Hone Your Leadership Skills

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The tough economy of the past few years has made managing and leading a business harder than it used to be, but one author has some leadership lessons that might help.

Joris Merks, author of Samurai Business: The Way of the Warrior for Professionals in the Digital Century, believes that honesty and compassion are qualities that great leaders actively cultivate.

Merks bases his belief in the traditional teachings of Asian cultures, particularly those relating to self-discipline, saying that they increase performance and productivity. The positive result of cultivating these qualities tends to be lifelong and reaches beyond any short-term goals and projects.

What can entrepreneurs and small-business owners do to develop a samurai-warrior business ethic? The first step is to take responsibility. You’re in charge; you take responsibility no matter what outside forces may be at play.

Understand that a lot of what happens on your path to success can’t be foreseen or planned. This requires flexibility and the ability to keep an open mind.

As a leader, your employees will look to you as a role model. Give them clear direction and the autonomy to get the job done. When you trust your team enough to walk away, you give them ownership and independence — two powerful motivators.

Avoid a cookie-cutter mentality to solving problems, and approach every challenge with a fresh eye. Each one requires a unique solution.

Don’t give in to fear. You can’t act clearly or correctly when you make fear-based decisions. Get a grip, take a breath, and then act.

Adapted from Ten Ways to Bring Out Your Samurai Leadership Skills by Dennis McCafferty at CIO Insight.