5 ways to develop your business leadership skills

By Tiffany Rowe

Your success in small business depends on your ability to inspire and lead your team. As a small business owner, you can’t depend on anyone else to give your company and your employees what they need. You need to be the one to do it, and that means you need always to be learning more about being a better business leader. Here’s how you can develop the leadership skills needed to grow your business over the long term.

-Find a mentor

A mentor is an experienced role model who can help you answer the tough questions and solve the pressing problems you encounter as you strengthen your leadership muscles. A mentor should be someone more experienced than you, with whom you feel safe and comfortable sharing your struggles and successes. Your mentor can help you address key problems in your leadership style, but they can also help with other issues that might threaten the health of your business or, for that matter, your own health.

A mentorship relationship can last for years. But how do you find such a person? Get involved in community organizations for business networking, attend conferences and events and don’t forget to mine your own network for potential mentors. The person you’re seeking could be closer than you think.

-Consider leadership coaching

What’s the difference between leadership coaching and mentorship? Generally, a coach will work with you on a specific task, such as delegation or public speaking, whereas a mentorship is more relationship-oriented. If you’re struggling with a specific problem, such as strategic thinking or effective management, a coach might be able to help.

-Pursue higher education

Of course, one of the best ways to develop your business leadership skills is to pursue higher education. A leadership-focused master’s degree (or a bachelor’s, if you don’t have one yet) can help you build the collaboration, management, negotiation and conflict-resolution skills a good leader needs. You don’t even need to neglect your business to get a degree if you take online classes.

Many entrepreneurs attend online MBA programs to build their leadership skills, but you should choose a program tailored to the specific needs of your business. For example, if you’re running a school or other education-related business, an online Masters in Education Administration might be more up your alley.

-Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a valuable leadership tool because it helps you work with your team instead of ruling over them. You’ll be better-equipped to understand how people perceive you, communicate in a way that doesn’t leave your team members feeling walked on and approach leadership tasks with humility and integrity.

But how do you develop emotional intelligence? High emotional intelligence depends largely on self-awareness, an ability to control your negative emotions and the discipline to give others the benefit of the doubt. Working with a counselor or life coach who specializes in leadership issues can help you develop these important emotional skills.

-Build your soft skills

Soft skills are the skills that often aren’t taught in school. They include skills like communication, integrity, work ethic, conflict resolution, problem-solving, teamwork and adaptability. These are the personal attributes that can make your employees look up to you, make your colleagues respect you and help you lead your company with inspiration and vision.

How can you build soft skills? Many business leaders work on them through workshops, online trainings and reading books on the subject. Leadership coaching can also help you strengthen and improve your soft skills. The great thing about working on your soft skills is that you don’t have to do it just in the workplace — every interaction you have with another human represents an opportunity to work on your soft skills. These skills won’t just make you a better business leader; they’ll make you a better person, too.

If you want to succeed as a small business owner, you need to have strong leadership skills to inspire and motivate your team. Luckily, these are skills that can be developed. With patience and the right training and guidance, you’ll soon become a better leader than you ever thought possible.


Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority; she prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audience

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