The greatest learnings for me in business has been the importance of leadership and resilience. Don’t you agree? The world of small business presents many challenges to the owners of these businesses, that they wouldn’t necessarily encounter as part of a larger company – such as isolation, high amounts of stress, and trying to keep up with the ‘big boys’ while on a much smaller budget. Owning a business isn’t for the faint of heart, but the good news is that there are steps business owners can take to improve their resilience so that they can better handle the many ups and downs that are part and parcel of running a small to medium-sized business. Here are 10 ways to build your resilience as a business owner.
Find a space to reflect, away from work
Whether it’s at your kitchen table in the morning with a cup of coffee, or while you’re at the gym, it’s easier to reflect on challenges and issues you’re facing and find solutions when you’re in a different environment.
Set achievable goals
Goals have to be realistic; you’re never going to achieve all your goals in one day, so make sure you’re setting tasks that are actually achievable within the timeframes you’ve given.
This is fantastic for anyone, but small business owners really benefit from daily mindfulness exercises as they help you change your reactions to things and make more appropriate choices. Something as simple as a daily breathing exercise can make a big difference.
Find your tribe
When you have a great support group to fall back on, it becomes a lot easier to deal with difficult situations. There are many great groups on Facebook, for example, for small business owners, where you can get support from other owners. Finding your ‘tribe’ means you have a group of people who you trust, admire, respect and can be open with – you know you’ll get the feedback you need, as well as incredible support too. Being able to bounce ideas off people is also another huge benefit of becoming part of a community of small business owners like you.
When something goes wrong, as a small business owner you have to get on with it and fix the situation – you can’t just sit in the corner and wait for somebody else to solve the problem. The more you do this, the stronger you’ll feel.
Whether you prefer after every project, or at the end of the day or week, reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and what lessons you’ve learned gives you perspective and helps you find what you can take away to apply to a future project. Feeling prepared is key to being more resilient.
Acknowledge when you’ve done a good job
It’s easier to reduce stress and silence the doubting voice in your head that says “you can’t do this” when you’ve taken the time to appreciate your successes and find the good in each day.
“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” — Charles F Kettering
Look after your health
When you make the time to nourish your body with good food and move it with exercise, you’re giving yourself the best chance at remaining positive, even in the face of tough situations. It’s hard to feel like you can tackle a problem when you’ve slept poorly, haven’t exercised and have been eating too much junk – so improve your resilience simply by looking after your health.
Be realistic, not negative
Negativity breeds failure, which is the last thing a small business owner wants. Being realistic about things doesn’t mean being negative – acknowledge what’s happening, no matter how bad it may be, then start making a realistic plan on how to overcome the issue. If you’re negative about a situation, you’ll miss solutions and not try hard enough – or at all – because you’ve already decided it’s hopeless. It’s important to practice looking at things realistically to help you realise that while you may have limitations, there’s almost always a way to overcome things.
Do what needs to be done
If you never try, you’ll never fail – sounds nice in theory, but in practice, your business will never be successful, and you will fold under pressure that an owner with resilience would be able to handle. Do what’s necessary, even if it’s uncomfortable; back yourself and take risks, and be ready to get back up and try again when things go wrong. Mistakes and failures are learning opportunities – don’t be scared of them, learn to embrace them! You’ll feel more courageous as you conquer more fears and negative situations.
Small business owners don’t have the same resources as their larger counterparts, and at times it can be overwhelming navigating the world of small business, but if you work hard on building up your resilience as a small business owner, you’ll find yourself rising to the top of the heap. It’s all about taking responsibility and being accountable, looking after your body and mind, being realistic, reflecting, acknowledging your efforts, setting achievable goals and being prepared to do what it takes. Practice these and you’ll quickly find your resilience growing – you’ll be ready to handle whatever comes your way.
Contact the team at LeadershipHQ to find out about our Leadership Coaching and Programs for SME’s and Family Businesses at email@example.com
Following on from my popular 7 Laws of Leadership blog, we’ve put together these 7 Laws of Courageous Leadership to help you become the brave leader you dream of being! After all, it’s the bravest who make the most change!
Hold yourself (and others) accountable
When you hold yourself responsible, you’re demonstrating and modeling what you expect from your team as well. Be prepared to say something when a team member doesn’t perform to standard, because accountability is vital to success and improvement.
Practice Courageous Conversations
To avoid miscommunication and wasting time and effort, you need to be able to say what needs to be said – no matter how uncomfortable or awkward. This doesn’t mean being rude; it means being brave and cutting through to the heart of the matter.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
Ask for detailed feedback
It’s hard to hear when we’re not doing something as well as we should be, but you’ll never really improve unless you get honest and unfiltered feedback from those you interact with, and then act on that feedback.
Be open with your communication
You’ll gain more trust and respect from your team if you’re communicating with them often, and not hiding information or using jargon to avoid telling them anything of real value. Be brave enough to admit when you don’t know something, too!
Don’t sugar-coat anything
Nothing and no one can change and improve without knowing how things truly are, so be factual and realistic when talking about how your business is doing.
Be prepared to lead the way for change
You have to be your own champion; believe in yourself and the change you want to bring about, and be sure to involve your team in the process so that they engage in a meaningful way. Even though things could (and probably will) go wrong, and you might have to go in a whole new direction, nothing will change unless you’re brave enough to try.
Follow your instincts
Doing what you believe is right, even in the face of overwhelming opposition or other negative circumstances is an example of true bravery. When you stick to your convictions, even if you’re not always right, you’ll still be respected by those around you. Over time you’ll find your instincts will sharpen, making it easier to trust them.
It’s time to truly be brave, and you can start by following these 7 Laws of Courageous Leadership. If you want to leave your mark, make a difference and inspire your team, take the first step on your journey to courageous leadership today – pick a law and get practising!
About the Author
Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.
She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.
⭐️ Keynote Topics for 2019
Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”.
Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity and humour will enhance any event she appears.
1. Leadership Attitude
2. Just Rock It
3. Leadership for Small Business
4. Leading the Next Generations
5. Courageous Leadership
6. Future Leaders of Leadership
Sonia is accredited in Prism Brain Mapping, Strengths Finder, SEI Assessment and Zenger Folkman 360.
Phone 1300 719 665
Find out more about my Courageous Leadership Programs, Keynote and Coaching today by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday I was the Keynote Speaker for one of my favorite keynotes and workshops around Leadership Attitude. Even though the theme was Balance for Better, I focused for Balance is Better for all of us; together regardless on race, gender, age and so forth and to appreciate the uniqueness and talents of us all. Leadership is about being brave and kind – and ultimately if you can inspire someone to do more, learn more and be more; you are a leader. What I loved about the keynote was the number of men and women in the room and the number of men and women in the room who approached me afterward to share how much they got out of my keynote and some had tears (me too by the way…).
However, I was reading that SurveyMonkey and LeanIn released some startling findings recently: men are much more reluctant to participate in workplace activities that have them closely interacting with women since #MeToo and the anti-sexual harassment movement have gained traction. While #MeToo is fantastic for women, the ferocity of support has left many men worried about their actions being misconstrued – and this is causing women to miss out on valuable career opportunities, such as having male mentors and sponsors that can help them advance. In this era of #MeToo, we need to understand that it doesn’t mean we have to be against each other; it’s not men versus women, it’s all of us against inappropriate actions and behaviours that are damaging in the workplace (and all other areas of life).
If men continue to avoid solo interactions with women at work, we’ll only see the gender gap keep widening and the imbalance of power will be even more difficult to address. Men, especially managers, are doing a further disservice to women (even if they aren’t intending to) by hindering their career growth and progression. Great sponsors and mentors can make all the difference to a woman’s success in the workplace, so we must become allies, not enemies.
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So, just how can we demonstrate that we’re all in this together, especially if we’re men who are concerned about being unfairly labelled? The answer is simple: act respectfully to your female colleagues and be sure to support them wherever possible, to help them grow and advance. Sponsorship is one of the best ways to do this.
A workplace sponsor is someone in the workplace who has power, who can influence decisions made about your career progression, advocate for your advancement and success and allows you to make mistakes (sometimes) and take risks, without harming your career. Sponsors go to bat for you, at the expense of risking their credibility and is a truly important part of your growth in the workplace. They are more hands-on than mentors, but that isn’t to say that mentors don’t have their place in helping a woman’s career.
Fast Company released data that shows that sponsorship is one of the most crucial parts of career advancement. Women with sponsors:
● Are 27% more likely to ask for a raise than female peers who aren’t sponsored
● Are 22% more likely to request ‘stretch assignments’ that contribute to their leadership reputation
● Report that 68% are satisfied with how their career is advancing
Men are much more likely to have a sponsor than women – 56% more likely, in fact (according to Harvard Business Review). This culture needs to be changed, so that more men start stepping up and sponsoring their female colleagues, and that those women are prepared to accept the offer.
Contact the team at LeadershipHQ about how our cutting edge and transformational leadership programs and coaching can change and transform your team and business.
As I said before, we’re all in this together. This means women should accept the help men are offering, and men should be offering more often. When men in the workplace make a real commitment to boosting their female coworkers, by advocating for them and promoting them (when deserved), we’ll start to see unity in the workplace and equality in opportunities and power for women. Respect goes both ways, and if you aren’t behaving inappropriately towards the women in your workplace, then you have nothing to fear.
I have put together these laws (when I say ‘laws’, I mean more like guidelines) for any leader who is looking for some direction – however, these are also great for making the most of life in general. I will expand on each one to explain why I believe they’re so important, and what they mean to me.
Without further ado, here are my 7 Laws of Leadership:
- Be brave. Be kind.
You’ll hear me speak (and write!) about this a lot, and with good reason; the best leaders are those who blaze trails and are willing to do the things nobody else will. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish when you take that leap! Always practice kindness and bravery.
- Follow your instincts, but don’t discount others’ opinions
If you can’t trust your gut feelings, why should anyone else trust in you and your actions? This doesn’t mean that you should ignore what everyone else thinks; it’s important to seriously consider all options and outcomes before making a decision, but great leaders become known for their instincts when they steer people and companies in the right direction and out of trouble. Trusting yourself can be hard, but it’s what you need to do to become a better leader.
- Be respectful, always
A leader who doesn’t treat others with respect will never be respected – and won’t be getting the best from their team. Relationships are built on respect, and you’ll need to forge relationships often in the workplace to be truly successful.
- Be empowering
When you give those around you the encouragement and tools to succeed, you’re instilling a sense of pride in their work and improving their self-esteem, while pushing them to get the best results possible. Making people feel good will make you feel good too, and will bring a great atmosphere to the workplace. You’ll also improve the culture of the business, which will have positive ripple effects throughout the whole company.
Contact the team at LeadershipHQ for a FREE Leadership or Business Culture Coaching Session
- Be the model of what you expect from others
“Do as I say, not as I do” leaders are not respected, and will quickly sink a positive atmosphere in the workplace. If you want your team to be hard-working, honest, passionate – you need to model this for them and live it yourself. Enthusiasm is contagious; spread it to your team and see the great results.
- Be willing to do what is right, even when others don’t agree
Having integrity and doing what you believe is the right thing to do is an important characteristic of any great leader. No real change was ever made without someone taking that risk, standing up and saying “No more. This is what is right!” While others may not like it, you will more often than not gain their respect for sticking to your guns and doing the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
- Never stop learning
You’ll never know everything – that’s just a fact of life. But things are always changing; new research comes out, or new technology, and to continue staying on top of the competition, you need to be constantly learning and seeking out new information. Improving your skills and knowledge is never a bad thing
I go by these guidelines every day, and I hope they help inspire you to take the next step and ramp up your leadership. These laws also apply to life in general – who doesn’t want to be the best they can be, whether they’re a leader or not?
I’d love to hear what you think of my 7 Laws of Leadership! Let me know what you think of them, and if you think I should include any other laws.
A survey held by the Association for Talent Development that looked to discover what executives thought were their biggest HR concerns in terms of the skills their future talent will need to help them survive in the business world. 83% (or 8 out of 10) are facing a skills gap at present, and 78% foresee it occurring in the future. So, what are the skills that are in high demand now, and in the coming years as well?
50% of the survey respondents expressed that they knew their organisations didn’t have adequate leadership strength to call off the bench, while 47% mentioned they were expecting, in the future, a gap in executive and leadership skills.
The fact is that companies still aren’t giving their employees adequate preparation for advancement into executive and other senior positions of leadership. It’s time to start investing in training and empowering staff so that they flourish in senior leadership roles, and that the company is in safe hands as each leader is succeeded.
Critical thinking is the process of analysing an issue without emotion, looking at all the different perspectives and angles to get to a conclusion that is logical and sound. Critical thinking doesn’t happen automatically – after all, humans are emotional by nature – which is why it’s an extremely desirable and valuable skill that employers are looking for in their staff, whether current or prospective hires.
When team members have well-honed critical thinking skills, there’ll be a noticeable improvement in productivity, teamwork and employee relationships. It’s difficult to consciously disregard your irrational feelings, biases and self-interest, but you’ll be making yourself irresistible to employers.
Effective verbal and nonverbal communication is critical in any employee and organisation’s success. Positive communication helps with forging beneficial relationships with peers, leaders, clients and customers; encourages and improves teamwork, and ensures clarity with any ideas, suggestions and feedback.
Not a day goes by where we don’t communicate in some form or another, so building and improving on communication skills is essential in the business world.
It’s important to identify and close skill gaps as they are found, but things won’t really improve unless all key personnel, especially those in HR and senior management, are committed to the process. Don’t become part of the statistics; solving this HR problem is easier than you may think.
If your company needs help identifying and filling skill gaps in your organization, contact us at LeadershipHQ today for a consultation and see how we can help.
LeadershipHQ have helped 1000’s of small to medium sized organisations (sometimes corporates), teams and leaders. LeadershipHQ partner with businesses and leaders in building & delivering high impact
Leadership, People, Cultural and Business Strategies and Programs that ultimately improve the bottom line. We work with leaders and organisations across the globe transforming their leadership, culture and organisations with our cutting edge and results-driven strategies, assessments and diagnostics, leadership events, coaching and programs.
We know Great Leadership means Great Results. We have a team of brilliant people across the Globe who work with organisations and clients to deliver great results and leadership. We are the innovators and thought leaders in Leadership and Strategy through our consulting, events, internal and external programs and online resources.
Our specialities include Cultural Transformation | Business Strategy | Leadership Development | Facilitation | HR Consulting | Executive Coaching | Keynote Speaking | Online Programs | Licensing Programs | Online Resources | Emerging Leaders | Women in Leadership | Leadership Coaching Program | Masterclasses – Half and Full Day Leadership Workshops | Events | Mentoring Programs
LeadershipHQ is the headquarters of Great Leadership. We have our online resource centre and programs, leadership magazine and we have been named in the TOP 50 & 100 Leadership Blogs across the Globe for CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and Executives.
Our clients include Thiess, Super Retail Group, Coles, Kane Constructions, McConaghy Properties, ARTC, Aurizon, Qantas, Virgin, Origin, Downer, Genie, CQU, Griffith University, Lend Lease, Vic Racing and SEQ Water.
Phone 1300 719 665 www.leadershiphq.com.au www.soniamcdonald.com.au
Eric Swenson, leadership and workforce strategist and author of The Five A’s of Great Employees and Managing People in the 21st Century hosted a webinar for Ascentis.com that provided insights into what he believes will be Human Resources’s top trends in 2019, and how to face the changing world of Human Resources.
Technology continuing to increase
As businesses try to keep up with the almost constant increases in workplace technology and utilise them to improve their training, recruiting, engagement and other facets of HR-related activities, the HR professional must realise (if they haven’t already) that technology will be their new best friend when it comes to workplace relations. Innovation and productivity will be driven by technology, aided by those in HR who embrace the advantages that said technology gives them.
Adapting to the changing workforce
It’s already occurring in many companies around the world, and as more Millennials enter the workforce, they bring with them the desire for working remotely, including overseas, to maintain a better balance between life and work. Businesses need to be prepared to offer opportunities to work remotely and adapt their HR functions to suit this new workforce. Training, team-building, recruiting and more will require innovation to keep productivity at acceptable levels.
Reconnecting with your employees
With more and more people working remotely, it can be hard for them to fully engage and feel part of the company’s culture without being physically surrounded by it. HR needs to get creative this year, to help ensure that the culture of your company is integrated into everything your employees go through, whether it’s in the recruiting process or retention.
Leaders encouraging innovation
The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ manager’s days are numbered in 2019, as leaders who are vulnerable, authentic, brave and open continue to get the best from their employees. Improve productivity and employee satisfaction by providing chances for them to use their skills and strengths, to work autonomously and have a bigger say in company goings-on
Continuing to stand for equality
In this era of #metoo, it’s more important than ever for HR representatives to be aware of workplace harassment; how to address it in the workplace and helping women in new leadership roles feel comfortable.
Be willing to take on those less skilled
When struggling to fill positions, you’ll need to look at those applicants who aren’t as educated or skilled and be ready to up-skill and train them for the roles that need filling. Many applicants aren’t as formally qualified as previous generations (for a number of reasons) so this means taking a chance if you want more employees.
Providing a purpose
Millennials, especially, are more productive and likely to remain with the company if they’re able to find meaning and purpose in what they do. To keep up with this and retain your best employees, as an HR professional you’ll need to be evaluating your corporate responsibility and the social purpose your business serves regularly, to make sure they align with the organisation’s goals and values.
Leadership is changing (our research)
Organisations and HR must radically rethink all of their stakeholder interactions, especially those involving their human capital. This includes how to acquire, deploy, develop and retain their people. Bold leadership characteristics will be required to ensure your business adapts and thrives. From our research, we’ve distilled the following competencies that we think will be critical for the 2019 Leader:
- Collaborative Orientation
- Developer of People
- Emotional Intelligence
- People Management
- Courageous Leadership
- Learning Agility
- Global Mindset
- Cultural Agility
- Future Focus
- Leading Change
- Innovative/Creative Champion
- 360 Communicator
What are your organisation and L& D teams doing to prepare your current and future leaders and how many of these competencies are being developed? This is where LeadershipHQ can help!
We need to be adaptable as the workplace continuously changes, to ensure they can keep the organisation on the right track so that the company isn’t left behind. Reflection and evaluation need to be practised regularly to stay on top of the game and determine the effectiveness of your strategies.
For more information please read these great white-papers from HR World and PwC too.
Let me know your thoughts or any other trends you are seeing.
Sonia McDonald is one of Globe’s leading leadership executive coaches and keynote speakers, as well as an advisor, thought leader, and author. She’s also CEO and founder of LeadershipHQ and has been named as one of the Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs and Top 250 Influential Women in the world. LeadershipHQ are leading the way in leadership and work with Organisations and Businesses such as Qantas, Thiess, Super Retail Group, Brickworks, Kane Constructions, Bartons, EY, Maurice Blackburn, Grant Thorton, and Minter Ellison. LeadershipHQ partner with businesses in building great leadership and people development through their cutting edge and high impact leadership programs, coaching, workshops, resources and events.
Sonia has worked, coached and spoken in front of people around the world, encouraging them to succeed by reaching their full potential and inspiring leadership greatness. Sonia has written several books on leadership: Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and Neuroscience of Leadership, and she writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. She has been published in BBC Capital, The Australian, HRD Magazine, Business Insider and Richtopia. She has spoken at numerous leading conferences, companies and events across the world with her vision to create authentic, kind and courageous leaders and organisations.