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How can you improve your business? It’s a question that’s probably on your mind a lot of the time, but finding answers isn’t always easy. Often it can be helpful to come at issues from a different angle, so try this: Imagine you’re interviewing candidates to replace you; and think of the questions you would ask. Then answer those questions as though you were an applicant.

leadership trapsOne question almost certainly on your list is; What kind of leader are you? How do you avoid leadership traps?

The secret to answering those questions, is to set the parameters of what good leadership is, and to help you define that, let’s take a look at what is not good leadership and how to avoid falling into leadership traps.

The do-it-myself pit

It’s common for owners to be reluctant to let go of some tasks. If this sounds like you, ask yourself if you’re really adding more value to your customers. Being an effective leader means empowering your employees with the opportunity to prove themselves. By relinquishing control of everyday tasks you allow yourself time to attend to strategic and visionary activities.

And vision is key to a business’s success.

Goals are important. They provide direction and confidence that the company is headed towards a bright future.

But remember not to try to set these goals on your own. You have a team; include them in the strategic thinking, perhaps holding quarterly strategic planning sessions.

However, you need more than company goals. What are your personal goals? If you need a little help with that, there is a Personal Goals Template you can use and help you avoid these leadership traps.

The too-busy-for-you cage

Without your staff, your business is nothing. You need to ensure that you always show them that you value their contributions, and this means being as available for them as possible. Don’t become a ‘got a minute’ boss, but do ensure there’s a channel where employees can leave you messages and communicate with you directly.

The so-serious snare

You and your team spend about a third of your waking hours at work. So do what you can to make the work environment an enjoyable place to be. You’ll find that boosting morale is a sure-fire way of increasing workplace engagement and productivity. To do this, combine small things—perhaps cream teas every month, or celebrating big wins with a shared bottle of bubbly—with something more organised like a company outing (not just a Christmas lunch).

The lack-in-communication net

It is vital that your team is constantly kept up to date with the latest information about the business: announcing a new hire, explaining why an employee has left, details of a systems change, etc.

But just as important, be sure your staff know that the communication is a two-way street. You want a working culture of free-flowing information as this could very well be the difference between failure and success.

Having thought about the question of what good leadership is, you’ll be able to assess if you are one, and what you may need to improve on. Tackle that, and you’ll find it easier to navigate your business toward the improvements and success you’re after, and not fall into these leadership traps.


By Shweta Jhajharia, The London Coaching Group

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