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The Leading Edge April 2014
Small Business Success
Taking Care of Business  

In this Issue

Motivate Your Team To Greatness (Part 1)

Leadership Styles - What's Yours?

4 Leadership Strategies

7 Days Of Inspiration


THE LEADING EDGE - your monthly link to groundbreaking ideas for entrepreneurs

Does Anybody Really Need a '2K' Smartphone?

Small Business News:

New anti-spam law 'a big deal' for small businesses (Globe and Mail) - March 24, 2014 - Small businesses are scrambling to make sure they're compliant with new anti-spam legislation taking effect on July 1 that will impact how they drum up future sales. Read more...

Three-quarters of Canadians research purchases online, but only 41% of small businesses have an online presence (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) - OTTAWA - March 18, 2014 - Canadian small businesses, only 41.1 per cent of which have a website, may be missing lucrative opportunities as Canadians come to rely on the Internet to help them make buying decisions, according to the 2014 Factbook from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the organization that manages the .CA domain. Read more...

Which province is best for small business? (Financial Post) - Toronto, March 2, 2014 - Rather than finding provincial governments working hard to build an attractive and supportive environment for economic development, many new entrepreneurs feel their provincial governments are working against them. Read more...

296,000 job vacancies across Canada in Q4 (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) Labour shortages worse for smaller businesses - Canada Job Grant could help - According to the latest Help Wanted report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), approximately 296,000 full and part-time job vacancies were reported in the fourth quarter of 2013. The overall vacancy rate remained virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, at 2.5 per cent. Read more...

    Motivate Your Team To Greatness (Part 1)

This month we focus on Leadership with three articles and a list of quotes that will motivate you to inspire your team. Lao Tzu (an ancient Chinese philosopher and poet) described leadership better than anyone else, "A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves."

As a small business owner it is very important to get the very best out of your employees; human resources are expensive and you need to see a return on your investment in people every bit as much as making a profit on the goods and services you sell.

It is up to you - in fact it is part of your job - to create an atmosphere of positive energy, enthusiasm, excellence, and professionalism and lead by example in all these areas. If your employees see that you are dedicated to the company, that you strive to excel at what you do and demonstrate high levels of professionalism, then they will mirror these traits. The reverse is also true of course; if you swan off to the golf course three days a week, what message do you think that gives?

Motivating your team however, goes one step beyond just setting a good example. Empowering your employees both through their successes and failures is vital to motivating them to do better. If they succeed at something let them know they did a good job, and give them more responsibility, or a more important task/project/role - demonstrate you have confidence in them. If a team member fails to do a good job encourage them to do better and help them see what they could have done to improve the outcome. Show them you still have faith in them by providing a second chance for them to prove themselves. You are in a position to empower those that work for you, and with you by your words and actions.

Let's take a look at a few ways you can motivate and empower your team. Having enthusiastic employees will ensure the return on your human resources investment pays off.

Be Awesome

Being awesome is contagious. Set an example of the kind of attitude and professionalism you want to see in your team. Just as children mirror what they see, regardless of what they've been told, your employees will take their cue from you, and will model the kind of energy, values and ethics they see demonstrated by you.

Study Behavioral Styles

Understanding the people who work for you can really pay off. There is a lot of information on the Internet about this topic and an hour or so studying personality traits will open your eyes as to why certain people behave the way they do, and how you can relate to them better. Your team is not a "one-size-fits-all" entity. Each person is unique in how they communicate, work, and receive feedback, and in what motivates them. Use that information to troubleshoot problems, deal with productivity, AND motivate them according to their specific motivators!

Learn When to Fight

You haven't got time to fight every battle. You have to decide when to confront a situation, or a team member, and when to let it go. Some things just aren't that important - don't micro-manage. If you're the type of manager who likes to maintain control - you may have some difficulty with this, but if you can learn to pick your battles, you'll decrease your stress level overnight and win the war. One more thing, if you decide to let it go - REALLY let it go, don't harbor any lingering resentment.

Hold People Accountable

You don't have to be overbearing, or overly bossy, but you do need to make sure your team understands that they will be held accountable for what they commit to, or the things you have asked them to do. Empowerment comes with responsibility and your team members need to fully understand and buy into that. Don't let things slide - deal with problems right away. If your team knows you will hold them accountable, they'll work better and be stronger.

Next month we'll look at showing appreciation, building relationships, establishing healthy team competition, and celebrating success.

Leadership Styles - What's Yours? Top


If you are managing people you are doing so in a certain way - you have a leadership style, whether you know it or not. It could be effective, or it might not be, and it's based, at least in part, on your personality. Perhaps your personality has been the controlling factor in how you lead your team, or maybe having to manage people has changed your personality especially at work, or you have studied, or been taught management styles and you lead according to what you have learned. Traits such as whether you are people, or task, oriented will also play a part in how you lead.

Learning a little about what your 'natural' style is will help you become a better leader. More importantly, realizing that one size does not fit all is vital; we have to adapt our style to the various personalities in our teams.

A lot has been written about leadership and no one article could hope to impart anything more than a modicum of information to get you started on thinking about how you lead the people that are important to your business. In this article we'll take a quick look at three primary styles.

The Autocrat

This style is more 'my way or the highway' than anything else. This type of leader is typically found in small businesses owners who are far better at doing than delegating. They are extremely confident in their decision-making skills and are quite often correct in the assumptions they make. They make decisions quickly with little discussion, or input, from team members and have the strength to implement what they believe is the correct course of action.

One of their strengths is that they can get people to follow them in their plans. The downside is that they can be insensitive to the feelings of those they work with. They don't ask for input, or appear to listen when it is offered. Employees often feel railroaded too quickly into decisions and therefore sidelined. Some team members will passively follow an Autocrat resulting in the need for direction every step of the way to ensure results; others will resist the Autocrat resulting in time wasted in close management and disciplinary action. In either case the victim is productivity.

If this sounds a lot like you, you may want to consider ways to adapt your leadership strengths to be more inclusive of team players.

The Democrat

As the name implies Democrats are the opposite to Autocrats - they are so team-oriented they can't bear to lead anyone, leaving decisions entirely up to the team. Their strengths are a strong desire to give everyone the opportunity to participate, strong relational skills that make them very approachable to their team members, and an easy-going nature that makes them easy to work for.

Their weaknesses are an inability to make decisions on their own, a "too-friendly" style that blurs the line between boss and buddy, and an inability to deal with conflict. A team's response to the Democrat on the surface is a happy, motivated group. But underlying this is a lack of confidence because they lack direction, this results in lower productivity because less is expected of them. If you're naturally a Democrat, you may want to look at how to adapt your leadership style to give more positive direction and motivation to your team.

The Director

These leaders have a natural ability to incorporate both a strong, directive approach, and one that empowers team members. They are able to take into consideration input from their team, while still maintaining control and the ability to make decisions that are best for the company. Directors maintain a strong presence on the team and have high standards for team members, while at the same time empowering them to use their skills to make decisions that affect their workload and activities. The primary strength of the Director is the ability to take into account and validate team members, and to make decisions based on the information gathered. If the Director has a weakness, it is a difficulty in maintaining that balance, and not leaning too far in one direction or the other. Team members led by an effective Director will feel empowered to direct their own work, but will also feel supported by a strong sense of direction and clarity from his/her leader. Team members are most productive under the leadership of a Director.

Adapting Your Style

Think about your leadership style. Is it working? Is your team as productive as they might be? Consider the individual personalities of the people you work with and who rely on your guidance. Do they all respond well to you, or is there some resistance? Do others seem to be on autopilot and get by just doing as they are told?

Adapting your leadership, or management style, can pay dividends and take a lot of pressure off you. If you're an Autocrat, empower your team a little more. If you're a Democrat take a little more control and direct more.

Successful Leaders

Successful leaders:

  • Exhibit a high level of integrity.
  • Are genuine.
  • Show a high degree of emotional understanding.
  • Can be empathetic.
  • Motivate people.
  • Show self-awareness.
  • Have a degree of humbleness.
  • Are inspirational.
  • Set clear goals.
  • Communicate well.
  • Resolve conflict effectively.
4 Leadership Strategies Top


There are probably as many leadership strategies as there are days in the year, but here we look at four that will help you identify the one you currently use (or default to) and which might work better for you with different teams, or in specific circumstances.

Hands-off Leadership

This strategy needs to be used cautiously and is based on the premise that you think your team can manage on their own, and would prefer you didn't interfere. The problem is it means you are abandoning your responsibilities, or at least deferring them to another leader. If you are taking this course of action because you haven't the time, or desire to lead the project, or don't like it - or the team, then it is a very ineffective strategy.

If on the other hand, you are trying to develop, or test, the leadership skills of someone in your team, it can work well. However, you will need to be leading from the back and supporting your "trainee leader" allowing them to achieve success on their own. At some stage you will need to show your leadership through delegation.

Friendly Leadership

Some leaders just want a quiet life and for everyone to get on well. This is based on the belief that a happy team will also be a productive one. In reality, although people do respond to positive, fun environments it can also lead to an unstructured, unmanaged team where little gets achieved. There is no problem with people having fun and enjoying their work, but a leader has to control the situation in a way where part of the fun is reaching goals and objectives. This strategy can work better on fun projects, rather than serious ones where there is a lot at stake.

Bossy Leadership

The reverse of the strategy above; this strategy uses a stick rather than a carrot. This autocratic strategy says to people, "You're here to a job, not have fun, do it my way and we'll all be happy." To be fair, this can get the job done, but beware the problems that may arise later. If you have a very important project with specific outcomes, where a high degree of accuracy is required, and you are working with a tight timeline, and where your knowledge, experience and supervision are vital then it can work.

Coaching Leadership

One of the best leadership strategies is where you become team coach. This approach says, "We're all in this together, let's support each other so we can get the job done quickly and efficiently and be proud of the results." This style places a high emphasis on both the people involved and the task at hand. It emphasizes working together to produce a collaborative outcome. Coaching is generally the most effective consistent leadership strategy in the day-to-day operation of your business.

Whatever your style, you can learn to adapt it to situations and to suit the projects you work on every day to create a synergistic and productive team. Good leadership is a gift to those you lead - if you use a balance of confidence, and sensitivity.

7 Days Of Inspiration Top


I'm a huge fan of quotes, I like the way they sum up something in so few words. If you feel you need to be motivated to help you motivate your team, take a stroll through the following selection of quotations and absorb some of their words of wisdom. Now that we all have electronic calendars the paper versions seem to have gone the way of the Dodo. I miss those chunky desktop ones that had a quote a day - I used to enjoy, and yes feel inspired, when I ripped the top sheet off each morning to expose the new quote of the day.

So, feel free to cut and paste these quotes into your electronic calendar and set an alert so that, one at a time, they will pop up on your screen and give you a quick motivational boost to be the best you can for your team everyday.

  1. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. (Max DePree)
  2. True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. (Bill Owens)
  3. Six essential qualities are the keys to success: sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity. (Dr. William Menninger)
  4. A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. (John Maxwell)
  5. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. (Stephen Covey)
  6. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. (Colin Powell)
  7. The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. (Jim Rohn)

These seven quotes will give you a week of inspiration. If you'd like more, visit Forbes magazines' website where they have a compiled a list of the 100 Best Quotes On Leadership quotes:

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