Excellence is its own reward, but excellence also commands higher pay–and greater respect, greater feelings of self-worth, greater fulfillment, a greater sense of achievement…all of which make you rich in non-monetary terms.
When discussing business leadership, a distinction is often made between good management and good leadership. Managers are thought to be the budgeters, the organizers, the controllers — the ants, as one observer puts it — while leaders are the charismatic, big-picture visionaries, the ones who change the whole ant farm. But such a construction, those interviewed for article agree, erroneously leads to a bimodal way of looking at something that should really be evaluated on two separate scales. “Everybody has got a little bit of each in them,” says John Kotter, who admits he is sometimes guilty of using the dichotomy in an effort at simplification. “It’s much better to think in terms of measuring people on a zero-to-ten scale for each quality.”
I once witnessed a CEO and his staff make the decision to outsource equipment fabrication, believing that their success rested on marketing and this action would increase profits. When some core design capabilities became industry standards within a few years, the CEO recognized the mistake and took action, without finger pointing.
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I have found the most effective managers to have varying amounts of the following three components, typically beginning with specific and deep domain expertise and morphing into motivation and organizational skills as they get more senior.
Don’t burn bridges along the way. A lot of life is about personal relationships, so don’t forsake them. If you’ve invented a cheap, efficient way to make nuclear fission, but everyone dislikes you, you have no spouse, and no friends, will it be worth it?
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Face it – No one is perfect, and everyone has made a mistake or two in their lives! The most successful leaders know that the key to success is not in avoiding falling or failing, but to learn from their mistakes. As a strong leader, you will also be able to communicate your weaknesses to your team, so that you and your team can appoint someone who excels at that particular task or activity.
On the other hand, in volatile, fast-paced times, people yearn for some form of constancy. They won’t find it in the marketplace; they won’t find it in most organisations. So where should they look for it?
Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.
Learn from your failures. Each failure is an opportunity to learn. If you make a mistake and refuse to learn, odds are you’ll make that same mistake sometime down the line. If you make a mistake and learn from it, you won’t waste your time making the same mistake again.
So what are the qualities of a good leader? On the most basic level, leadership styles can be categorized as being manipulative, authoritative, or attractive. While all of these styles might get the job done, can you guess which one is the most effective in the long-run?
“The fair-haired, tall, handsome Ralph is an obvious choice to lead the band of children stranded on the island. He has a “directness” in his manner that the narrator calls a sign of “genuine leadership.”
Leaders always focus on the needs of the company and the situation. Leaders focus on results, on what must be achieved by themselves, by others, and by the company. Great leaders focus on strengths, in themselves and in others.
To be completely honest, there are innumerable facets that are involved in leadership development, and just as many interpretations of what it means to be a good leader. Many people will say good leaders must “be aggressive” and “run a tight ship”, but there is much more to healthy leadership than proving to everyone that you are the authority figure.
Manage your time. Putting off important tasks until the last minute can cause you unnecessary stress, and increase the likelihood of errors and negligence. Manage your time so that you have enough time to complete tasks effectively.
Task-oriented leaders are typically less concerned with the idea of catering to group members, and more concerned with acquiring a certain solution to meet a production goal. For this reason, they typically are able to make sure that deadlines are met, yet their group members’ well-being may suffer. Relationship-oriented leaders are focused on developing the team and the relationships in it. The positives to having this kind of environment are that team members are more motivated and have support. However, the emphasis on relations as opposed to getting a job done might make productivity suffer.
Our brain wants to use the path of least resistance. If we really want to learn how to be successful, though, we have to go against our nature and challenge the three mental barriers that knock us off course:
Fear of failure (or even fear of success) often prevents you from taking action and putting your creation out there in the world. But a lot of opportunities will be lost if you wait for things to be right.
Know your three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to schedule. Review how each day went by what you learned and revise what you could improve.
On game day, it’s important to look your opponents in the eye, shake their hands, and to show that your focused on the game, not whether or not the other team’s point guard is a jerk. Even if you feel someone on the other team acted unfairly, take it up with your coach or a ref as the situation dictates, but avoid name calling and foul language.
People learn by doing, and letting staff work things out for themselves and make their own mistakes is part of growing as a person and an employee. Times may be tough and change may be complex to cope with, but if the boss wants maximum energy behind the mission then don’t wrap them in cotton wool and don’t let them hide behind processes. The “computer says no” culture is holding back many large organisations.
Many people quickly assume that being a good leader means you’re a good manager and vice versa. The two concepts are actually quite distinct and understanding that distinction can help you understand what it means to be good at either or good at … Read more
Or say you want to land 50 new customers. That’s your goal; your routine is to contact a certain number of leads per day, check in with a certain number of current customers, network with a certain number of potential partners…your routine is what you will do, without fail, that will allow you to achieve your goal. Follow that routine and faithfully meet your deadlines and if your plan is great, you will land your new customers.
Not everyone will be happy for you and your success. Some people are insecure and jealous. Be prepared for them, and look past them until you find the people who are happy for you and who support you in all that you do.
Would you look to someone for guidance and leadership if they did not truly care about the goals of the group? Of course not! Great leaders are not just focused on getting group members to finish tasks; they have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the projects they work on.
Lolly Daskal is the president and CEO of Lead From Within, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and entrepreneurial development. Daskal’s programs galvanize clients into achieving their best, helping them accelerate and deliver on their professional goals and business objectives. Her new book “The Leadership Gap” What Gets Between You And Your Greatness. Has become an instant best seller.
“We are there for the children and we mustn’t ever forget that,” says Llyn Codling, executive headteacher of Portswood, St Mary’s and Weston Park primary schools, Southampton. Like Codling, successful school leaders are passionate about teaching and learning and show great commitment to children. They take an active interest in their pupils’ work – and that of their staff.
Regardless of how old you are, where you live, or what your career goals are, it’s likely your ultimate goals in life are to be happy and successful. To be successful means more than just having money and making your mark. It means following your passions, living purposefully, and enjoying the present moment.