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Adapting Your Leadership Style As Your Business Starts To Grow

Written by Ryan Terrey
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As your business grows, so too should the way you run your business, the way you lead your team. Different situations require different leadership styles, naturally. You lead differently as a sole trader, to when you have an office with twenty staff.

The Entourage can train you to be a better leader, but first, let's look at how you can adapt your leadership style as your business grows.

Why is it important to adapt your leadership style?

If you want to grow your business or grow yourself as a business owner, you need to learn to adapt how you work and how you relate to the world and the people around you as your business and team change. It's essential that you adapt your leadership style to the new way of being.

If you can’t change and adapt, you might find that your leadership style could become cumbersome. How you relate to your team, how you run the administration, sometimes even how you relate to customers, can quickly become outdated and unworkable in your new role, or your new company size.

As you can see, it's necessary for you to review your leadership style, just as you would review other parts of your business, as it grows to ensure that you're not unintentionally putting up roadblocks that aren't needed due to your leadership style.

When might you need to adapt your leadership style?

Even as a sole trader you can change the way you behave as a leader. You can learn practices of efficiency, ways to motivate yourself, and stay disciplined when working autonomously.

When your business grows and you scale upwards, you might bring in an assistant, or you partner up with someone where your leadership style has to change to fit working in a way that will support your new team and structure, moving from just motivating yourself but to encourage intrinsic motivation in your staff as well.

What kind of leadership style would work for you? Let’s have a look below.

What is your current leadership style?

  • Autocratic - This is where there's one leader in the workplace, and this leader makes all the decisions. There is a clear chain of command. while this kind of leadership is good in a crisis and can be very adaptive, if that one leader is not strong and secure in their decisions and doesn’t know how to impact the team positively, there could be issues and a high staff turnover.
  • Authoritative - This type of leadership style is all about leading by example. A leader would not ask their staff to do something they themselves would not do, and this type of leader is often seen to be sticking up for their team in times of crisis. This style is good for inspiration and mutual goal achievement, but you might find yourself doing too much grunt work, not leaving yourself time to work on the business as the business owner.
  • Democratic - A democratic style is when the leaders in the business listen to their staff and then make a decision based on a majority. They can retain the final say, however, it’s important to be open with communication so that everyone knows what's going on. It is important to note that with this style, decisions could potentially take more time, egos could get bruised, and people who think they are better leaders might cause trouble.
  • Laissez-Faire - This is a “let’s do” style of leadership. It gives employees a lot of freedom to find their way and to do their own thing. It promotes independence and is the best way to work for each individual. However, sometimes it can lead to lazy teams and bad time management. Depending on the experience and talent of your team, you may need a tighter rein on some teams.

If you want to know more about leadership styles, read our blog on the different kinds of leadership, to figure out what kind of leader you are.

How to change your leadership style

So, what type of situations would you need to be changing your leadership style in and what does it actually look like to do this? Let us take you through this.

Leadership is to what degree are my team intrinsically motivated to perform? Jack Delosa, The Entourage

Direct to indirect management

This can be tricky for a lot of people to adjust to. Letting go of control of the tasks you have done for so long can be scary. Will other people be able to do as good a job as you? Can you trust them?

This is a natural step to growing your business. As it gets bigger, you also have to take a step backward, or upwards, as it were. You'll be making bigger decisions that affect more people and could involve larger amounts of money.

With small teams, you get to know them rather well. Bigger teams mean not have as many close relationships.

Create teams and delegate your work

What you used to do all the time as a smaller business, you now need to delegate. More responsibilities come up and you get to a point where you can no longer wrap your arms around the entire business.

Social media posts can be done by someone else. You no longer have time to spend hours on Facebook and Instagram. You hire a bookkeeper and an accounts person. You can’t write all the content for your website, so you can either hire a copywriter or outsource that as well.

Your role changes to one who leads the company rather than one who leads a team or who does everything on the team. You’re looking at the bigger, long-term vision, mission, and strategy, rather than the day-to-day tactics and actions.

Recruit new talent

As your business grows and you take on more significant leadership responsibilities, you need to hire talent to fill in the gaps you’ve left behind, especially in the management positions to help give you back more time.

Recruit a team leader or an assistant manager, even a department manager, whatever you need, to help you manage the growing team in your business. It can be helpful to try recruitment agencies at this early stage, as they can vet applicants for you and you can learn the recruitment process from them to do it yourself in the future.

Lead & mentor

Now that you've moved out of the day-to-day and are no longer the only person doing everything, your role has now changed You are a LEADER, which means you lead. That may sound overly simple, but it means a few things.

You can lead by example. The company is now more in your hands, and your decisions impact a lot more people.

You also now have the chance to mentor people. If this was your business from the beginning, hiring new managers is a great idea, but you need to mentor them in the ways of your business, how it works, who are your best clients and why.

You’ve also come a long way in your professional journey. It would be a great idea to pass that knowledge on to your team, grow some future leaders.

Invest in your existing team members so that one day they could run the company without you. Does that idea sound scary? If you want to sell the company or step away for a well-earned holiday, you need to know that the company will still function without you. It’s a comfort and should be the goal.

Key takeaways

Evolving as a leader for your business can also reflect on your leadership skills in life. It’ is not an attribute reserved solely for the workday. Becoming a good leader professionally leads to some incredible growth personally.

The Entourage gives fantastic leadership coaching & training courses, and we’d love to see you join us. Learn how to lead your team and adapt your style for the business growth you want to see.

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