What are the key ingredients of a really successful leader? In researching the subject of leadership I discovered that there are numerous books and articles containing many great examples of successful CEOs, their leadership styles and the traits they have in common.
Richard Nixon once observed, “Leadership is a unique form of art requiring both force and vision to an extraordinary degree . . . Leadership is more than technique, though techniques are necessary. In a sense, management is prose; leadership is poetry . . . The manager thinks of today and tomorrow. The leader must think of the day after tomorrow.”
It is interesting to note that good leaders are not necessarily CEOs, presidents, or managers, nor do they have to be liked or respected. Any employee can demonstrate leadership qualities; if someone can influence others in order to achieve company goals and get the staff to work together, that person is a good leader no matter the job title.
Businesses around the world take the need for leadership seriously. Kevin Kruse CEO of LEADx states, “it is a key element of any company’s success, so businesses are willing to sink big money into leadership-training for their managers. In 2018, $366 billion was spent globally on leadership-training, with $166 billion of that coming from the U.S.” Leadership-training has become a huge industry.
It is not easy to develop leadership skills. Cultivating those skills within yourself can be very challenging. To help you develop into the leader your business needs it is important to know the most important, even essential, habits needed. K. Stone, Founder of LifeLearningToday.com, a blog on daily life improvements, suggests in her article that follows that if you incorporate the following seven tips into your management style and guide your employees accordingly, company goals will have a better chance of being achieved.
Seven Simple Tips That Will Turn You Into a Powerful Leader
1.Goals: Make it simple and easy for your team to understand the mission and to understand their part in achieving it.
• Concise Goals. Keep them simple and easy to understand.
• Focus your team on as few goals as possible.
• Communicate the team’s goals often and through various means (team meetings, individual meetings, emails, posters, slogans). And then do it some more.
• Track progress on goals.
• Involve team players in tracking the goals so that the results have more meaning.
2. Motivating People: What you reward gets done. It’s that simple.
• Incent team players to focus on the tasks that are critical for reaching the team’s goals. Make sure the rewards are meaningful to people. If you understand each player and what they want from their job and in life you’ll know how to reward them.
• Praise, Thank and Recognize big and small contributions by individuals. Do this often and then do it some more.
• Set High Expectations. People will live UP to or DOWN to the expectations you set. Set them high and you’re saying, “I believe in your ability to do great things!”
• Empower people by delegating responsibility.
• Celebrate team accomplishments often.
• Encourage Fun. Make the work place a fun place to be. Yes, work needs to get done, but short, fun breaks can make all the difference in the culture of your team.
• Pride. Foster a sense of pride in your team. As a team you could establish a mascot, create a team chant and have a meeting that is focused solely on each individual’s strengths and the team’s overall strengths.
3. Walk Your Talk: You need to practice what you preach. This is how you establish trust and credibility.
• Model the Way by participating in the team’s tasks as much as your position allows.
• Be Honest. Deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.
• Challenge Yourself. Do your best (and then some) just like you ask your team to do their best.
• Speak Up. Just as your team members sometimes need to let you know what they’ve done in order for you to be able to recognize and praise them, they, in turn, need to know what you’ve been working on and what you’ve accomplished. So find ways to communicate this, modeling this key behavior.
• Stay Sharp. You need to be competent for others to follow you. If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. Always be learning and keep on top of the latest skills, technology and knowledge in your field.
4. Inspire through a combination of
• Unwavering Positive Future Vision
• Commitment to Improve things along the way that will make that positive vision a reality.
• Ability to Bootstrap as necessary when resources are tight.
5. Process Power: Good process is like having a high-performance machine. Sloppy process makes things fall apart. So be sure to establish these key habits with your team.
• Establish Routines for the team and also work with each member to come up with an individual high-productivity routine. These routines dictate what work is done when.
• Establish Processes for all the tasks that are done repeatedly. Setting up takes time, but after that it will pay off in saved time and fewer errors. Processes and systems for doing the work need to be described.
• Task Assignment. As much as possible, assign tasks appropriate to each teammate’s strengths.
6. Change: Embrace change by seeking it out. This will forge a path for your teammates to follow.
• Change Routines Quarterly. Look for better ways to achieve the team’s goals.
• Take Risks. Don’t be afraid of failure. No one ever reaches great heights without a few failures.
• Learn. Learn as a team from failures. “How can we improve for the next time?”
• Encourage team members to take ‘smart risks’ by making it safe to fail. Focus on learning from past experiences in order to find better solutions for the future.
7. Advocacy: Support your team and they’ll support you.
• Promote your team members. Make sure outsiders know about the individual team members’ successes. You want your team members to excel and possibly even graduate from your team. Don’t worry. If your team is great there will be plenty of others who will want to join! This natural turnover of team members is like the renewal of cells in your body. It is necessary and healthy.
• Promote your team. It’s your job to market the great accomplishments of your team in order to accure the rewards, recognition and resources that your team deserves.
• Fight for the most important resources and changes of benefit to your team and the organization overall. Remember to pick your battles wisely, not taking on too much.