Do you work in the business or on the business?


Mark Frohman


Business COlumnist

Monday, February 18, 2019

How good a leader are you? Above or below average?

From a recent survey of entrepreneurs, it appears most feel pretty confident of themselves. In fact, a whopping 95 percent of entrepreneurs polled rate their leadership skills as “above average.” That sounds impressive but, that means only one out of every 20 entrepreneurs is average or below. Seriously, how can only 5 percent be at or below average? In any event there is always room for improvement.

What do entrepreneurs say they’re doing well? When asked to name their top leadership qualities, 47 percent believe they are positive, 45 percent say they are ethical and 30 percent say they are confident.

However, just 15 percent think they are inspiring, a mere 16 percent think they are focused and only 17 percent believe they are patient. These are important areas for leadership development for many small business owners.

Furthermore, when asked to identify the top leadership skills they need to improve, entrepreneurs reported:

■ Holding others accountable — 67 percent

■ Developing my team — 51 percent

■ Delegating to others — 41 percent

■ Demonstrating a strong vision — 41 percent

■ Communicating clearly — 40 percent

If you’re not sure where you need to improve your leadership skills, getting feedback from your team can help pinpoint both your strengths and weaknesses. However, although the majority conduct performance reviews for their employees, 55 percent of small business owners surveyed report they don’t ask for feedback on their leadership performance. In other words, they’re giving their employees feedback, but not getting any themselves.

When small business owners in the survey sought guidance to improve their leadership abilities, many (46 percent) turn to a non-business advisor, while 41 percent rely on their business partner. In addition, 36 percent stated business coaching is the most valuable type of leadership development a person can get.

There’s a business truism that says you can work on your business or in your business. Working in your business means handling the day-to-day duties — and it’s easy to get caught up in this aspect of leadership. However, if you want your business to grow beyond the startup stage, you need to prioritize working on your business. That means developing a strong vision, setting priorities, delegating, getting feedback on performance, being patient, motivating others and holding yourself and your team accountable for reaching the company’s goals.

If you think leadership coaching is beyond your budget, think again. SCORE mentors provide free business coaching to small business owners. Get matched with a mentor today. It will pay off.

Mark Frohman is the owner of Frohman Consulting Corp. and a counselor with SCORE, a nonprofit business-consulting group.