This article originally appeared in Emily’s Inc.com column, Own It.
There is a balancing act that comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur, and I’ve found this especially true as a mom and woman entrepreneur. Running a business and leading a team takes confidence, authority and ambition. Toss in managing a busy household or other family obligations, and your day is busy wearing multiple hats and catering to different needs.
Whether challenging an idea or negotiating a contract, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’re being perceived as too bossy or aggressive.
The following tips apply to all professionals who want to stop worrying and start leading, but in my personal experience as a woman in the business world, they are particularly useful.
Embrace your inner boss
To be a fearless leader, you need to embrace the role. The first step to embracing your inner boss is to believe in yourself.
Some people believe that leaders are born, while others believe they are made. Whether you were born with a special talent for leading or you’ve acquired the skills along the way, don’t let anyone make you doubt your role. Both men and women can sometimes perceive leaders negatively, and this is not a reflection on your true character.
Fight the notion that you are being too “bossy” when you assert yourself. Being confident and embracing your inner boss is what will allow you to make better decisions that benefit your entire team.
Say no without regret
As a business owner, you’re presented with more invitations, requests for meetings, and invitations than you can accept. Giving yourself permission to unapologetically say no to the opportunities you don’t want to take can be challenging. You might not want to hurt someone’s feelings or don’t want to come across as ungrateful.
When you’re feeling tempted to say yes when you really want to say no, pause and consider the impact. Overcommitting to things that distract you from what you care about most can drain your energy and leave you feeling resentful. Getting comfortable with saying no takes practice, but you’ll discover people respect you for the honesty and decisiveness.
Have a core set of values
I had a client who would put a block on her calendar every day from 7-10 PM. It didn’t matter if there was a big media opportunity to schedule or a quick work call, this was her family time and it was non-negotiable. Everyone on our team knew to work around those hours at all costs. By drawing a firm line in the sand, it spoke volumes about her priorities and value to her family.
As a business leader, it’s important to have a core set of values by which you stand firm. These values will help you make tough decisions and keep pushing you towards your goals.
Know what means the most to you and be transparent about it. People look up to those who stand by their beliefs and will respect you as both a leader and a business owner.
One of the most underrated qualities of a great leader is their ability to share praise with their team. Although it may be your vision or strategy that is propelling your company forward, your team members are playing a vital role by putting your plan into action.
If you want to ensure that your employees think of you in a positive light, then don’t forget to include them on your victories–no matter how small. This positive feedback can have a significant impact on your employee’s loyalty and engagement.
One Gallup poll found that individuals who received regular recognition and praise had higher levels of productivity and were more likely to stay at their organization. Let your team share your victories and you will not only be perceived as a strong leader, you’ll reap the benefits of a dedicated staff too.
Keep believing in yourself, even when you fail
Your journey as an entrepreneur won’t always go as planned and there will be times where you must defend your ideas and actions.
Even when you experience a setback in business or life in general, it’s essential that you pick yourself back up and keep taking risks. Your tenacity in the face of a challenge is what will make you a fearless leader.