Does being the boss mean you are a leader?

As a business owner you are the boss but does that make you a leader?  No.  Leadership is a quality few understand.

The role of leadership has changed over the decades.  In the 70s and 80s you knew who your boss was and you followed your boss because that was the structure – a hierarchy.  When your boss said “jump,” you would reply with “how high?”   These days a new type of leadership has been born and most of the change is due to the social change in society.

According to Alan Keith of Genentech, “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.”

As a business owner it is your duty to research these changes and apply them within your business.  You can start by reading the BDC Perspective: Strong leaders build stronger companies.

A leader needs to:

–         plan, take action and be active

–         be a visionary and inspire

–         be proactive, give directions and communicate

–         motivate those around you

–         be positive, confident and courageous

–         take initiative – be responsible

–         have a balanced view and never lose sight of the bigger picture

–         identify problems along with solutions

–         be flexible, yet consistent

–         set the example

–         create value

–         listen and of course,

–         work hard

As a business owner, you are constantly being watched by your clients, partners and employees.  Plan your actions carefully so you can make wise decisions.  A well thought out plan provides a certain level of confidence which is not only observed by those around you but establishes a path for you to follow to achieving a successful business.  Is leadership something that happens with each project?  No, it should be incorporated into your business daily.  It should be the way you conduct business.   Will you make mistakes as a leader?  Yes of course you will but actions speak louder than words. Confidently correct those mistakes and move on!

In the words of American football coach Vince Lombardi, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

At Halton Region’s Small Business Centre, we are here to help you with all your business questions.  One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and give you the tools to achieve success. For more information about any of Halton Region’s Small Business Centre resources and services, and how we can help direct you to the right resources, contact us at 1-866-4HALTON (42-5866),, or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @haltonecdev and Facebook at

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