So YOU Want to Be a Leader

The Decision
As an entrepreneur and self employed professional, at some point you made a decision to be a leader. You wouldn't be in business for yourself if you wanted someone else to set your goals, time schedules, and income limitations. To be in business for yourself requires that you be a leader of yourself and in many cases of others who are your employees and service providers.

Taking the Reins
When I stepped down from the leadership team in my business referral group there were some changes I had to address.  I had been on the team in at least five different positions over 3 1/2 years. It felt strange, because this group has been my baby in that I am the only person left from when I joined 4 years previously. I had read somewhere from a networking guru: "Don't just join a group: Own It." That's what I decided to do. I wanted to use the Leading Edge BNI (Business Network International) group as a test case for my business coaching ability.

Weigh the Costs
The group was dying and I wanted to see if I, with the help of two other members could turn it around. So they elected me president and off we went. I knew that to succeed, I needed buy-in from anyone who chose to join us. The only way to get that was to be totally honest up front about the benefits and costs in time and commitment. I also had to be very aware of what the costs were going to be for me as the leader of this group. I was very aware of what the benefits were going to be; especially if I succeeded.

Know When to Let Go
One of the most difficult things about being a great leader is knowing when it is time to step down and let others take up leadership. In your business, that means letting go of some of the things you shouldn't be doing and letting others do them. If you continue to micromanage as your business grows, you will never have time to focus on the big picture and your business may falter as a result. As a business owner, you must step back and watch as others take the reins while you look to the future and plan where to go next. Like the owner of a luxury yacht, you tell the captain the destination and where to steer and let him handle the wheel.

Get Good Help
Great leadership in a business is about getting great people around you that share your vision of success. They don't necessarily have to be your employees. Let's look at an example. Say you have hired a great graphic designer to produce your marketing materials because you love his or her work. Then you constantly argue with him about their artistic decisions, you have wasted your time and his. Once you decide that you have found a good person, trust them and let them do their job.