What actually makes a good business mentor and leader?
As a business mentor and owner of three businesses, I know exactly what it takes to be a good business mentor and leader, so I’ve put together a list of 10 essential skills to be one! They may not all come to you straight away, but over time they most definitely will! Leading a team can be difficult, you may feel a lot of pressure, but it’s these skills that will help you thrive…
Confidence is everything. It’s a key leadership skill, as if you seem confident and self-assured, others will see that, and in turn they will have confidence in you and what you’re doing. Motivation and moral will likely stay higher, as your employees are likely to feel more secure if you’re confident; as they can see you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t at times! It’s completely normal to not feel confident all the time, but confidence is something that builds over time. As you progress more your confidence will grow and you’ll start to thrive. Trust me, I know!
Being enthusiastic is definitely essential, especially as a business mentor. It shows that you have assurance in what you’re doing, and faith in your team! It links back to confidence, in the sense that if you’re enthusiastic and excited about something, and people around you will be too! If you’re acting as if you don’t care, or just generally have a low energy demeanor, it will affect workplace moral, and the confidence your team has in you. Being able to keep a team motivated is an essential part of being a leader.
Being innovative means being original and being able to think of new ideas! Not necessarily on your own, but also an innovative person will be able to bounce off other people to come up with something great, especially if you and your team have a really great bond. Coming up with original ideas can be difficult, since so much has been done already, but it’s certainly possible, so having the right team will really help you to enhance this skill, and think smart.
Resilience is always pushing forward, always striving for the best, even when times are tough. I know exactly how it feels to be disheartened or stressed because things don’t always go to plan, because its true… things don’t always go how you think they will. But pushing through and being able to come out the other side shows true resilience. It’s this motivational quality that’s going to push your team to become resilient as well, it will inspire them! It can be very difficult, but it’s worth it at the end of the day to see the people you work with take after you! Check out my blog on the importance of resilience in business!
Trust, honesty… it’s important in all parts of life, but especially for a leader. Having your team have trust in you is a great feeling, but the only way for this to happen is to simply be honest! If you’re hiding things from your team, and they feel they can’t trust you, it’s likely going to discourage them as they may feel insecure. If you’re open and honest with your team, about any changes happening, any challenges you’re facing, or even personal things, you’re building a trustworthy relationship. This is going to create a much closer knit team. You’ve got to take accountability for your actions, and be completely honest about it. Read more about the importance of honesty within your business here!
Being prepared is a big part of being a great business mentor. Of course, I know you physically cannot prepare for absolutely everything, but you can work out the ‘controllables’ and prepare as best as possible for these. ‘Controllables’ are things that we CAN control. There’s a whole chapter about these in my book ‘No Longer Last on the List’. Being prepared means planning out whatever you can to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Not everything always goes to plan, which is perfectly normal! But it’s important that if things aren’t working out quite as you intended that you’re honest about it. You and your team are likely to become quite stressed if things are unorganized, which will affect the workflow.
Optimism (but real)
Optimism is SO important! Being honest, people won’t want to work with you if you’re a pessimist, its negative, and negative energy isn’t going to keep people motivated. Being optimistic means being hopeful and positive about the future, and your aspirations. If you have faith, others will to! Whilst I say optimism is key, which it is, it’s also important to make sure you stay real. Don’t be optimistic about unrealistic things, and create false hope within those around you. Make sure you’re goals and aspirations are realistic and achievable.
Communication is possibly the most important on this list. Communication is what can make or break something! Having good communication skills is absolutely essential. This includes communicating any changes, anything new; communicating what needs doing, but also includes talking about your thoughts and feelings to your team. It links back to being honest! Bad communication can really be a downfall of any relationship, especially between you and your team. It’s a two way street, you should expect the same from them! If workplace relationships are strained, it’s going to have an effect on workflow, and overall moral.
Empathy is essential as it means you will be able to better understand what your team are speaking to you about. Being able to empathize is something quite overlooked, but if your employee is stressed or anxious and they want to speak to you, empathy is how you understand them and their needs. It can help you figure out how to help. Being able to empathize also adds a personal touch, which will further strengthen your relationships with your team.
Awareness of your team and the people around you is important, but what’s just as important is self awareness. Being aware of your own actions and words and how they may affect people, not necessarily just negatively, but if it’s going to make someone feel good, say it! Being aware of your surroundings is crucial as well. You’ve got to be able to notice when something’s wrong or needs to change. It’s important to stay on top of everything as best you can so you can plan, and know what to do if something goes wrong.
In order to be a great leader and business mentor, it’s important you put these skills into practice. Some people it comes naturally to, some people it won’t! But you can always learn. Over time your skills set and confidence builds and you will grow into a fantastic leader. Each of these skills links directly back to keeping your teams moral high and keeping everyone motivated, which is a key part of being a leader.
The most important thing about being a leader is making sure you always take accountability for your actions, and everything that you do. Honesty is key!