The company director is the force behind all business processes, the figurehead of the brand and the deciding factor between a business that swims, and one that sinks. More often than not, the buck stops with you. So what sort of person do you need to be to handle this kind of responsibility, and how can you improve?
Here’s a list of skills required to become the sort of leader your company needs you to be.
Be a good communicator
When it comes to keeping both staff and customers on board, this is one of the most important skills to have. To be able to effectively lead a team, or convince your audience to buy your product or service, you need to be able to understand them. People respect and cooperate with people who are friendly, well-spoken and easy to reach. In many cases good communication skills are the only trait that will retain a client or motivate an employee in times of hardship.
Whilst all decisions should be made with the appropriate thought and consultation, directors often need to make quick decisions and be confident that they are doing the right thing. Often, some of the more important company decisions will be made collectively by a board of directors, but in those times where the final choice falls to you, it’s important that you’re able to take on that responsibility without crumbling under the challenge.
Some decisions are not simple to make, and business problems are not always effortlessly solvable, straightforward or easy to implement. In these cases, some creative manoeuvring may be needed to think outside the box. Innovative directors are the leaders in their industries, going above and beyond the competition in terms of formulating new service and product offerings.
Be a leader
Many different qualities come under this heading, but they all boil down to the same thing: confidence.
An effective leader is assertive yet considerate, passionate yet logical, persuasive, and inspiring. They should have a clear vision for their business and have the confidence and drive to get there. Often the main spokesperson for their company, a director needs to be fully behind whatever their company is doing, and be able to argue their case in the face of any challenges.
Go above and beyond
As the spokesperson for your business, it is often up to you to answer for any shortcomings made by your staff, or other things that may not have gone as planned. For this reason, a successful director isn’t afraid to put in some hard work where necessary to pick up the slack when their business is under-performing.
Be a good learner
When you first start out as a company director, it’s impossible that you’ll be able to know everything about the world of business, or even your own sector. This is why the ability to proficiently research and learn about new topics and concepts is such an important attribute for a successful company director to have. Running a company is much easier when you’re able to assimilate and retain information on a consistent basis.
As a company director you’ll need to supervise and analyse all your business processes. Being able to pick up on any shortcomings early on will make things much easier down the line, and quickly stop anything that might damage your overall productivity.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Especially in business. A strong director should be able to adapt to change, and even make positives out of the many variables and deviations you’ll encounter on your way to business success. Directors who are slow to facilitate change are usual those who suffer later on.
Persistence is the ability to carry on even when things get tough. And without being discouraging, it’s likely that at some point in your career as a company director, they will. Being diligent and persistent will motivate you as well as others around you through difficult times, and put you ahead of your competitors.
Although kindness can be overlooked and undervalued as a strength, a little kindness can go a long way in the world of business, especially when dealing with difficult employees or customers. Respect is given where it’s received.
Alternatively, an overly stern director who’s inconsiderate of other people’s boundaries or feelings may lead to hostility in the workplace, and damage productivity.
As a director of a small to medium-sized business, it may sometimes feel as though you’re spinning 100 different plates at once. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Everyone has the above skills to some extent, and working on them can only help your business in the long run. Through practise and a bit of self-awareness, you can be become the best of the best.
For some more inspiration on becoming a powerful leader, take a look at these business quotes.
For information on what NOT to do, read our article on traits of terrible bosses.