What's wrong with being a leader in small business?

February 2, 2018


'The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there' John Buchan. I love this quote, it was given to me by a past team I worked with and it takes pride of place on my desk. I love to support people, to understand them and to see them at their best as often as possible. I am proud of being a leader and I am a small business owner.


Over the past few months I have come to the realisation that the term leadership is polarising for many women in business, particularly small business. Now as a coach I am naturally curious so I took to social media to ask questions of my fellow women in business so that I could get a better understanding and this is what I learnt.


It seems to be a question of value. Here are some of the responses, 'I just own a small business, I'm not a leader', 'leadership is only for corporates not small business', 'it only applies to you if you look after a large team', 'I'm in small business which means I'm not a leader and I don't want to be one', or the real surprise for me 'once I hit six figures than maybe I will be a leader'. Wait stop, what??? I was fascinated by the responses, and it really got me thinking, 'what's wrong with being a leader in small business?'


When I look at some of the key elements of being a small business owner or manager here is what I see:

  • You have a vision

  • You are solving a problem for someone

  • You constantly look for new and innovative ways to do things

  • You want to connect, engage and build relationships with people

  • You need raving fans or followers

Now I am wondering what you see, what is it I am missing about the term leadership and the role of small business owners and managers? My curiosity and strong beliefs about the value of leadership helped shaped my objective for 2018 "To get people, women in small to medium business in particular, excited about their leadership and the impact they can have". I truly believe that our leadership can grow stronger, kinder, wiser communities and good business is a key to thriving communities. As a mother that is a world I want my son to grow up in.


To achieve my objective I need to understand the differing views. Is it language, is it experiences, what is it? So I am conducting a series of interviews to hear the different perspectives of women in small business on this thing we call leadership. Want to be involved and contribute to the discussion, get in touch because I would love to hear your experiences, justine@leaderschangeroom.com


So what do you think?

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