Kay Smith Yount. Photo provided

By Kay Smith Yount

SCORE Member

The Cincinnati Herald and SCORE are again partnering to better support your small business. Ask Kay SCORE columns will appear monthly, starting with the following article.

Whether your small business has one or 60 employees, your leadership skills can mean the difference between failure and success.

According to Josh King, SCORE mentor and owner of his own business consulting firm, “ I have never been the type of person who has tried to go out of my way to lead. Instead, I’ve just tried to serve others. And when people feel they you truly care for them, they’re much more willing to follow you.

“In essence, it’s servant leadership. I don’t think you’re going to successfully lead in any other way. Otherwise, you’re just a dictator.”

To become a strong leader in your business, consider concentrating on and developing these key qualities:

Accountability: Take responsibility for your action–and lack of action. Demonstrating that you hold yourself accountable will help foster a company culture of caring about results and striving to do the best job possible.

Focus on goals–If you don’t have a target, you won’t know where to aim your efforts and energy. Having clear goals and objectives will help you keep you and your employees focused on working toward growth and success.

Objectivity–Leadership requires an ability and willingness to look at your business objectively. You need to acknowledge and address what needs to be improved or changed to overcome challenges and move toward your goals.

Willingness to delegate–Although it may be difficult to let go of certain responsibilities as a small business owner, it’s essential when you don’t have time–or the skills-to perform certain tasks. Delegating work to others who can do it more efficiently and effectively can help you give more time to focus on strategizing and growing your business.

Communication–As a leader, what you say or write and how you say or write it can either facilitate unity and understanding or it can create confusion and frustration. Strong leaders communicate clearly and consistently so their employees have the information, direction, and feedback they need to perform to perform to their potential.

“Wholeheartedly serving your team is the only way to continue to provide value and cultivate relationships,” explains King.

For more insight and guidance about leadership and all other aspects of starting, managing, and growing a small business, reach out to your local chapter of SCORE to connect with mentors.

Since 1964, SCORE Mentors to America’s Small Business has helped more than ten million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 thousand volunteer business mentors in more than 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-024 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.

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