Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are always on the lookout for new and novel ways to help their business soar to new heights. Their transition from start-up to scale-up is painful, to say the least. These growing businesses need powerful and polarizing leadership that can inspire change and adaptability. The right thought leaders are pivotal in formation and continuation of a small and medium-sized enterprise.
By leadership, we don’t just mean the management. The term also encompasses thought leaders, who help leverage the human talent of an organization. The fact of the matter is SMEs have a difficult time coping with the scales of handing over the organization to its people. The chances are that it has grown in strength, but started as entrepreneurship, i.e., a one-man show. But in the growth phase, it goes from being one person’s idea to the livelihood of many people.
As an organization scales, it requires active leadership. However, more than 75% of SMEs do not provide any leadership development to their people. These businesses are actively working on the improvement of their resources, but they fail to recognize the potential power of their people and how it can be yielded with the right thought leadership.
Why Thought Leaders are Required for SMEs
Leading the Pack
Small businesses are more dynamic than large corporations. Business managers here usually don’t value textbook knowledge because it is seldom applicable to their circumstances. The best among them become thought leaders using the experience they actively learn on the job.
Research from the University of Leeds shows that thought leaders quickly identify venues of learning and acquire the necessary knowledge that can help them enhance business performance, and more importantly inspire others around them.
They have in-depth knowledge of the business model at work. Thought leaders in the workplace can make it possible for the rest of the team to better understand and appreciate the work practices and systems. Peer learning and action focus can promote a synergetic work environment, and increase the effectiveness of SME workforce manifold.
Thought leadership in SMEs is based on charismatic personalities, a solid foundation of knowledge as well as the principles of support, synergy, and empathy. These leaders can adequately support and develop SMEs, broadening the horizons of all team members as well as the organization overall.
And that’s not all.
Thought leaders are the backbone of a booming business. They might not be ‘official’ leaders, but they do earn respect because they help others around them. Thought leaders are experts at their subject matter, they are always up-to-date on prevalent trends, they are clearly visible in the SME eco-system and most important they are always willing to push the boundaries of their expertise.
Thought leaders also benefit the SME community by fostering a culture of sharing thoughts and ideas. They educate their followers and communicate generously with their co-workers. SMEs need to bring into effect change and innovation through the influence of these thought leaders.
Inspiring Growth – Leadership Development in SMEs
So, what creates a thought leader? While this is not a definitive guide, there are some tried and tested ways to recognize one: They
- Are more than just a manager or an employee. They are a personal brand and are accepted widely as such.
- Have a well-established presence online and within the organization. And they are very comfortable flaunting it to their advantage as well as that of the team.
- Openly share their thoughts using a variety of channels,
- Always willing to help others in the industry,
- Naturally cultivate a following,
- Are generous with their thoughts, experiences, and ideas; while also readily investing their time and energy on those who are willing to listen.
When your workplace has thought leaders to inspire and teach the staff, the result is a sharp increase in performance and business growth throughout the organization. With so many contending burdens on resources within SMEs, it is rare to find a solitary, simple way to spur growth. Yes, promoting thought leaders within an organization is that one way.
However, it is just as important as letting the leaders take responsibility for core tasks pertaining to their positions, and motivating the entire team to take ownership of their own responsibilities. When the collaborative spirit is right, these actions will bring new energy and free up time to focus on the future of the business.
Thought provoking leaders are the backbone of an SME ecosystem. They are the go-to experts in their departments and have the power to engage others in meaningful ways. They are the real key to sustainable change in an industry and across the entire niche.
If you have a rising star in your SME, someone who is getting attention, making friends and earning accolades, help them rise higher. Use their potential to propel your entire organization to greater heights.