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Ask the experts: Effective leaders influence, serve others

By Virginia Bridges
vbridges@newsobserver.com

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    Do you need expert advice on a small-business issue? If so, let us know. Email Shop Talk Editor Jessaca Giglio at jmgiglio@newsobserver.com



Leadership is an important part of a small business’ success. According to Jennifer C. Dunleavy, president of Raleigh’s Accuro, a strategic staffing and recruitment business that serves Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies, nothing is more energizing than learning from leadership authors.

“Most of these authors write about leading large-scale enterprises, where people, processes and systems are well-established,” Dunleavy said. “This world is vastly different from a small business, where the leader often wears many hats and battles a variety of unique challenges.”

Here are Dunleavy’s edited comments on how to be an effective small-business leader.

Leadership is not based on position. True leadership comes from serving others, including clients, employees and the community – not from the title of CEO. Being an effective small-business leader means excelling at a variety of skills, including mentoring, selling, mentoring and ordering office supplies. Maintaining professional development should be a high priority.

Leaders are the “caretakers of the vision.” One of the most important parts of a leadership role is setting the vision for the organization. Ask these questions: ‘Where is your company going?’ ‘How will you get there?’ ‘Who will help you?’ ‘How will you measure progress?’ Once the framework for your strategic plan has been set, it is critical to regularly communicate the plan to employees, customers and stakeholders.

Leaders can’t lead without followers. A leader’s primary objective is to influence people, including employees, and move them into action.

Each employee will respond to a leader’s vision differently; therefore, a leader’s ability to influence followers will vary depending on each relationship.

Leadership is a journey, not a destination. An effective leader should be a life-long student of leadership. This investment will inspire employees to follow suit and work together towards success.

Bridges: 919-829-8917
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