Top tips for leaders

A staggering 51 per cent of managers and employees working in small to medium-sized businesses have never taken part in any leadership training, says a survey by learndirect business.

Read these tips for effective leadership.

While traditional training methods can mean staff are away from work, ‘e-learning’, training online or by DVD, can reduce staff absence and gives employees the flexibility to learn at their own pace. And because learning can be done in bite-sized chunks, it can fit better around the working day.

‘The Apprentice’ DVD training courses from learndirect business are introduced by Nick Hewer, one of Sir Alan Sugar’s senior aides and cover a range of vital business topics. Smallbusiness.co.uk and learndirect business offer the following set of tips from the DVDs on negotiation, selling, pitching and presenting for business owners and managers:

Margin is king – Be extremely organised where finance is concerned. Knowing your markets and competitors thoroughly will help you to avoid over- or under-pricing your products. If your product or service is selling well, take the additional profit; if it’s not, be prepared to drop the price.

Be a good communicator – If you’re making a pitch, negotiating or selling, it’s vital to convey information quickly and effectively. Make sure all parties know and understand what’s going to happen when, why, who’s responsible for making it happen and the expected outcome. Know what you are trying to achieve before you start.

Be honest, straight forward and show integrity – Speak to business associates with respect and where possible, don’t backtrack on deals. Be honest with your own appraisal of a project and look at how you could improve.

Be flexible – This is the key to survival in business because the market is always changing. Always have a contingency plan for when things go wrong. Learn from others and try to keep an open mind.

Make sure you plan – Planning is all about having a goal, and then organising people and resources to reach that goal. A good business leader should be able to break the obstacles down into smaller pieces and tackle them one step at a time.

Demonstrate strong leadership – Some people are born to lead and others are better suited to supporting and project delivery roles, but it’s also true that some people can grow into a leadership role. Lead by example: if you aren’t well organised, how can you expect your staff to be?

Be a good people manager – Success is often the result of team effort. Communicate your vision then listen to your team, including suppliers, wholesalers and retailers, as your success ultimately depends on them.

See also: How to become a more inspiring leader

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Leadership

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