What makes an inspirational leader?

Chris Horlick, Director at AXA PPP healthcare, discusses how to grow from founding a start-up to leading a team.

According to Start Up Britain, the campaign arm of the Centre For Entrepreneurs think tank¹, over 485,000 start-up businesses have been created in the UK this year. This is a staggering number of people making the decision to forge their own path and start running their own business.

Our recent research highlighted the top motivations behind people wanting to start a business as:

  • 57% - The desire to be more independent
  • 45% - Wanting to make their own money
  • 26% - Looking to achieve a better life/work balance²

From start-up to leader

Inevitably, as successful businesses grow and headcount increases, the number of people finding themselves in the position of leader is also growing. Many didn’t set out to be leaders but have found themselves in this position as a result of their own success and may not be familiar with being the one people turn to. Without the necessary skills, being in this position can seem daunting.

So here a few ideas for those that have recently become leaders or are looking to be better leaders.

Lead by example

Setting a good example to the people who work for you, is really good practice. It demonstrates the type of working culture you want to create in your business and sets the standards you expect them to follow.

89% of SME decision-makers we surveyed consider the right business culture to be vital to success.

Make time for well being

Encouraging your employees to look after their health and wellbeing in and out of work can have a big impact. This could include taking the time to be away from your desk to go for a walk at lunchtime or leaving the office at a decent time at the end of the day.

65% of SME bosses agree exercise has a positive effect on employees’ productivity by improving their motivation³

Broaden your support networks

Find opportunities to move beyond your own working environment and get involved in professional forums or networking events. For example, working with a business mentor who has experience of dealing with some of the same difficult situations you’re facing will help you find new sources of support and information to deal with these challenges.

Be positive and supportive

Creating a positive and supportive environment where your people can grow and develop will go a long way to making them feel valued and engaged, so your people will be much more likely to work hard for you and stick around through the ups and downs experienced by growing businesses.

For more information on how to create a supportive work environment including promoting health and wellbeing initiatives for your employees please visit the Small Business Insights section of AXA PPP healthcare’s website.

² Research of 200 SME business owners carried out in July 2017 by Critical Research Ltd for AXA PPP healthcare
³ Research of 500 decision-makers undertaken in August 2017 by 3Gem for AXA PPP healthcare


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