Any business owner leading a company or team, irrespective of size, requires other people to both support and challenge them. While the responsibility ultimately falls on you as director, the people you have around you can ultimately make or break your business.
If you don’t align yourself in a smart way you will find everyday obstacles a business inevitably faces that much more difficult. Who needs that!
Here are five types of people I believe business owners should surround themselves with:
1. The Devil’s Advocate
This is the person who at first glance could seem overly negative or annoying. An idea may come up that they will not support and they are also likely to question everything. A discerning business owner will understand the difference between someone who imposes their negativity on a team, and someone who provides the opportunity to think about all angles. A positive team environment is crucial but there is the possibility of not doing all due diligence if ‘worse case scenarios’ aren’t even discussed.
2. The cheerleader
I know it sounds like a ‘Yes’ person, but there is something to be said for having someone on your team who is encouraging and able to see the silver lining. Often, it can be a dark and discouraging place when you get a lot of ‘no’s or deals falling through so it is crucial to have somebody that will remind you of the overall vision and how far you have already come. A bit of motivation never hurt anybody.
3. The Mentor
It is imperative that as a leader you are leading the best way possible, and what better method than to be learning from someone who has successfully accomplished what you are trying to do. I have a mentor who I meet with once a month and he allows me to brainstorm, discuss weaker points and also the best resolution to move forward. It is also hard as a business owner to often discuss with your team everything that concerns you, so your mentor should be that sounding board to provide you with a bit of direction.
4. The Connector
The connector is that go-to person everyone needs when running a business. Just say, I want to design a smartphone app for my business but have no idea where to start! The connector will scroll through their own phone and give you the number of someone they know who did a fabulous job on so-and-so’s latest app. Or they will tell you which lawyer to hire or accountant, the point is, they know everyone and are happy to put you in touch. Where I live, everyone is a bit of a connector and it is really a fortunate thing to have some sort of real life Linked-In situation happening.
5. The Enabler
This isn’t what you think; technically an enabler is a person who can evoke certain behaviours in others. This is the person who takes the reins when you aren’t around and allows you to feel confident that all is running smoothly, your staff are delivering and the best remedies are being applied if something goes wrong. They enable you to do what you have to do rather than leaving you feeling like a passive micro-manager. They also enable the rest of the team to feel empowered and ultimately end up sharing in the vision with you – and at the end of the day this is exactly what you want happening.
While it is critical to hire the right people, as a business owner it is equally as crucial to surround yourself with the right types of personalities that can help you achieve your business goals and also your own sense of development as a leader. It is not true that everyone has to cheer you on or be an easy personality, quite the opposite. When you surround yourself with people that have varying skills and capacities, you potentially absorb a lot more as you allow yourself to both lead and learn.
This article first appeared on Women’s Agenda. Alexandra Tselios is co-founder and publisher of The Big Smoke, an opinion site. She is also an expert business start-up consultant and provides strategic advice to young Australian start-ups or entrepreneurs seeking assistance in taking their business or idea to the next level.