5 Essential Things Employees Can Teach Leaders About Growth, Success and Happiness Books and courses are great, but have you tried letting your team teach you a thing or two?

By Ivan Popov

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the era of entrepreneurship and business ownership, many aspiring leaders focus on collecting as much knowledge as possible in terms of running a company or maintaining dazzling team performance. Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves when it comes to professional growth and development.

Entrepreneurs worldwide try to be constantly on the right track with approaches, business models, leadership strategies, etc. — the world provides plenty of resources and education in the shape of books, courses, seminars and university degrees.

When it comes to hard skills, though, entrepreneurs can definitely reach out to plenty of resources. We all know, however, that successful leadership is closely connected with soft skills and certain management strategies. What if the employees themselves could teach entrepreneurs useful tips?

Related: 5 Lessons a Boss Should Learn From Employees

The team is the mirror an entrepreneur looks straight into

Usually, we tend to believe that the entrepreneur is the one who teaches their employees all things important when it comes to business and work ethic.

But much like every major aspect of life, it's a two-way street. A leader can surely share plenty of useful knowledge with their team but the other way around is definitely as important. Being part of a team is incredibly beneficial both for the employees and the entrepreneur. Through tasks and duties, the team can in fact share beneficial knowledge in terms of soft skills and personal growth — they both are crucial when it comes to successful leadership.

All it takes is for the leader to actually listen and pay attention to their surroundings. They'd be surprised to know just how much they can learn through daily communication with the team members. At the end of the day, a leader's success is measured mostly by the success of the team — what's important here is that this success is not because of the leader only; the employees themselves contribute a great deal by showcasing their personal experiences, work ethic and communication strategies.

Related: Why Lifelong Learning is the Key to Entrepreneurial Success

5 things employees can teach leaders

A good leader is someone who never stops trying to improve themselves work-wise. And while books and courses are always a great option, we can actually add some additional sources of knowledge and experience. Here are five things an entrepreneur can indeed learn from their relationship with the employees at the office.

  1. Diversity in teams, even when challenging, is definitely worth the effort. A team may (and should) consist of different people with different backgrounds and experiences. This way everyone can easily contribute to the whole group by sharing thoughts and beneficial ideas. The trick for the leader here is to learn how to balance out all the diverse opinions and work approaches. Essentially, this could teach them a thing or two about flexibility and team growth.
  2. Communicating with the employees daily requires the leader to put all theoretical knowledge into practice. Teamwork is indeed a great source of various types of situations and issues that need solving and fixing. Even if an entrepreneur has mastered the management theory, only a live situation can actually showcase all this knowledge in practice. That's why it's often said that a good leader is someone who manages to keep their team happy and content with the work they do. Without the team, the feedback and the plethora of situations a workday presents, we, as entrepreneurs, could never really improve our theoretical knowledge and check whether it's suitable for actual situations.
  3. There's a close connection between the leader trusting their team and trusting themselves as well. We all know that trust is essential when it comes to establishing great professional relationships. If a leader fails to trust their team, then delegating work may soon result in interpersonal issues and arguments. Since building trust is mutual, whenever a leader allows themselves to let go of control and trust their team members, they also showcase trust in themselves. Why? Simply because the team's success proves the leader's fair judgment. Whenever an entrepreneur sees how well they've managed to distribute work, they ultimately begin trusting their skills as well.
  4. Since the team often consists of professionals, there's a high chance the leader can oftentimes take the role of a student. There's beauty in not knowing everything all the time. This way, any person can allow themselves to submerge in other people's knowledge and expertise. Coming from a place of respect and trust, entrepreneurs can learn a lot of skills from their employees that later could be used in their own experiences. We all are teachers and students at the same time — the fact that someone is a team leader doesn't necessarily mean they've got nothing to learn from the members of that same team.
  5. While money is important, being happy with what you do is more important. Nowadays, a great majority of employees worldwide tend to choose satisfaction and happiness over big paychecks, especially if the latter is at the expense of the first. Through this constant chase after work fulfillment, entrepreneurs and leaders could indeed stop for a second and remember what truly makes their engine run. Essentially, this is the core of truly successful businesses.

Related: How Becoming a Lifelong Learner Is a Must If You Want to Achieve and Maintain Success

Being part of a team, regardless of the role, is an incredible opportunity for everyone to learn so much and further elevate their professional expertise and personal development.

Entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide can indeed benefit quite a lot if they listen and pay attention to their teams. Through this enriching experience, they can gather additional information and knowledge on all things worthy and self-improving. It would be for the better if they play the role of a student from time to time since this position allows them to truly open the door toward successful leadership and business ownership.

Ivan Popov

CEO and Tech Lead of Vipe Studio

Ivan Popov serves as the CEO of Vipe Studio, which establishes and maintains WordPress-based websites for enterprises and SMEs. He is always curious about technology, web and software development, WordPress, sports, journalism, leadership, entrepreneurship and all things mental health.

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