by Kulani Shiluvane, Founder and Chief Consultant at Shiluvah
The decision to take on the entrepreneurial journey carries with it a number of novelties – the biggest (well at least for me) has been becoming your own boss, and hopefully at some stage somebody else’s boss. This means taking into consideration the kind of boss you want to be and more importantly, how your boss characteristics will impact the culture of the company as a whole, and how that culture will determine the health (both financial and otherwise) of your company and its people.
We have all heard or read and even experienced how one’s work environment could have a direct impact (be it positive or negative) on one’s overall health and that of the company. That environment is mostly determined by the people you work with and those that lead you and those you work with. Therefore, it is vital that leaders, managers and entrepreneurs have clear idea of the kind of company they want to run and how their leadership could affect the productivity as well as the overall health of those within the business.
So what kind of boss do you want to be? And what leadership and/or management as well as entrepreneurial characteristics will you need in order to be the boss you have always wanted? The kind that creates a culture that is conducive to a happy and healthy environment, as well as one that is productive and profitable? I believe that it’s essential to embody the following qualities and characteristics in order to achieve this goal:
Be a team player – leadership isn’t about barking orders and watching from the side lines while your team gets its hands dirty. Leadership, great management, as well as effective entrepreneurship is about getting your hands dirty with your team. Lead by example, do not expect your team to do anything that you would not do yourself. In fact, they should see you engaging before you can expect that from them.
Create leaders – Tom Peters said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” Great leaders want to see others grow and develop into the best version of themselves, therefore while getting their hands dirty with the team they are also identifying and cultivating members of the team to lead as they have led.
Delegate – while it is important to get your hands dirty with your team, what is equally vital is let your team take charge without you hovering over them. The self-actualization of your team, both at a team level and an individual level is key to your growth and success.
Embrace diversity - get your hands dirty with those that do not look like you, sound like you, believe differently from you, have a different background to yours. Diversity as well as an openness to things that are not familiar breeds creativity, innovation, and tolerance, all of which are necessary to any growing and successful business. The next best thing for your business will come from someone that is different to you.
Communicate – your ability to communicate effectively with your team will be the cornerstone of growth and success within your business. As a leader you need to make sure that at all times your team knows what is expected of them, what the goals are and how those goals and expectations will be met as well as any changes that might happen along the way. And remember a great key to being a great communicator is also about your ability to listen and to listen effectively.
Leadership, especially as an entrepreneur, can be a very lonely and hard road to navigate, a burden that is made lighter by those you bring along to navigate the road with you. Therefore, it is very important that those who journey with you (your team) are led, developed and embraced, and as a leader that is all up to you.
Kulani Shilivane is the founder and chief consultant at Shiluvah. She is an accomplished business development professional with a post-graduate qualification in Management from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a skilled operation, logistics and strategic professional with experience in strategic planning and implementation, stakeholder engagement, human resources and public relations. Kulani served as Chief Operations Officer in a medium-size organisation in Johannesburg for 9 years and in 2017 she started Shiluvah. Kulani has a keen interest in conflict resolution, problem solving and organisational relations and development. Accredited as a mediator by Conflict Dynamics in 2018, her mediation interest areas are: commercial dispute, workplace, management and labour. www.shiluvah.co.za | Facebook | Instagram
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