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10 Key Leadership Trends to Follow for Small Business Owners

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Did you know there are over 28 million small businesses in America today? Staggering statistic, isn't it?

With such intense competition on today's market, learning how to prepare for success is key in order to separate from the masses. One of the best ways to achieve this is by focusing on leadership trends.

Let's look into the best strategies to follow for your business.

Assertive Communication

One of the most classic leadership trends is also one of the most important. Clear and cohesive communication is critical for company success.

As a manager, you absolutely must be able to convey your ideas in a way that is upfront and honest- without being condescending or rude.

Your needs matter, and so do the needs of your employees. Engaging in assertive communication keeps communication open and healthy for all parties.


Assertively communicating your needs and expectations makes your requirements clear to your employees.

With that said, it's also important to show your gratitude and appreciation for a job well done. Employees who feel respected in their roles are far more likely to take their jobs and your role seriously.

Validation also conveys a sense of acceptance, which promotes a safe and happy work environment.


This one goes without saying: honesty in the workplace is key. In fact, this is one of the most important leadership trends for all small businesses.

Honesty promotes integrity and good intentions. It also promotes the willingness to be vulnerable when things don't go smoothly- which is important for all leaders to know how to do.

Remember: honesty is a two-way street. If you struggle to be transparent with your colleagues and employees, they will likely struggle to be upfront with you.


When things are going well with the business, it's easy to feel on top of the world. But, what about when sales are down? When life gets hectic? When you start feeling immense pressure?

It's easy to start thinking negatively or entertain the idea of throwing in the towel. However, this is when motivation and perseverance are key.

You must be willing to go the extra mile, take on that additional assignment, provide that pep talk for your employees as needed.

Keep yourself motivated to work hard and people will look up to you. Keep your employees motivated to continue working hard- no matter the conditions- and you will have a stable environment.


This trait goes hand-in-hand with motivation, and it's just as important. Nobody likes to be around an angry, cynical leader. In fact, it's a surefire way for people to lose their respect around you.

Positivity goes a really long way. Learn how to laugh at yourself. Learn how to shrug off the small things. Be silly sometimes. This shows the human side of you, and it's also going to make your job that much more enjoyable and fun.


What do some of the most successful businesses have in common? Their leaders were unconventional and creative.

They were willing to think outside the proverbial box, take calculated risks, and make dramatic and nontraditional changes, no matter what the conventional wisdom said.

If you're finding you or your business in a somewhat stagnant state, it's important to take an honest inventory of what's making your company stand out.

Go back to the basics with this one. What's the vision of your business? What's setting you apart from the competition? Why is this your calling or dream? Focus on these questions and watch the creative process unfold.


Life rarely works on a fixed schedule. Even the most organized planner can't account for all of life's nuances.

One of the most important leadership trends in today's society is maintaining a sense of flexibility.

Work with your employees. Be open to their feedback and suggestions. Ask them what they want to see changed or improved. Consider more unconventional methods for working.

Most of all? When mistakes and mishaps happen, do your best to handle them with grace and move on. Dwelling on imperfections only makes everyone feel stressed. Your ability to be flexible in difficult times models both strength and courage for the employees working for you.

Proper Hiring

A leader can only be as good as his staff, right? With that said, it's important to be diligent and thorough with your hiring process.

This can be done through your own interviewing skills and leadership intuition. It can also be done through professional outsourcing or expert recruiting.

Whatever you do, don't rush this process or blindly hire the first person who meets your requirements. You need to feel that the match is right. At its core, the hiring should be an exciting adventure for you to scope out and discover new talent.

Hiring the wrong employees can be an emotionally draining and costly mistake. Be meticulous in this area.

Commitment to Others

As a leader, it's critical to follow through with what you say. Flaking out of promises only makes you look like you can't be trusted or relied upon.

This is not the message you want to be demonstrating to your employees. If you're only talking the talk without walking the walk, you're not doing your fair share. And, don't expect your employees to do so, either!

Helpful and Productive Feedback

Employees want to grow and be productive in their roles. They want to know where they are excelling and where they need to improve.

It's your job to provide this feedback and constructive advice. It's your job to point your employees in the right direction while also appropriately confronting and exploring mistakes and/or areas for growth.

Encourage your employees and let them know where you are seeing improvements. Meet with them if you start noticing slacking or decompensation.

It's up to you to create that leading environment.

Final Thoughts on Leadership Trends to Follow

We're convinced these ten leadership trends will stand the test of time in small business ownership. Are you maximizing all of them?

We're here to help! Be sure to check out our continuous employer resources for making the best choices for your company today.

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