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Important Leadership Skills of Successful Small Business Owners: Entrepreneur MBA Podcast 2.6

Summary: Jayme Dill has been a business coach for 20 years and has worked with a ton of business owners. Jayme talks about the leadership skills that an entrepreneur must have to lead a company and a team.

Today’s topic: Important Leadership Skills for Small Business Owners

Jayme’s skills have helped Stephen’s past businesses power themselves to their prosperity, reaching over $25 million in revenue. Jayme enjoys helping others reapply foundational skills to businesses that may require her foundational training, allowing the business to grow cohesively.

Michael Gerber’s message in his book, The E-Myth, portrays that most business owners start with their technical skill sets and, therefore, fail to focus on embodying the qualities of a great leader including management and leadership. Often business owners are extraordinarily intelligent people with drive and initiative. They anticipate that the management and leadership skills they must practice are simple, causing them to almost discredit the importance of those skill sets. They both need time, attention, and development. As much as the technical skills need investment in the business, leadership and management should be highly considered as well.

Leadership is a personal skill, whether it’s managing our self as a leader, and managing or small business leadershipleading other people. Business management skills include money management, refining procedures for most efficiency, and dealing with the various metrics of a business. The business owners should make discernments in their mind to understand the difference between leading people and managing a business.

Identifying the Level of Your Skills

Upon working with a new client, Jayme often looks at employees who are supposed to be in leadership positions to see what their leadership skills are currently like. In today’s political world, there are a lot of examples of good leadership and poor leadership. So identifying the level of an individual’s business leadership skills is important to identify what skills need improvement.

Jayme believes that about one percent of leaders are natural leaders, in which these individuals have a natural inclination towards wanting to be a leader. However, the skill set of strong leadership is positively developed by the individual themselves. The best leaders put a lot of investment into developing themselves as a leader, heart, soul, and money.

Usually, if a business owner has found their way to Jayme, they are beginning to recognize the importance of developing a leadership style or they simply do not understand the importance of it. If the owner does not know how to practice effective leadership, the foundation of the business begins to crumble, generating a lot of unnecessary struggles. Lack of key leadership skills can cause a decline in an effective delegation of tasks and responsibilities to employees. Sometimes the employees will rebel against the business owner because of their poor leadership. To avoid this backlash, a business owner must make gain self-awareness and then further learn the leadership qualities of successful business owners.

If a business owner experiences a lot of angry employees, the employees are making the owner’s poor leadership personal about them. This is precisely the kind of situation where poor leadership starts to become personal, psychological, and emotional. Instead, practice leadership correctly for the business to work cohesively.

When experiencing a tough work environment, consider two things: 1) Am I a bad leader? and 2) Are the other individuals just overly reactive and emotional people? Usually, it is both. Both sides can explain their reasoning and further complain, but at some point, you must find a source of the issue. Jayme will then encourage the client to get excellent leadership skills developed and leadership practices implemented. Once this improvement is made, the tense work environment usually goes away.

Understanding the Process

Jayme assesses two things when working with clients. She assesses the business by going through a checklist, questionnaires, conversations, and financial reports, to see the health and status of the business. She will then do the same thing with the leader, by interviewing them and sometimes their employees.

Once there is an understanding of the business and its functions, Jayme holds up a mirror and gives the owner a good recognition of what she sees. This is her non-judgemental outlook, but also her discerning perspective. She points out to the business owner what works and what doesn’t regarding the relationship between the owner and the employees.

By bringing the issues to light, opportunities surface. When the organization can see and understand what’s going on, opportunities for effective communication, and development rise. Jayme then develops a game plan and presents it to the owner. During that conversation, she will assess where the owner is most open to introducing organizational change. Although many times the business owner can see the bigger picture of opportunity and will brainstorm the various paths of opportunity, they fear that the clients may be overwhelmed by the change. In this case, while continuing to build trust with their clients, Jayme will help their business start their journey to effective leadership. They will start with the strategies that are most effective and most implementable to get some ‘wins’ under their relationship and then dive into the harder stuff.

The Conversion to Becoming an Effective Leader

As a business coach, Jayme will typically have the owner share their dreams and vision for their business. By the time business coaches intervene, the business has already been beaten up for a while. Unfortunately, also by this time, the business owner has usually already forgotten their dreams or is tentatively embarrassed to even say what they are.

Once the business owners’ goals are laid out in front of them, Jayme does not let the owner shrug off the goals or forget them. She pinpoints them as a reward during the business owners’ journey to becoming a better leader.

She has seen many people accomplish their goals. She digs into the minds of her clients to believe in their dreams, while she helps guide them through the implementation. Jayme enjoys helping others achieve their first significant milestone of change, cheering the owner to keep going.

For some business owners, this is the first time they discover that their dream will not simply unfold in front of them. Instead, it is a realization that they must take accountability for what they did and did not do, to explain why they are in their position. Their ability to improve their leadership roles, work with their team members, inspire others including their employees, and improve their decision-making will project the business toward their goal.

Once progress is being made, the business owner is typically satisfied with the results that they are getting. For them, it feels great to have a partnership or an ally on their side to help advise them through their decision-making process. As the small business leader gets closer to their ultimate goal they begin to trust the process and persona of the business coach, creating a lasting professional relationship.

Qualities of a Strong Business Leader

Some of the attributes that Jayme supports her clients in developing include being visionary, stable, trustworthy, respectful, and knowing how to be engaging toward employees. Respect is usually earned by giving it. A great Gandhi quote states, “Be the change you wanna see.”

It is very easy to blame our employees; “my people aren’t trustworthy,” “my people don’t respect,” or “my people don’t care.” It is so easy to condemn others because it is our instinct to defend ourselves. Learning to control this and improving these communication skills will bring your business the unity it needs. A high emotional intelligence, or EQ, is when someone can be aware, express, and control their emotions while also being empathetic to others. When expressing interest and concern to others, body language has to also match this.

Faults of a Business Leader

When you ask the employees why they believe the organization is not prospering, they commonly say that the owner themselves serves as a bottleneck to productivity and efficiency. They recognize the owner as a control freak that constantly tries to micromanage and halts others’ ability to learn.

A lot of times, this behavior becomes confusing because it looks like micromanaging, but then other times the owner will entirely ignore everything they were micromanaging before. In this case, the business owner is still considered a bottleneck because they haven’t set up a business that can work without them and are not delegating tasks correctly. This creates a need for the owner to constantly watch the employees, causing the employees to often become frustrated with them.

Jayme commonly hears from the business owners that they believe their employees do not care about their job or the future of the business. The business owners are unable to commit to the idea that their employees care about doing good work and that they want to be productive. As humans, we naturally want to contribute, so it is about giving the employees the atmosphere and tools they need so that they can work to develop what the business owner wants them to be.

Working with your Employees

You want someone who cares about the results of your business, so you must make efforts to hire the right people. As a business owner, you need to take the interview process seriously by sharing the company culture, mission, and goals so that the prospect hires can also decide if it is somewhere they will fit in.

The business owner usually has employees who care and are engaged, however, the owners may ignore the employee’s efforts and instead play the blame game. All these owners can hire, fire, and hold their employees accountable or not. Hence, if an owner genuinely believes they have people that don’t care, then they must work to implement the practices they desire. Start sharing your vision, hold people accountable, analyze the company cultures, provide job descriptions, and accumulate tools so that the employees can fulfill their job description thoroughly. If the employer has all these metrics in place and the employees are still not caring about their performance, the owner must make decisions regarding these employees.

Once this is all in place, the employer will realize their turnover goes way down, they enjoy the company of their employees, and the company’s results are better.

It is important to remember that when most people start businesses, they do not start the business with a formula. Since the employer does not establish foundations and structure for the business from the beginning, as they grow, they grow their business with chaos. At this point, the owner must be able to step back from the chaos, to identify the structures that need to be implemented and then systematically apply them.

Responding to the Pandemic

Jayme believes that leadership skills have been necessary for adaptability, due to the pandemic and recession. Businesses are forced to be adaptable and responsive by making difficult decisions in response to COVID-19. In the bottom line, business owners need the capacity to make immediate and necessary changes.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not a crisis that we wish on anyone with all of its unfortunate and devastating repercussions, it generated lots of significant changes for businesses. For a lot of people, this external crisis unified us. Jayme works with businesses from breakdown to breakthrough. There is a process where your business does not have to face a crisis. When you become aware of the breakdown before it hits the crisis stage, you must access energy that focuses on the determination that your business is going to get through the crisis no matter what.

Business Owner Leadership Takeaways:

  1. Every business leader must have the ability to recognize their true leadership skills. You must be able to identify whether you are a good leader or if you may need some additional help to be a good leader.
  2. Consider outside help, such as a consultant or business coach, then establish a developmental strategy to boost your leadership skills.
  3. Systematically implement the plan into the business’s functions. Usually, 10-20% of people can implement these changes through obstacles and distractions that normally occur within a business. If you’re doing it with your employees, they may also become distracted, so it is important to place procedures to avoid this from happening.

About the Guest Jayme Dill, Business Coach

Today, I am excited to be speaking with my good friend and my own past business coach, Jayme Dill. Jayme has been a business coach for 27 years helping business owners produce more profit, in less time. Jayme started her career working for Michael Gerber, who wrote the worldwide best selling entrepreneur book, The E-Myth. Gerber was famous for saying that a business owner should be working on the business and not in it. I know that Jayme teaches this to her clients wholeheartedly. Today, we all see every Tom, Dick, or Harry hold up a sign saying they are a business coach. I am testifying that Jayme is the real McCoy and if you feel like you need to become a better business owner, Jayme is someone I would highly recommend to you.

About The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions

Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Entrepreneur MBA Podcast. The Entrepreneur MBA podcast’s purpose is to help small businesses get over the $10 million per year in revenue mark. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to small businesses and nonprofits

Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program.Mr. Halasnik has started and built 6 companies over 25+ years with 2 of those businesses making the Inc 500/5000 fastest growing list. Mr. Halasnik is a best selling Amazon author on business and regularly tweets about his ideas about growing a business. You can also find Mr. Halasnik on youtube talking about Entrepreneurship.

Mr. Halasnik loves small business. He lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men.

About Financing Solutions

Financing Solutions, an A+ and 5 stars rated BBB company since 2002, is a direct lender that provides lines of credit to small businesses and nonprofits.

Financing Solutions small business line of credit product is a great alternative to a traditional bank line of credit because it costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and when used, is inexpensive. The credit line requires no collateral and no personal guarantees.

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Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute business line of credit application here.The time to set up a credit line is when you don’t need it so that it is ready to be used, just in case.

Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities


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