This guest blog post is provided by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, which aims to improve the skills Canadians need to adapt and succeed at work.

Working effectively with others is essential in virtually every workplace and will be a key success factor in your business. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you want to lead a team to solve challenges, plan strategic goals and complete projects. Leadership is the key driver of best practices, innovation and productivity. It's not surprising that there is strong correlation between leadership development and how companies perform.

The key to leading and working effectively with others is to understand what drives you and your workers, to recognize strengths, and to encourage creativity. Open communication with workers is also an important factor to consider; clearly and concisely articulating your message is as important as supporting and listening to what others have to say. In addition, improving your oral communication skills will further help you connect with other businesses to develop partnerships that will help share knowledge, new trends and best practices.

Here are some other tips to help you improve your leadership skills and collaborate more effectively:

  • Lead by setting a good example for the people around you.
  • Help others by sharing your experiences and offering guidance or advice.
  • Recognize the accomplishments of those around you.
  • Give constructive feedback to help others improve their work.
  • Consider all options when making a decision.
  • Demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for the work you do.
  • Set clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Establish goals that are clear, understood, and accepted by everyone.

Whether you are thinking of starting a business or growing your business, your leadership skills can determine how successful your business will be. Open and honest communication will earn your workers' trust and respect and enable them to approach you and communicate with greater ease.  Start by creating an informal mentoring system in the workplace. It can help reinforce strong relationships among you and your workers, support a learning culture in the workplace, and enhance performance leading to increased productivity.

You may be the boss, but it's better to be the leader.