Being an effective leader is not something that happens overnight. The best leaders are constantly working to improve their leadership skills. They understand that hard work must be balanced with building positive relationships and valuing human interaction.

In a small business, leaders are often strapped for time and resources, putting leadership development on the back burner.  Here are three simple things from an article in Entrepreneur you can share with the leaders in your organization to help them be a better leader this year.

Listen More
The leaders in your company, including the ownership, should not be dictators. Creating a culture where leaders listen to the ideas and opinions of employees is vital to having engaged employees who stick around long-term and produce their best work.

Pay attention to themes within the conversations employees are having with leaders and with each other. If something is coming up often, it is obviously important to your employees and probably something that should be addressed quickly.

Be Straightforward
Communicate with employees in a clear and timely fashion whenever possible. It is easy for leaders to become overwhelmed with uncomfortable conversations that they may need to have with employees. But as we like to say, “when you see something, say something.” No matter if it is positive feedback or constructive feedback, being timely and straightforward is important. Don’t dance around issues just because you are uncomfortable.  That will only make matters worse.

It is also important to be clear with employees about what is expected of them. Be specific about the work you expect employees to do and what level of performance is expected. Then hold employees accountable for meeting those expectations. These types of conversations are best handled in consistent (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) one-on-one meetings between employees and supervisors.

Give Team Members a Voice
Employees like to feel like they are part of the company. They like to know that their contributions make a difference. In your one-on-one meetings mentioned above, make sure you provide space for employees to share their thoughts. Also provide other ways for employees to provide feedback. You could try an old-fashioned suggestion box, an anonymous employee survey or an email address employees can send suggestions to.  Encourage feedback and reward employees that give it openly and honestly.

As you can see, focusing on open communication is key to improving leadership. Share these three areas of focus with your supervisors and managers today and then follow up and see how its going and hold everyone accountable.

Looking for more leadership development ideas for your team? Contact the Helpside People Strategy Team at or (801) 443-1090.