Growing Your Team? Here’s What You Need To Know About Being A Great Leader
When you are your own boss, you pride yourself on being a one-person show. But, while having a virtual assistant or intern can give you the time and energy to take your business to the next level, being the boss to someone else can be a little…well, weird. (Even when I was a full-time employee, I never had an intern or assistant to mentor!)
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Vivian Chan. As a leadership and team-building expert, Vivian understands that making the transition from being your own boss to being someone else’s, too, is easier said than done. To help, she’s breaking down everything you need to know about being a leader as a self-starter. With any luck, her tips will have you feeling like this in no time:
Know Your Strengths
As self-starters, we’re used to doing everything for our businesses — right down to creating those tedious invoices. But, just because you do everything doesn’t mean you like or are good at everything. (For example, writing and editing is my secret sauce, but I cannot stand administrative work.)
“If you try to be good at everything, you’ll never be great at anything,” Vivian explains. “Well-rounded individuals breed mediocrity. The point is not to be a well-rounded leader who knows a little bit about everything; you want to have a well-rounded team to complement your vision.”
The best part about growing your one-person show into a full-fledged team is having a group of people with diverse skillsets. In order to do this, think about what you bring to the table and how your team can fill in the gaps.
“Build the right team that complements you and your vision intentionally and by design, instead of by circumstance,” Vivian says. “That means recruiting and promoting your team members because of their strengths and how they fit the roles.”
Develop Your Leadership Style
ICYMI, being your own boss doesn’t come with a rulebook. Since there’s no one way to be a self-starter, we often rely on our own intuition to get the job done. So, why should being someone else’s boss be any different?
“The truth is, each leadership style is unique and has its place in a leader’s toolkit,” Vivian says. “No one leadership style is better than others. The key to success is to know what’s your leadership style and lead with that.”
You can read as many leadership books as you’d like, but it’s important to find a style that feels natural to you and your business. When I think about my leadership style, I consider how I’ve run my one-woman show thus far. I prioritize fostering positive and respectful relationships with my editors; creating content that meets my personal standards; and having some fun in the process. So, why not lead that way, too? After all, nobody needs another Miranda Priestly…
Self-Awareness Is Key
While there might be more than one way to be a great boss, there’s one thing all great leaders have in common: Self-awareness.
“Before you lead others, you need to lead yourself,” Vivian explains. “Great leaders are self-aware. When you’re leading a virtual assistant or a team of people while having no clue about your natural strengths and leadership style, it can lead to some serious problems such as unhappy or burnt out team members.”
As she puts it, a leader’s level of self-awareness can greatly affect not just the company’s outcomes, but also the team’s happiness, productivity, engagement, and the likelihood of leaving the business. If you want to brush up on your self-awareness skills, Vivian recommends taking the CliftonStrengths and Builder Profile 10 (BP10) assessments from Gallup to discover your strengths and unique business-building talents.
Double Down On Delegating
I’ll be the first one to admit that my business is like my baby: I think about it 24/7, spend late nights giving it TLC, and have watched it grown before my eyes. (I know I’m not alone here!) But, no matter how amazing your team is, it can be nerve-wracking to hand off some of the responsibilities to someone else. If you’re having a hard time delegating, Vivian recommends getting to the root of the issue.
“If you’re resisting delegation, is it because you’ve been burnt before and have then concluded that delegation just doesn’t work?” she asks. “Or, is it because you think ‘no one can do this as well as I can,’ or ‘I’ve got to do something in my own business, otherwise I’m a bad boss?’”
Once you identify what’s holding you back from delegating, it’ll be easier to take charge like a boss.
“One tip I can give to shift your mindset is to trust that the right [people] can get the job done well,” Vivian says.
Hustler of the Week: Connie Wong
What inspired you to become your own boss?
Becoming my own boss was really a happenstance! At the time, I had left an in-house social media position (now what we would all collectively call, influencer relations), and was freelancing for various PR agencies. I came to the realization that what I enjoyed most, aside from working intimately with media and influencers, was working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. I found — and still do find — a lot of personal fulfillment and joy in helping to create an impact on their business; to help them build the recognition they deserve and to tell their stories. I took the leap of faith and pitched a jewelry brand in 2008 to do their PR. The designer took a chance on me and became my very first client. (Today, I’m lucky enough to call her one of my best friends. In fact, she moved out to the west coast several years ago and now lives only minutes away from me!)
What is your favorite part about being your own boss? Least favorite?
Deciding my own path is the BEST part of being my own boss. This means everything from choosing the clients and team I get to work with to the flexibility of how I structure my day to best accommodate my family’s needs, too. When I started Moderne Press, I had the foresight to realize that this would be important to me, but never has that played out more than this past year.
Least favorite part is definitely all of the legal and financial aspects of the business. However, it’s a necessary and essential part of any business. So, over the years, I’ve learned to entrust a large portion of this load to trusted partners. Now, it takes up a minimal amount of my time.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming your own boss?
Listening to and trusting my gut. It’s easy to ignore your intuition when there are so many voices in the room, so to speak. While it’s valuable to seek advice and thoughts from others, it’s also equally important to ensure that it’s right for you and your business.
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