When leadership is discussed in business, the bent of the conversation is usually how leadership is presented inside of an organization: how the C-level management sets the vision or how managers direct and develop employees. But today I want to talk about leadership in another scenario, one that millions of soloprenuers and sole proprietors can appreciate.

Keep the project on track with leadership skill

Although many of us operate in our businesses alone, we are often in a situation where we are partnering with other small business owners to produce a product or conduct a service for a mutual client. That is exactly the scenario where we can exhibit leadership qualities through our use of follow-up.

Often, we collaborate with someone and then, because the parties involved may both be responsible business owners, we assume that when we take care of our part, they take care of their part. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it does not. The deadline arrives and our part is finished, but our “partner” is not ready. Now, you might get mad, thinking, “Hey, I did my part. He should have done his.”

Well, I don’t want to disagree with you, but perhaps with a little follow-up, or checking-in, the entire situation could have been avoided. Notice I did not say checking UP. There is a difference.

When there are multiple parties involved in bringing a project to fruition, following-up with each other and keeping on top of status is one way to ensure that the timeline is going to be met. If any of the parties are having difficulties, they can be addressed before anyone has to face an angry or disappointed client. When half of the team looks bad, the entire team looks bad – and then that partnership does no one any good.

Leadership is the result of small actions

Leadership is not always being the person leading the charge with sword in hand. Sometimes it is a quiet application of process that keeps the train running on the track. A quick call or email requesting status in a respectful manner can be a courteous reminder if needed.

Being a leader is being a role model as much as it is in developing directives and setting sights on the vision. In fact, it is often the actions of a person that truly defines what leadership role they play. Being a boss and being a leader are not necessarily synonymous. You make the choice – and operate accordingly.