Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, the chances are it isn’t right. I’m a great believer in the power of the subconscious, given time, to steer us to the right answers. That’s why I often prefer to have a couple of discussions before taking a difficult decision, even if that slows down the process. It helps give me certainty about what I think, and it helps the wider leadership group understand each other’s point of view and build consensus. The end result is a better decision with better buy-in.
As the CEO of a scientific-based enterprise, I can see very clearly the differences between an effective employee and an effective manager. And while there are certainly overlapping skills and knowledge sets, an effective manager needs to have a few extra components in order to be more than just a domain expert—and become a successful leader.
Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.
Lead only when you have to. A natural leader does not walk into a room and proclaim, “Here I am!” It’s not about grabbing a situation by the horns and molding it to your vision, no, not at all. It’s about seeing that something needs to be done and rising to the occasion.
Leaders also need to be able to make good decisions in support of their strategy delivery, and solve problems. With a positive attitude, problems can become opportunities and learning experiences, and a leader can gain much information from a problem addressed.
Treat your team well. Alright, so you know to care about your team, but you gotta follow it up with your actions. If you preach to your team to be cohesive, act like they’re having fun, and be friendly with your clients but turn around and yell at them every 5 minutes when they crack a smile, you’re not living out your message. Set forth a good, caring example, and they’ll fall in line.
Have a reward for every occasion. If your child did well in school, passed a driver’s test, kicked the winning goal in his soccer match, or reached an important milestone, such as a birthday, it’s important to celebrate the occasion. Dinner at the restaurant of your child’s choice, a trip to an amusement park or movie, or any other journey to your child’s favorite destination, will help show that you care, and that you want him or her to keep succeeding.
Every manager creates meaning in different ways. Every manager has their own personal vision for what they’re trying to do. One person might be motivated by scientific discovery alone. Another might have a personal tie to a particular project.
Value experiences over objects. Humans can be extraordinarily obsessed with money. It’s strange, too, because scientists think that our memories of our experiences make us happier than objects we can buy with money. Focus on making great memories with great people along the way, and you should be happy.
Creating better leaders is a challenge most organizations aren’t quite sure how to approach. The A Better Leader system provides you with a proven path to consistent engagement that builds teams and grows companies.
Of course as well as being able to create a compelling vision, they must also be able to communicate it effectively to their followers, which is partly why communication skills are also vital to leaders.
There is more than one way to be a success. Many a person gets a degree but still fails to think well, especially in this age of teaching by results rather than learning for learning’s sake. College graduates get into a comfort zone of high expectation that doesn’t always amount to success, or turns into mediocre success at best, due to training in thinking like a pack and all wanting the same, safe outcomes. This isn’t to denigrate degrees — a degree well done is a degree well worth it. But it’s not the only answer. Start your own business or company, think about online solutions, use social media, find the gaps in the world in need of fixing and be a self made success not driven by textbook standards. You can still be successful, just think beyond your current circumstances.
Brown’s core argument is exactly what his title suggests: despite a worldwide fixation on strength as a positive quality, strong leaders—those who concentrate power and decision-making in their own hands—are not necessarily good leaders. On the contrary, Brown argues that the leaders who make the biggest difference in office, and change millions of lives for the better, are the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate—the ones who recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.
Stick to your commitments. Planning is not sufficient; keeping your word is also important. If you tell someone you will do something, do it. Similarly, don’t tell someone you will do something if you’re not sure you can. Be honest about your limits.
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.
Notice something about these platitudes? They look at success as a destination — a place we can all reach and prance around with our success forever after learning THE PLAN for how to be successful. Yay!
Personal Story: The first job I ever had was taking foreign exchange students to California attractions like Disneyland and the beach. Awesome right?! Well my manager was a huge jerk, which made an otherwise perfect summer job completely miserable. Even though I was only 16, it difficult for me to see why his turnover rate was so high. I bet you can guess why I quit too.
Competence in most cases refers to someone being properly qualified and educated, but just people some people can learn something quicker than others doesn’t necessarily mean they are more intelligent.
It is no coincidence that both lists begin with heart. Like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, a leader cannot achieve greatness without showing deep empathy with his or her people – a sentiment that fuels the fight against the injustices those people may face.
In Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders Captain David Marquet outlines how he implemented the leader-leader model while in charge of a nuclear submarine, the USS Santa Fe. Captain Marquet outlines four primary pillars of the leader-leader model:
Unlike management, leadership cannot be taught, although it may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring. Someone with great leadership skills today is Bill Gates who, despite early failures, with continued passion and innovation has driven Microsoft and the software industry to success.
• When you are leading your company into a “New Frontier,” because neither you nor your employees have been there before, mistakes, miscues, and inexperience add to the challenge, and your leadership is key to meeting that challenge.
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Instead, create benchmarks: “My goal is to increase my productivity by 30% and only be late for work five times per year, at the most.” These are quantifiable goals that when achieved, give you a sense of satisfaction and completion, making you feel successful and confident.
There is no task for being passionate about people, being passionate about people is a theme that is woven through every aspect of a leader’s role, it is evident in the way you start your day, give feedback, cascade strategy, manage performance, conduct one on ones, and run team meetings.
22% of employees say unrealistic expectations from managers are their top workplace stressor. Strong leaders make their employees’ jobs easier, not more difficult and stressful! They understand the importance of banishing ambiguity and unrealistic expectations by setting clear objectives for their team members. So give your managers the right training and tools to ensure they set clear SMART goals for their team. At Growth Engineering we use a bottom-up productivity tool called 5x5s. Give it a try!