In your role as an interior design business leader, hopefully you realize the importance of your leadership in growing the success of your company. But have you thought about some of the traits that make a great leader? Some of you may not have yet built a team to lead, but that should definitely be your goal. And it’s never too early to start developing leadership skills. That skillset will prove to impress clients and industry partners as well as referral partners.
So let’s address 3 things that identify an interior design business owner as a good leader who inspires their team.
1. Invest in Your Team
Invest in your team, but not just monetarily. You should also realize the value of investing the time to mentor your team members. Your investment of time to train your team to run the business without you overseeing every detail will allow you more freedom to be out marketing and bringing in more business to the firm. An effective leader is focused on hiring the right people – consider hiring for attitude over skills. Obviously highly skilled positions require special skillsets. But when hiring, focus on how they approach communication with you, what their non-work goals are that you might help support, what inspires them, and how they work best. Rather than checking to see if they have every skill you’re looking for, find out if they value learning and skill development. And then be sure to provide educational opportunities.
Do you see them in your organization for the long term? The return on investing in your team has been shown to directly affect retention. And once you find great team members you want to keep them! LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report states that 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Also, a study by Employee Benefits News states that the average cost of losing an employee is a staggering 33% of their annual salary. Happy long-term valuable team members create a pipeline for advancement within your firm and that investment in training can help your company stay aware of future trends and ready for continued success.
2. Authority vs Responsibility
With authority, you have the power to make decisions, give orders, and enforce obedience. With responsibility, on the other hand, comes the obligation to answer for one’s actions and to complete assigned tasks. As an effective interior design business leader, your team should have confidence that you will make decisions and enforce rules but that you will also honor your own promises and complete your tasks. You create an atmosphere of fairness and an engaged business when you clearly identify the lines of authority and responsibility in your firm. This clarification avoids confusion and inefficiency. Create an atmosphere of open communication. And when giving your team members responsibility for tasks, also grant them the authority to complete those tasks. John Maxwell shares valuable advice in his statement: “Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.”
3. Don’t Let Roadblocks Stop You
A great leader does not let roadblocks stop them. After all, as designers you are problem-solvers. So approach the challenges of your business as problems to be solved and an opportunity to learn from those challenges. To quote motivational speaker and writer Tony Robbins, “Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.” Several common roadblocks are lack of productivity, misunderstanding finances, and lack of organization.
Thankfully when you hit a productivity roadblock there’s probably an app for that! Check task and team management tools such as Asana, Slack or Trello. You will find not only will it helps you and your team stay organized, but you are also able to get real-time updates for team accountability.
According to a U.S. Bank study, 82 percent of businesses that fail do so due to poor cash management. If finance is not your strength don’t ignore it and hope for the best. An effective interior design business leader works to solve that challenge. Hire a financial advisor or invest in accounting software to help you build a game plan for a solid cash flow. It will help to overcome one of the key roadblocks to business success.
Leverage Your Team
As the CEO of your business it may be challenging to stay organized and able to navigate your way around this roadblock. Don’t think you need to do this alone – use the strengths, abilities and insight of others on your team. Or if you have not yet built a team then this might be the time to bring on someone at least part-time to whom you can delegate parts of the business that you do not want to do, do not do well, or cannot afford to use your time doing. A good leader does not blame others but instead looks for solutions and processes to overcome roadblocks. They learn how and when to delegate, what to prioritize and realize that putting in long hours trying to do it all alone can lead to exhaustion which can then lead to more decision-making.
Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice in helping you to develop strong leadership skills. Just as for your team members, that investment in your own leadership development will help to build a strong team and guide your firm toward continued success.