It's one thing to be the boss, but it's another thing to be a great boss. And when you're running a business, it pays to strive for the latter. The more effective a leader you are, the more you'll motivate your team and push your employees to do better. So with that in mind, here are a few ways to step up your game as the new year kicks off.

1. Learn to listen

As the person in charge, you're probably used to giving orders and calling the shots. But how often do you take the time to hear what your employees think about existing processes and policies? By becoming a better listener, you'll gain real insight into what makes your workers tick and what tools and support they need to excel.

Professionally dressed woman standing and addressing a group of professionals

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2. Get comfortable delegating

When you run a business, it's hard to trust others to do the work you're used to doing, especially when the decisions they make could impact your bottom line. At the same time, you clearly can't do it all, and if you overextend yourself, you risk burning out in a really bad way. Therefore, you'll need to get comfortable with the idea of delegating tasks to other people, whether that means turning to internal employees or outsourcing as needed.

3. Admit when you're wrong

A good leader is someone others can relate to and respect, and a good way to make that happen is to own up to mistakes rather than gloss over them or put the blame elsewhere. If you show your team that you're willing to hold yourself accountable when things go wrong, your employees will be less afraid to make mistakes themselves in the course of stepping outside their respective comfort zones.

4. Make time for your team

It's not easy running a business, and you're likely to find that your days are jam-packed more often than not. Still, it's imperative that you make yourself available to your employees, even if it means shifting deadlines to carve out that time. Giving your employees an opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns puts you in a better position to address them, thereby creating a more ideal working environment for all involved.

5. Stay calm under pressure

It's natural to get stressed when things go wrong at work, but if you show your employees that you're able to keep your cool when things heat up, they'll be more likely to adopt similar behavior that enables them to better manage stress. And that could really come in handy the next time a disaster (whether major or minor) happens to strike your business.

6. Get your hands dirty

As the boss, you have every right to assign lower-level tasks to other people. And in many regards, it doesn't make sense for you to spend your time dealing with individual computer glitches or shipping issues when you're overseeing a major operation. At the same time, the last thing you want to do is give your team the impression that you're above the tasks they're responsible for. Quite the contrary -- if you're willing to spend some time in the trenches, you'll gain insight as to what challenges your workers are facing and how you can help address them. At the same time, you'll send the message that every task is important, which will keep your team motivated.

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to resolve to do better. Follow these tips, and your leadership skills are apt to improve in 2019.

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