How to be a Better Leader in 2021

by Carter Toni

A lot has changed in the business world and there are higher expectations for people in leadership positions. They are expected to be aware of social climates and norms for hiring and dealing with workplace disputes. Leaders also need to be versed in new technologies and new management practices. Let’s hear from a few business owners on how to improve your leadership skills in 2021.

Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition MitoQ

Set clear goals and expectations. If your employees/team feel like they are completing tasks that have no end in sight or no end purpose, your overall morale will go down among your team. Make sure every employee understands their responsibilities and role at your company. This will help your image as a leader and instill confidence in your employees that you are working together.

Dylan Trussell, CMO Culprit Underwear

Being tech-savvy is a big plus these days in any leadership position. You’ll need to know the ins and outs of how your company runs, and a big portion of that will be in digital spaces. Research the best ways to communicate with your team, streamline operations and automate mundane tasks like transactions. The more you keep on top of technologic solutions for your business, the better handle you’ll have as new systems come into play.

Ramin Oskoui, Director of Growth Marketing NURO

In my experience, the more passionate you are about your product, company or service, the more confident you will be and the more confident your employees will be. Customers will also have a greater confidence in you and the services your business provides. The more care you can put into your work, the more that will show in the way you lead and run your business.

Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing EnergyFit

Always be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to try new things. Being flexible to customer and employee feedback is an important part of being a leader and you should always take suggestions with stride. Even if the proposed idea is impractical or not possible, your reception of it will show what kind of leadership you bring to the table.

Jim Beard, COO BoxGenie

Have clear boundaries set up around workplace behavior so that if an employee acts inappropriately, you can act on issues between employees quickly and appropriately. It’s never something you’ll want to deal with, but you need to make sure that all team members understand the values of your workplace and the kind of treatment that is expected. Being firm about this will make your team confident that you have their best interest in mind. 

Matt Ehrlichmann, CEO Porch

Have a sense of humor about yourself. A leader who takes themselves too seriously is hard to work with and can’t always see when they’ve made a mistake. It’s ok to be self critical, and helpful to laugh at yourself so you can move on and find a solution.

Jordan Duran, Founder 6 Ice

Practice your communication and empathy skills as much as possible. It’s important to be able to understand where your clients and employees are coming from. There are many ways to practice this from networking to coaching, look into all the options and opportunities you have to communicate better and empathize more deeply.

James Ville, Chief Product Officer GunSkins

The more you can make your team feel like you’re working toward a common goal, the more you will truly embody the role of a leader. A leader is someone who leads a group towards a common goal so don’t get too wrapped up in your personal aspirations. Make sure whatever those are, you take the group’s goal into account first.

Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder The Quality Edit

Surround yourself with people who have different backgrounds, upbringings and cultural ideas than you do. This will show not only an openness to new ideas but that you are committed to leading an inclusive company. You’ll also benefit from implementing ideas that other organizations might not have thought to try.

Katie Kiernan, Co-Founder Nue Life

Delineate your smaller tasks to your management team. You have to remember that, even if you come from management, if you’re leading a company you are looking at larger picture goals. It’s common to want to micromanage every aspect of your business, but if you’ve selected the right management team they will be able to do their jobs effectively. Trust your management team to deal with the day to day operations of your company while you focus on bigger ticket items.

Ryan Rockefeller, CEO and Co-Founder Cleared

Always follow your instincts. If you are in a leadership position, chances are you got there for a reason and you should have faith in your decision making abilities. A wishy-washy leader will always have an insecure team, so trust your instincts and be confident that when a decision needs to be made you’ll be ready to make it.

Jeff S. Goodwin, Vice President of Direct to Consumer and Performance Marketing Orgain

Understand that you might not always have the solution to a problem, that’s why you need to surround yourself with a problem solving team to help you make tough decisions. You might not always know what to do, but being truthful and asking your team’s opinion goes a long way as a leader. And remember to give credit where due. If it comes from an employee, make sure the rest of your team knows whose idea it was!

Lindsay McCormick, Founder and CEO Bite

Any CEO or company leader is going to have a lot on their plate, but make sure you are available to your management team. If you’re not going to be, then make sure they understand the timeline that you will be unavailable for. Remember you are still supporting a company and a team that will need your attention. Be clear about your availability and follow through when you’ve set time aside for your team.

Tyler Hayden, Read Founder PT Pioneer

See your mistakes as learning opportunities. Setbacks are just doors being opened to a different solution. Whether you are CEO, Founder or Management, you’ll need to expect that you will make mistakes. Learn from them, and be conscious of how you handle that situation in the future.

Dan Lewis, CEO Convoy

Always be compassionate when dealing with customers. It’s easy to get frustrated, but remember that these are the people giving you business. People today are demanding, and expect fast service. It’s your job to do your best to provide that and understanding where they’re coming from

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