Business life is hectic, it's also filled with decisions. For a small business, good leadership is paramount. We look at key characteristics of leadership and share some tips on how data can help you be an empowered leader.
Leverage your business data
Data-informed leadership can consistently improve business performance. As a business leader, you face endless decisions — from managing staff to optimizing your business strategies to drive continued growth. Leaders equipped to navigate the choppy waters of expansion can successfully steer their business toward success.
The more information you have at your fingertips, the more accurate your responses and decisions are likely to be. As a resolute and confident decision-maker, you position yourself to capitalize on opportunities and get the most from your team.
Data supports your ideas and gives evidence of progress. It helps you share your vision, identify areas for improvement — and importantly, inspire collaboration within your workplace.
Help visualize the vision
The better your business and vision are understood, the easier it is for people — customers, employees, partners — to support it.
Entrepreneurs and business owners are similar in some ways to interior designers. Designers can walk into a worn-down home or office and see its potential. They use software to add color and shape to their vision so their clients can see it, too.
As a business owner, you know your company's vision, but communicating it can be challenging. Data gives you the insights to get people excited about the direction and potential of your business. Historic growth patterns, positive trends, and numeric proof your solutions are working all help ground your team and supporters in your success.
Lead with a deeper understanding
Some managers are good with words and politics, but everyone who works close to them knows their team makes smart decisions and carries the workload. An inspiring leader isn't putting on a show. Day after day, they demonstrate how to treat people and conduct business by example. Integrity guides their decisions, which means they always look for a win-win solution.
Data helps us see beyond what we already know — unearthing the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. Even if we've been in business for fifty years, our gut instinct and experience can benefit from the computing power of customer and business operations data. An information-driven leadership approach keeps teams established in reality and aware of shifts and challenges while there is still plenty of time to act — or even pivot.
Communicate and be curious
Skillful communication involves more than listening and responding. It includes sharing valuable information promptly, asking intelligent questions, clarifying misunderstandings, and clearly defining what you want. Quality data helps with all of that.
As unavoidable as it may be, people resist change. It can be hard to motivate employees to adapt to new methods or procedures, especially if they feel criticized or attacked. Data is objective and takes the conversation away from opinion, or what an employee might be doing right or wrong, and onto the results and how to improve them.
People contribute their best efforts when they feel part of something bigger and know their work is valued and appreciated. Acknowledging the contribution and achievement of their team is a powerful habit of inspiring leaders.
A gift card, a small prize, or even a "Well done!" can help sustain employee motivation in the office. Working in person, various contributions may warrant recognition – some data-driven and some relating to soft skills. Working remotely, data becomes essential in recognizing and celebrating your employees' hard work and success because you're not there to witness it in person.