Every family business needs a good leader to assure everyone is fulfilling their roles, business processes are completed correctly and the business is a success. Leading a team is never easy and this can be compounded in a family business due to the personal relationships of everyone involved. While everyone is not a natural born leader, you can learn how to be a leader. But what are the qualities that make you a leader and someone the rest of the family is willing to follow?
“Serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory” [Source]
The first quality is to be proactive. If you are proactive, you do not simply obey orders. You act to improve a situation before it becomes a problem. Good leaders are proactive. They have the ability to observe an issue and decide what needs to be done. And then carry out the action that will alleviate the problem. All possibilities need to be anticipated and a contingency plan created. They don’t wait for problems to materialize before they act. They plan ahead and therefore are fully prepared to handle problems before they even arise.
The next quality is simple – good leaders walk the walk and talk the talk. This is the primary quality that will have the largest influence on the rest of the team. If the family business manager doesn’t do this, his team will not take him seriously. This will in turn result in a breakdown of confidence in the business hierarchy and can cause family business conflicts. To influence others in the business, good leaders need to set the best possible example.
Leaders need to convey professionalism and seriousness. However, that doesn’t mean they can be completely out of touch or unapproachable. An effective family business manager needs to possess social skills to build rapport with others in the business. By having a solid professional relationship with all family members and employees, you can gain trust and be able to lead more effectively
Another quality of good leadership is humility. Good leaders keep their feet solidly on the ground. Everyone knows you are skilled and knowledgeable. You don’t have to remind them of it constantly. You can practice humility by not emphasizing your own personal qualities. Instead, highlight the principles you live by and how practicing these principles to your family business will lead to its’ success. When you put down your own ego and embody a clear sense of humility, the rest of the family business members and employees will gladly follow you.
Being a leader in your family business is not easy. If you are an effective leader, it could make a huge difference to the success of your business. Strive to develop the qualities above and you will be an effective leader. Ready to get started?
No doubt some people can easily socialize and motivate others but some managers fail miserably. However, you can learn the skills necessary to be a successful family business manager. Take a look at these five tips to improving your leadership skills.
Attend leadership training workshops. In the Family Business Performance Center’s workshops, our skilled coaches know how to create the right atmosphere for open dialogue, new conversations and real learning guaranteed to help your family business move forward. Every workshop is designed to facilitate breakthroughs with a combination of learning new skills, exploring existing habits and patterns along with developing commitments and plans that help the family incorporate our strategies into their everyday business. A typical leadership workshop will last several days and you may find it tough. They are designed to push you to your limits so you will know what leadership skills you have and where you need to improve.
A leadership workshop will usually focus on a few leadership qualities and each activity will be designed to help you realize your strengths. For some family business managers, all it takes is a little guidance to push your boundaries and workshops are great venues to do just that.
Find a good mentor. There are many people who claim to be good mentors but can they truly turn you into a great leader. Before you choose a mentor, consider a couple of things. The first thing you should do it check their portfolio. It should show you how successful they are as a leader. After all, if they will be teaching you leadership, they should have a good track record themselves. Next take a look at their website and what they offer. There are several different training delivery methods and you need to choose the one that works best for you. They could offer all or only sum of the following: workshops, eBooks, video tutorials, phone assistance or in person training.
If you really want an honest assessment of your current leadership skills and what you lack, ask someone you supervise. They are often the people most likely to identify your strengths and weakness. Of course, if your brother is the one you ask, you may get a slightly skewed view. If there is sibling rivalry involved, take a look at this video about how to minimize sibling rivalry in family business.
If you take the time to listen to what your team has to say you will get a good idea of how your skills, or lack thereof, are affecting the workplace. Be sure to absorb the praise, while also listening to their complaints, with an open mind. Once you have their feedback spend some time determining if these are valid and make a plan to overcome your weaknesses.
Implement team building exercises. One purpose of team building activities is to get your team to know each other as well as to build more respect for each other. Don’t think that just because you are “family” that you already know Uncle Bob or Cousin Sue! This is often not true. When you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your coworkers it will not only benefit them but also you as their leader. Team building activities will allow you to socialize with everyone and it gives you an opportunity to implement the new leadership skills you have picked up from your mentor or workshops.
Be optimistic. If you want to improve your leadership skills you need to keep a positive frame of mind. That doesn’t mean you should overlook problems and failures. If you are optimistic, even in the face of failure the people you lead will be motivated. Since you have plans in place to deal with problems and conflict, you will be ready for them. The entire family business environment will remain positive. Remember a good leader is always optimistic, composed, and ready for work, regardless of all the difficulties that may surround him.