect of your colle agues, you should still be approachable and open. Your employees should understand that they can come to you with any problems and that you will try to resolve them if you can. When someone comes to you with a complaint, don’t try to make it go away as quickly as possible by sweeping it under the rug. You will gain the admiration of your colleagues if you make a genuine effort to find a resolution.
- Create a cooperative environment. A business is successful if its workforce can work well together. Therefore, promote a culture of openness, where employees are comfortable to share the workload, as well as any emotional load they may have. To facilitate this atmosphere, you could organise team building days, where colleagues can get to know each other better and improve their ability to work as a team. This could have the added benefit of boosting morale. When workers understand and get on well with their colleagues, they are less likely to feel positive about coming to work, which, in turn, could improve their output and efficiency.
- Embrace change. You risk missing huge opportunities if you are hesitant to make changes. Technology, consumer habits and social attitudes are all being constantly transformed, causing businesses to rethink the way they work. Listen to the younger generation and work out how the business could be improved by acknowledging the priorities of a new generation of consumers. By being open to change, you could vastly improve the business’ offering, profitability, environmental impact and reputation – to name just a few possibilities.
Characteristics of a Strong Leader
We’ve highlighted five ways to become a better leader, but there are a huge number of leadership skills. You’ll also need to be self-motivated and passionate about the business; be logical and able to effectively create effective strategies; and have a sense of character, be likeable and be able to inspire the workforce.
Leadership Style Assessment
There are various ways to evaluate someone’s leadership skills. Business.com suggests main four ways:
- Observe their character and work ethic. As a first step, try to get an understanding of their working style in their current role. A good leader will always try to get the best outcome for the company, rather than pursuing authority or wealth.
- Use predictive assessment tools and personality assessments. To get a more ‘scientific’ appraisal, you could use online tools or IT software to find out whether their personality and skills match those needed for leadership.
- Ask around. A good leader must work well with other people, so talking to the person’s current co-workers will give you a good idea of whether they are a suitable candidate.
- Put their skills to the test. There’s no better way to see whether they measure up than to offer them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in a short-term leadership role. You could put them in charge of a project or encourage them to mentor more junior members of staff over a set period of time.
By taking one or more of these approaches with several potential candidates, you can compare your findings to find the best person for the job.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©