Tag Archives: Lifelong learning

Cultivate Your Leadership Skills

Followership

As a small business owner, strong leadership skills make or break your company’s chance of success. Without them, you risk missing your goals and not gaining the cooperation you need from employees and project partners.

Not everyone is a born leader but with some effort, you can develop essential and improve upon essential leadership skills.

Here are several leadership skills you’ll want to hone as you build your business:

 

  • Listening

As important as it is to share your guidance and thoughts, listening to what others have to say is equally—if not more—important. Your customers and the people who work with you have valuable insight that can help you make decisions that can improve your business. Want to learn how to be a better listener? Forbes has some helpful tips for strengthening your listening skills.

 

  • Communication

The importance of expressing your goals, guidance, and vision clearly and professionally should never be underestimated—whether through email, phone, face-to-face interactions, or in presentations. Improving communication skills requires a multi-focused effort involving attention to: organizing your thoughts, keeping emotions in check, refining grammar and spelling, and more. This list of 17 tips offers ways you can give your communications skills a boost.

 

  • Time management

Without a grasp on how to effectively manage your time, critical tasks and responsibilities can fall through the cracks. The keys to time management are being organized and knowing how to prioritize your to-do’s. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for managing time, these six tips provide a good foundation upon which to improve your ability to make the most of your time.

 

  • Delegation

Even if you’re a solopreneur, you can’t always do everything on your own. Whether you have employees or opt to use subcontractors, there will be tasks and responsibilities that should be done by someone other than yourself, so you have time to focus on critical business-building objectives.

While this Harvard Business Review article addresses delegation from the perspective of larger companies, it provides many takeaways that small business owners can consider for improving their delegation skills.

 

  • Motivation and self-discipline

Leading also requires maintaining enthusiasm and embodying the drive to accomplish what needs to be done. When you’re the boss, you’re responsible for motivating yourself and staying on track. Contributing editor Geoffrey James at Inc.com has shared an interesting perspective and helpful tips to help entrepreneurs strengthen self-motivation skills. This thought from his article might help motivate you to become more self-motivated: “Use self-motivation to make yourself successful at life rather than just at work.”

 

Don’t believe “leaders are born not made.” While leadership is easier for some small business owners than others, you can get better at it with effort and practice. If you need guidance on ways to become a stronger leader, contact us about talking with a SCORE mentor. Our volunteers have a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of starting and growing a business.

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Ready to Switch Careers After 50?

Changing careers after 50 can be intimidating.  A new approach may be required. Kindle your reinvention with these high energy tips:

Embrace  lifelong learning..  Seek the unexpected.  Cultivate a curious mindset and READ.  We live in a digital age. The sheer volume of information is fertile ground for learning about unique cultures, places, experiences and opportunities. Read constantly;  articles, blogs, books, and blather.  Your capacity to learn is as great as it ever was.  Continue to stretch and grow by examining the world from a different perspective.  If you are an interesting person,  others will seek you out for all sorts of reasons. Which leads me to the second lesson.

Network like you mean it.  Most people network when they are unemployed, or soon to be.  They reach out with their self serving contact requests.  Networking is being engaged with other human beings.  Old school networking is transactional.  New school networking is figuring out how you can collaborate and help the other person get where they are going.  Take time to see how you can make a small difference in someone else’s life.  It’s not about YOU, it’s about them.  Learn the skill, you are never too old.

Hone your technical skills.  If you are not e-relevant, no one will hire you.  Take the time to learn about social media and how to brand yourself in the market.  Computer skills?  Mandatory!  Buy a smart phone, learn to tweet and text.  Stay current, stay engaged in technology!

Stride with confidence.  Learn to sell yourself, your ideas and your solutions for your next adventure. Want to change fields or industries?   Apply for the job and sell yourself to the hiring manager. Fear is a great motivator.  By 50, you should be using fear to your advantage.  Find solutions for a company, use your skills and talents to add value to the bottom line.  Discover a nonprofit you believe in, and give it the energy and passion it requires.  Will you stumble along the way?  You can count on it.  By now you are working on making a difference, not just a contribution.

Be an agent of change and get moving.  Find your own true North.