Can I lead?

I have an idea for a small business, but am not sure I have the leadership qualities necessary to persuade at least one other person to join me in this venture. Since I’ve always worked for others, does this mean that I don’t have leadership qualities? No, working for others doesn’t necessarily mean you lack leadership qualities. Have you ever organized a surprise birthday party, a carpool, been a parent, head of household or found yourself standing up for what is right in spite of some intimidating opposition? Then you have exercised leadership skills. Starting your own business will take some additional skills in order to make it truly a business enterprise versus a hobby. As the owner of the business, an unspoken expectation is that you believe in your product or service enough that someone else – be it a financial backer or an employee - would also be attracted to your vision.  Your level of commitment along with a visible work ethic will set a strong example of who you are and what your expectations of others will be. As a leader, your character will be on display regularly. People follow people they can trust - those who say what they mean and mean what they say. They will also stick with someone who will do whatever it takes to create positive end results. Respect is contagious and will naturally breed loyalty for a leader that practices what he or she preaches. There are oodles of books, articles and seminars on strong leadership skills if you feel the need to unearth qualities you aren’t certain you possess. As a business owner, employees want to feel confident that their boss can handle the finances, is frugal not stingy, fair and certainly knowledgeable about what he or she is attempting to build. What you can’t find online or in the library is readily available through most Community Colleges and Adult Education Programs. Leadership – ultimately – is as much about attitude and integrity as it is about skill. One can’t teach fairness, positive outlook, dedication, honesty, commitment and excitement. If you have these qualities, you can pick up the rest just about anywhere.

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